Bishop Gorman’s first drive Friday night ended with a punt.
Running back Nathan Starks helped make sure that wouldn’t happen again.
The junior rushed for 195 yards and four touchdowns on 21 carries to help the top-ranked Gaels to a 49-20 road victory over No. 4 Centennial.
Many of Starks’ big runs came after contact, as he brushed off defenders and kept his legs churning.
“I always just want to fight for every yard I can get,” Starks said. “That’s what a lot of colleges look for to just see how hard you work, and that’s definitely what I try to do every time I come out.”
Gorman (7-1, 4-0 Southwest League) had a holding penalty wipe out a touchdown pass on its opening drive, and fourth-year coach Tony Sanchez said that wasn’t the team’s only problem to start.
“We came to the sidelines and challenged the guys,” Sanchez said. “We had a play where we lined up wrong on the first series. We had a personnel issue on the first series. It was just a lack of focus. That’s one of the things we’ve got to make sure we start the game with.”
Starks capped a seven-play, 51-yard drive on Gorman’s second possession with a 4-yard TD run. He added scoring runs of 30 and 17 yards in the first half and had 151 yards at the break.
“That’s what makes a great back,” Sanchez said of Starks’ consistent second effort. “Our offensive line did a great job getting him about 6 yards down the field, and then the thing about Nate is he’s such a big, physical kid, those (yards after contact) are unbelievable.”
Jarrett Solomon completed 14 of 22 passes for 230 yards and two TDs. He had a 48-yard TD pass to Jamir Tillman in the first half and a 15-yard scoring strike to Tajon Allen in the second half.
“It’s really starting to come together,” Sanchez said of the Gaels’ offense, which totaled 584 yards.
“Jarrett did a great job again managing things. Nate’s finally starting to get back to full strength with the ankle (injury). Tajon Allen, he had another ankle (injury), and you can see he’s about getting back to full strength. Jamir Tillman continues to make plays. I like where we are offensively.”
After getting two field goals from Blake Frischknecht in the first half, Centennial (6-2, 3-1) became the first Southwest League team to score a touchdown against the Gaels this season when quarterback
Austin Turley hit Lantz Worthington with a swing pass, and the speedy back took it 18 yards for a touchdown with 1:17 to go in the third quarter.
Turley later added a 14-yard TD run, diving for the pylon with 10:15 to play to cut the Gorman lead to 42-20. The Bulldogs are the first Southwest League team to score two touchdowns against the Gaels in Sanchez’s tenure.
“I have a lot of respect for Centennial and how hard they work,” Starks said. “It’s good to see a Las Vegas team that works as hard as they do.”
Coby Newton rushed for 91 yards, and Turley completed 10 of 22 passes for 134 yards for the Bulldogs.
“This was a fun atmosphere,” Sanchez said. “Of all the games we’ve played in the regular season since I’ve been in Vegas, this is the best atmosphere, the best crowd, the best team, the best coaching staff. Those guys are getting it going. They’re going to be good.”