Bishop Gorman came into Friday’s homecoming game focused on slowing down Sierra Vista running back Akil Sharp.
But it was Gael quarterback Joe Huber who got off to such a fast start that Sharp and the Mountain Lions were left playing catch-up all night.
Huber rushed for two touchdowns and threw for two more as the No. 2-ranked Gaels jumped to leads of 28-0 and 41-12 on the way to cruising to a 41-26 victory over Sierra Vista.
Huber rushed for TD runs of 21 and 3 yards in the first quarter for Gorman (7-1, 4-0 Southwest). He added a 3-yard touchdown pass to Taylor Spencer, and Kawika Antolin sprinted 39-yards for a score as the Gaels rolled to a 28-0 second quarter lead.
“I got a lot of good blocking. And on the option, they were really biting hard on the fakes,” said Huber. “That opened up a lot of things. It opened up so many plays we could run, we just brought it to them.”
Spencer hit 8-of-15 passes for 99 yards and rushed for 75 yards on six carries for Gorman. Antolin had 88 rushing yards on nine carries.
The Gaels outgained Sierra vista on offense 122-3 in the first quarter. The Mountain Lions didn’t get their first 1st-down until 8:50 of the second quarter, and Sharp was limited to just 23 yards on his first 10 carries.
“Akil is a great player,” said Gorman defensive end Justin Chaisson, who led the Gaels with two sacks. “We respected him a lot. But we came out a knew exactly what they were going to do and it helped a lot.”
That’s not to say Sharp didn’t eventually get going and get Sierra Vista in the game.
Sharp exploded for a 66-yard run that set up Jeremy Green’s 1-yard TD run, and Sharp added a 3-yard touchdown run with 10 seconds left in the third quarter that trimmed the Gaels’ lead to 28-12 at halftime.
“I think we got big-headed,” said Huber. “We got up by so much, we thought they wouldn’t do anything. After halftime we came out fired up and didn’t want to let them score anymore.”
And the Gaels looked fired up after half time. Gorman marched 80 yards in 12 plays on the opening possession of the second half, capped by Raphel Finley’s 2-yard touchdown run.
After Gael lineman Miles Langston blocked a punt at the end of the Mountain Lions’ ensuing possession, Huber drove Gorman 50 yards in seven plays, connecting with Spencer on an 11-yard TD pass to make it 41-12 with :45 left in the third quarter.
“We made our adjustments and came out at halftime and took care of them,” Chaisson said. “I think we are awesome on defense, but there is always room for improvement.”
Sharp rushed for 106 yards on 17 carries for the Mountain Lions (2-5, 1-3). Jeremy Green threw for 140 yards for Sierra Vista, and Darian Yahyavi had nine receptions for 117 and two scores for the Mountain Lions.