Video: Top 10 Games of the Week
MaxPreps football editor Zack Poff identifies and breaks down the best national match-ups.
"The demise of Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)
is ludicrous," he said. "They're still unreal."
For the three-time national champions to get beat 42-0 in its season opener at home against Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) was a little hard to fathom.
For the eight-time defending Nevada state champs not score a single point in six red-zone attempts during a 13-7 loss to Centennial (Peoria, Ariz.) was certainly unreal.
But to consider the Gaels, with more than a half dozen Division I players including quarterback Micah Bowens
and Ikaika Ragsdale
, just another football team?
That is what some people are trying to feed Alumbaugh and the 12th-ranked Spartans, who host Gorman 7 p.m. Friday on ESPNU in the MaxPreps Game of the Week.
Sure, the Gaels (1-2) may not have the star power they did when they won 55 consecutive games from 2013 to the start of 2017 and featured such stars as 2016 MaxPreps National Player of the Year Tate Martell (now quarterbacking at Ohio State) or All-Americans Tyjon Lindsey and Brevin Jordan.
But they're not a normal 1-2 squad. The Gaels are coming off a 31-21 home win over a very good Orem (Utah) squad.
"The Mater Dei score was misleading," Alumbaugh said. "It easy could have been 14-7 at halftime. Big plays killed them. They beat a great Orem team.
"Listen, they lost two games last year and crushed us and could do the same this year if we play like we did last year."
The 34-7 defeat at Gorman was a low point and sore subject for the Spartans, who beat the Gaels 28-14 at home in 2010. That's the only two times the super prep powers have faced off.
"This is going to be a big redemption game for everyone that was here last year," De La Salle tight end/defensive end Isaiah Foskey
told Darren Sabedra of the San Jose Mercury News
. "We have to try to get that smell off of us. They have some good athletes. We need to contain them, limit them to what they can do."
Clearly, the Spartans are better than a year ago, especially on defense. They opened the season with a 14-0 win over a high-powered and then nationally ranked Folsom team that has since scored 161 points in three games.
De La Salle is led by top 100 recruits Foskey and linebacker/running back
. A third two-way player, junior Shamar Garrett
has been perhaps the team's early MVP.
Last week in a 33-15 win over St. Francis, Garrett rushed for 155 yards and two scores and added a brilliant 85-yard interception return for another touchdown.
"They've always been great on defense, but this group looks really good," Gorman coach Kenny Sanchez said. "That's the hidden gem about the program. It always gets overshadowed because of all their offensive accomplishments. It's always been the perfect compliment. Their veer offense controls the ball and keeps their defense fresh."
De La Salle did next to nothing offensively last year against Gorman after leading rusher Kairee Robinson left late in the first quarter with an injury.
After that, Alumbaugh lamented, the Spartans simply didn't compete. Much of that had to do with Gorman's physicality.
Sanchez, whose specialty is defense, sees a lot more from the De La Salle offense this season, especially at quarterback where sophomore Dorian Hale is a legitimate dual threat.
"They're showing a lot more formations and open sets," Sanchez said. "And their quarterback is better than last year. But the veer and the counter is still their bread and butter and you have to stop that.
"Look, we're playing better (than earlier in the year). We've had a good week of practice. You can swing last year's game either way. Do we go in with more confidence? Because of that win are we not afraid of who they are? Or will De La Salle play with a chip on its shoulder? It's tough to say. They're new teams with a lot of new kids. What will they do with what the coaches feed them? Will they swallow it or spit it out? We'll find out soon enough."