LAS VEGAS - Jalen Grimble
spent the better part of 20 minutes posing for pictures and accepting congratulations on Saturday afternoon at Sam Boyd Stadium, and the senior defensive end from Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)
was anxious to get into the locker room.
But the 6-foot-3, 265-pound standout had plenty of time to talk about the Gaels' most recent dominating defensive display.
"The key is to get started early and take their spirit," said Grimble, who has given a verbal commitment to USC. "We want to take them into deep water. Once you take them into deep water, they can't do anything about it."McQueen (Reno)
became the latest team from Nevada to sink against the Gaels, managing just four first downs and 101 yards of offense as Gorman rolled to a workmanlike 40-0 victory in the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Class 4A state title game.
It was the second straight state championship for the Gaels (13-2) and their third in four years.
"This means a lot," Gorman junior running back Shaquille Powell
said. "The atmosphere was beautiful and we wanted to represent Gorman at its finest. I think we did a great job. ... To shut out a team in the state championship, you don't get that every day."
Gorman finished the season outscoring its 12 in-state opponents 623-36 and Saturday's shutout was its eighth of the season, matching Grimble's jersey number ironically.
The Gaels' only losses this year came in the season-opening Sollenberger Classic to undefeated Hamilton (Chandler, Ariz.), which is in the Arizona Class 5A Division I title game, and to De La Salle (Concord, Calif.), the No. 14 team in the Xcellent 25 Football Rankings presented by the Army National Guard.
"They're a great football program and a great team," said McQueen coach Jim Snelling, whose team was looking for its seventh state title since 1990. "They pretty well beat us in every phase of the game."
The Lancers (12-2) entered the game without leading rusher
(1,545 yards, 19 touchdowns) or wide receiver/safety Rollins Stallworth
, who had a team-high five touchdown catches. Both were injured in a 7-6 semifinal win over Liberty last week.
Making matters worse, McQueen's bus broke down halfway through the eight-hour trip south on Friday and the team was forced to conduct its walk-through at small-town Tonopah High, which plays eight-man football on an 80-yard field.
Then on its opening drive, McQueen had a first down nullified due to a penalty and gave up a safety when punter Jace Carlson was forced to fall on the ball in the end zone after a low snap.
"To play a team like Gorman, you definitely put yourself at a disadvantage when you don't have all your guys," Snelling admitted. "I knew we were going to have to play a near-perfect game and we were going to have to get the ball to bounce our way a couple times to have a chance to win."
Gorman junior quarterback Makoa Tyndall
started in place of sophomore Jarrett Solomon
, who was forced to sit the entire first quarter because he missed a practice due to "a school issue," according to Gaels coach Tony Sanchez.
"Our team rule is that if you miss a practice, you miss a quarter no matter what. Unless you're sick," Sanchez explained.
Tyndall led Gorman to its first touchdown, keeping the drive alive with a 9-yard run on third-and-7 one play before
scored from 6 yards out for a 9-0 lead.
"For him to come in and orchestrate the first touchdown drive is fantastic," Sanchez said.
Solomon took over at the start of the second quarter and needed just three plays to make an impact as he connected with sophomore wide receiver Ryan Smith
for a 32-yard touchdown. The duo hooked up again later in the quarter when Solomon lofted a perfect deep ball down the right sideline that Smith hauled in for a 57-yard touchdown with 3:09 remaining in the first half.
Solomon finished the game 9-of-15 for 179 yards and three touchdowns and an interception. For the season, Solomon threw for 2,412 yards with 41 TDs and five INTs.
"Once (Solomon) came in, we opened up the passing game," Smith said. "We knew they were going to come out and play zone. The wide receivers just ran our routes and did what we did."
McQueen's best opportunity to score came midway through the second quarter after linebacker Lisiate Otuafi intercepted Solomon and returned it to the Gorman 20. But after failing to get a first down, Tyler Fritsen's 33-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Gorman's Jelani Walls.
Walls also intercepted a pass late in the first half that led to Collin Ditsworth's 39-yard field goal and a 26-0 halftime lead.
Solomon threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jamir Tilman
for a 33-0 lead before Powell tacked on a 3-yard touchdown with 4:01 left in the third quarter to cap the scoring.
The Lancers were able to contain Powell for the most part, but the junior still finished with 75 yards on 13 carries as Gorman rushed for 206 yards overall.
"Personally, I knew it was going to be a grind," Powell said. "I knew McQueen wasn't going to come out and let me run the ball all over them. By putting so many people in the box it helped our passing game. I'd do anything for my team. If I get negative yards and the team wins, I'm fine with it."
Grimble recorded a sack in his final game and teamed with senior defensive tackle Jaylon Jackson to lead a Gaels defense that dominated the line of scrimmage. Gorman held McQueen scoreless for the first time since 2001 and limited the Lancers to just 25 yards on the ground.
McQueen junior Arnold Carrillo, who filled in for Shepherd, had just 10 yards on eight carries. Fullback Eric Martinez gained a team-high 21 yards on seven carries to go along with six receptions for 34 yards. McQueen, the Norther Region champion, didn't get past its own 40 in the second half.
"It's unfortunate the season ends like this, but the kids worked their tails off," Snelling said. "You go in and you ask the kids to do the best they can and I think they did that. We just got beat by a better team."
McQueen 0 0 0 0 - 0
Bishop Gorman 9 17 14 0 - 40
Gor—Safety, punter covers bad snap in end zone.
Gor—Jordan Welte 6 run (Collin Ditsworth kick).Second Quarter
Gor—Ryan Smith 32 pass from Jarrett Solomon (Ditsworth kick).
Gor—Smith 57 pass from Solomon (Ditsworth kick).
Gor—FG Ditsworth 39.Third Quarter
Gor—Jamir Tillman 11 pass from Solomon (Ditsworth kick).
Gor—Shaquille Powell 3 run (Ditsworth kick).Individual Statistics
RUSHING—McQueen, Eric Martinez 7-21, Arnold Carrillo 8-10, Matthew Strebel 4-9, Christian Stolo 2-1, team 1-(minus 16). Gorman, Powell 13-75, Welte 7-49, Justin Sweet 5-36, Solomon 3-33, Makoa Tyndall 1-9, Nathen Starks 1-5, Marcus Brouwers 1-2, Frank Fertitta 1-(minus 2), team 1-(minus 1).
PASSING—McQueen, Stolo 11-14-1 65, Kyle Robbins 1-3-0 11. Gorman, Solomon 9-15-1 179, Tyndall 5-7-0 29.
RECEIVING—McQueen, Martinez 6-34, Garrett Crosby 3-18, Carrillo 1-19, Anthony Calton 1-6, Tyler Pearson 1-4, team 0-(minus 5). Gorman, Tillman 3-32, Smith 2-89, Trey Perry 2-33, Evan Zeger 1-12, Nick McCarthy 1-12, Devin Healy 1-9, Powell 1-9, Cameron Hanson 1-6, Sweet 1-3, Morvell Singh 1-3.