This was one of the most anticipated Sollenberger Kickoff Classics to date. Two teams ranked in the nation's top 25, two defending state champions, two teams that produce tons of D1 talent. This game had all of the makings of a classic. The first half looked like it would be, but the second half was a different story.
Bishop Gorman's D came out and forced a three and out and it ook their offense just three plays to put points on the board after they got the ball.
Junior QB Jarrett Solomon hit TE Zach Hutchins for a 32 yard gain and Solomon then hit RB Shaquille Powell up the middle for a 30 yard TD pass. This would be Powell's first of six TDs on the night. 7-0 Gorman.
It took Chaparral a few series to get going and on their third possession of the night they tied it up at 7. Tough running by Zach Skeen and Malcolm Thomas kept the chains moving for the Firebirds and QB Connor Brewer found Cody Ippolito in the endzone from a few yards out to even the score.
The Chaparral D tightened up and got the ball back and their offense went right back to work. Brewer made several key throws and scrambled for a first down before hooking up with Skeen for hs second TD of the night. 14-7 Chaparral.
That would be the score headed into the half but the Firebirds benefited from a personal foul that negated a Gorman TD just before the half.
Gorman head coach Tony Sanchez came out in the second half with a new game plan. On their first series the Gaels used their massive OL, led by Ronnie Stanley, Ron Scoggins and Nick Strehlow, to pound the ball ona much smaller Chaparral d-line. Powell scored from 45 yards out on a run to the left to tie the score.
"Run left" was the key phrase of the third quarter, as that is all Gorman did and it is all they needed to do. They chewed up yards and clock with a heavy set and there was not much Chaparral could do.
Gorman recovered an onside kick and it was again Powell who scored to give BG a lead that they would never relinquish.
Powell scored three more times in the second half while Chaparral could only manage one fourth quarter score by Davonte' Neal.
When the game started, from a physical stand point, no one thought Chaparral could play with Gorman. The Firebirds played a tough first half but when Gorman lined up and ran the ball like everyone in the stadium thought they were going, they could be stopped.
Six, yes 6 TDs and an interception for Gorman RB Shaq Powell. Have to give credit to his offensive line for this performance too.