Video: High school football on CBS HQ — Sept. 14
Tommy Tran, Zack Poff and Barton Simmons get you ready for the weekend.
The 2016 MaxPreps national champions and eight time defending state champs looked down and out after 12th-ranked and host De La Salle (Concord, Calif.)
scored 20 unanswered points to take a 27-13 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
But even after committing a third second-half turnover, the Gaels, aided by three major De La Salle penalties, closed to within six points on a 3-yard run with 1:50 to play by exciting junior quarterback Micah Bowens
De La Salle went 3-and-out, giving Gorman one last shot with 1:10 to play, taking over from its own 32. The Gaels drove 30 yards, capped with Bowens completing a 12-yard pass to Rome Odunze
to the De La Salle 28 to set up one last play.
But with no timeouts, the clock reached zero before the snap could be taken and De La Salle escaped with a wild 27-21 comeback victory. It set off a wild DLS celebration because A. It was jackstomped 35-7 at Gorman last season and B. These Gaels wouldn't go away.
At 1-3, Gorman has lost more games this season than the previous four seasons combined. In many respects they were victorious on Friday, just not on the scoreboard. De La Salle was and improved to 5-0. The Spartans made big plays all night. The game left both coaches giddy, perplexed but proud to be part of a hearty, evenly-matched contest between perennial national heavyweights.
"Those guys are a national-level team; those guys are great," De La Salle coach Justin Alumbaugh told Darren Sabedra of the San Jose Mercury News
. "It took everything we had. We couldn't put them away at the end. That's a testament to them. Those guys are scrappers."
, one of the best linebackers in the country (he had 11 tackles), looked like a pretty good Division I running back, breaking loose for touchdown runs of 53 and 55 yards, keying the victory.
To'oto'o's (15 carries, 130 yards) second score came with 51.5 seconds left in the third, giving De La Salle its first lead of the game, 21-14. The Spartans tacked on another score with a 17-yard touchdown pass from sophomore Dorian Hale
to Richard Fahiua
midway through the fourth quarter following a fumble recovery by Erich Storti
at the Gorman 20.
Gorman (1-3) showed spunk all night, especially on the defensive end, stopping De La Salle on fourth down four different times. The young Gaels took leads of 7-0 and 14-7 but ultimately couldn't overcome the turnovers or big-play prowess of the Spartans.
Bowens and Donovan Smith
combined for two touchdowns, the second on a trick play, 58-yard pass from Smith to take a 14-7 lead midway through the third.
But De La Salle came right back, taking just three plays to go 59 yards, capped by a 26-yard TD run by Shamar Garrett
(18 carries, 115 yards), to tie things at 14-14. The Spartans then took the lead for good on To'oto'o's second TD, which was almost identical to the first, over the left side. He was barely touched.
Gorman's defense stopped De La Salle on 4th-and-short three times in the first half — twice in DLS territory — but was only able to take advantage once, on a fourth down play of its own.
Bowens completed a 4-yard pass to 6-foot-3 Smith putting the ball up high for Smith to catch under heavy duress. That gave Gorman a 7-0 lead with 4:36 left in the first quarter. Bowens earlier on the drive threw a perfectly placed 24-yard jump ball to 6-6 Blaze Boudreau
, who was also covered well.
Gorman played brilliantly on defense in the first half, until DLS 5-star linebacker To'oto'o broke loose for a 53-yard touchdown with 1:49 left in the half to tie the score at 7-7. That set the stage for a topsy-turvy second half. Both teams will surely take some big positives and negatives away from the game. Ultimately, it couldn't have been much more entertaining for the 5,000 fans in attendance or ESPNU national television audience.
"The kids played hard," said an exhausted Gorman coach Kenny Sanchez. "I really thought we'd get that one. This game is fun and heart breaking at the same time. Got to love it."