Video: Preview - Bishop Gorman travels to Bellevue in MaxPreps Game of the WeekNation's top team is led by a talented duo.
It's easy to get lost in Las Vegas. All those bright lights. All those tourists. All those stars — athletic and otherwise — working the strip looking for a quick getaway.
When Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
juniors Tate Martell
and Tyjon Lindsey
walk side-by-side anywhere, few identify them as football players, let alone football stars. Certainly not five-star recruits.
Martell, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound quarterback, and Lindsey, a 5-8, 165-pound receiver, are vastly undersized for their positions. At least by recruiting standards.
For them to overcome the locked-in-stone five-star measurable for size, they must make up for it in every other category.
And do they ever, says Gorman coach Kenny Sanchez, whose team, winners of 26 straight, travels to perennial national juggernaut Bellevue (Wash.)
in the MaxPreps National Game of the Week.
Martell and Lindsey, who are adopted brothers, are considered the top junior passing combination in the country.
"I think we all forget around here that they're not super big," Sanchez said. "They just play huge."
Big smile, loves life
Martell, nicknamed "Mini Manziel" and "Money Martell,' and compared to Doug Flutie as a youth, is ranked the No. 12 junior recruit in the country by 247Sports
and No. 1 dual-threat quarterback.
Besides fantastic feet, superb mechanics and a powerful arm, he's remarkably accurate and a good decision-maker. Last season he completed 124 of 200 (62 percent) for 2,537 yards, 40 touchdowns and — get this — only two interceptions. He also rushed for 433 yards (including sacks) and five scores, leading Gorman to a 15-0 record, a sixth straight state title and its first mythical national crown.
Especially impressive, considering Martell and Lindsey transferred into Gorman from Poway (Calif.), the previous spring.
"It's one thing to transfer into a new school and try to fit in at school and into a new program," Sanchez said. "But to learn a whole new offense and lead an established program, that wasn't easy."
It won't be a piece of cake for him playing the kids from Bellevue, a suburb of Seattle. Martell made national news as a seventh-grader by committing to Washington and current USC coach Steve Sarkisian.
He de-committed and is now pledged to play at Manziel's old playground, Texas A&M.
It's hard for Martell to make enemies. He's popular among teammate and opponents, described by Gorman's previous coach Tony Sanchez, Kenny's brother, like this: "High energy. Big smile. Loves life. Loves football. … He's a Grade-A playmaker, that's for sure."
Before a showdown last season against St. John Bosco and All-American quarterback Josh Rosen, the current UCLA freshman said: "He's awesome. He's an incredibly talented player. He plays like a chicken with his head cut off — in a positive way. He's going to develop a lot through the years. He has an obvious large skill set to work with and mold."
It helps to have the explosive Lindsey as his No. 1 receiver.
Sideways 4.5 speed
Blessed with 4.5 speed in the 40-yard-dash, Lindsey is even more effective because of his ability to change directions. He turns many short passes into long touchdowns.
Last season Lindsey had 34 catches for 884 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also averaged a staggering 28.1 yards on 10 punt returns, with two more scores.
"He not only runs a 4.5 40, but he can maintain that speed cutting right-to-left or left-to-right," Kenny Sanchez said. "It's uncanny."
He's ranked the No. 19 junior recruit in the country and No. 3 wide receiver, according to 247Sports
"I guess I'm a little prejudiced, but I don't think there could be a better wide receiver in the country in any class than Tyjon," Martell said. "What he does in the open field is pretty amazing. He catches everything and he's fearless."
The two have been best friends since seventh grade, and Martell's family signed up as Lindsey's legal guardian when his mother and grandmother moved to Ohio. He wanted to stay in the West and had vowed that he and Martell were a package deal going to college.
Though Texas A&M is a finalist, he hasn't committed to the Aggies just yet. They are on a short list with USC, Ohio State, Oregon and Washington. According to Kenny Sanchez, Lindsey and Martell are both model 3.5 students.
"Tate is definitely full of life, a happy kid who wears his emotions on his sleeve," Kenny Sanchez said. "Tyjon is a quiet kid, who keeps to himself. When they got here last year it didn't take long to find out they each are dynamic athletes with a lot of God-given ability."
* Bellevue, an 11-time state champion known for knocking off out-of-state teams with a unique spread option Wing-T offense, will be without head coach Butch Goncharoff, suspended two games by the KingCo Conference for recruiting violations
. An assistant coach was also suspended for three games and Bellevue was placed on three years probation.
"I don't know what effect it will have on the game," Sanchez said. "We expect them to be as good as they have ever been and their offense is almost impossible to simulate at practice. It's going to be a heck of a challenge."
*Gorman has already defeated nationally-ranked Chandler (Ariz.) 35-14 and Bingham (South Jordan, Utah) 38-20, the latter being last week in Utah.
*This is Bellevue's season-opener. The Wolverines are led by the passing duo of Justus Rogers
to Oregon State-bound Tyson Penn
, and all around skills of four-star athlete Isaiah Gilchrist
*Bellevue is known as the team that broke the national-record 151-game win streak
by De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) in 2004 and last year it traveled to California to knock off then No. 14 Serra
*Bellevue had a 67-game win streak snapped in last year's state title game to Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Wash.)