Second-string rusher helps Gorman beat Centennial

Bishop Gorman’s top offensive threat Biaggio Ali Walsh came out of the game midway early into the second quarter Friday night, with what appeared to be a hip injury. Gaels coach Kenny Sanchez said Ali Walsh could have come back in at any time, as it was not a big deal.

As it turned out, the Gaels didn’t need him

After Ali Walsh rushed for 85 yards on nine carries, including three touchdowns, Troy Wilewski came off the bench to rush for 114 yards and two TDs on five carries to guide the Gaels to a 63-13 home win over Centennial in the Sunset Region semifinals.

“Our offensive line is the real deal,” Gorman coach Kenny Sanchez said. “I don’t know how many yards we rushed for this year, but it’s gotta be around 3,000 and the big boys don’t ever get any credit they deserve. But I think it was evident tonight when the best running back in the state comes out and we put our other guy in and he rushes for (more than 100 yards).”

The Gaels (12-0) finished with 281 rushing yards rushing and racked up 492 yards of offense. Quarterback Tate Martell completed 11 of 19 pass attempt for 211 yards and one touchdown, and Tyjon Lindsey caught six passes for 155 yards, and a touchdown for Gorman. Lindsey also returned a punt 56 yards for a score.

Ali Walsh picked up 56 of his yards on the game’s opening drive. His 1-yard plunge 2 minutes and 9 seconds into the game gave the Gaels the early 7-0 lead.

The Bulldogs, however, showed plenty of gamesmanship on their first drive, as they needed just seven plays to tie the game, when quarterback Jamaal Evans scored from 1 yard out with 6:58 to go in the first quarter. Evans accounted for 140 yards of total offense. He rushed for 82 yards and two TDs on 11 carries.

“They have some good football players on that side; coach Evans does a great job,” Sanchez said. “From where they started from before when he first got there, to where they are now, they legitimately compete for a league championship every year. They’re always in the playoff and they’re always in the hunt.”

The Gaels quickly diffused the Bulldogs’ bite, scoring on their next two possessions — both runs by Walsh. Then, just before the end of the first quarter, Malik Hausman scooped up a fumble by Tyler Hennis and raced 22 yards to give the Gaels a commanding 28-7 lead.

Gorman tacked on another score with 5:23 left in the first half on Lindsey’s punt return that made it 35-7.

Centennial looked as if it was going to answer with a final score before the half, as the Bulldogs put together an 11-play drive. But Alex Perry picked off Evans’ pass at the 28-yard line to end the drive.

Centennial (8-3) scored on the first drive of the second half, when Evans rumbled 66 yards through Gorman’s defense, but it was the last time the Bulldogs would reach the end zone.

“We may have won by 50, but it didn’t really feel like that, because the boys over there, they were running around and they were competing,” Sanchez said. “They were smacking heads too, so kudos to those guys.”

The Gaels scored on their next four possessions to put the game out of reach. They’ll host Arbor View for the Sunset Region title at 7 p.m. next Friday.

And Sanchez wasted no time in taking the first shot a week in advance.

“I just hope this time, this year, they don’t spend a whole lot of time getting bagpipes and putting up signs saying that they’ve been doing it the right way since whenever, and they actually practice so we can get a good game going,” Sanchez said.

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