Ray Brewer and Case Keefer discuss each of the six local high school football teams still left competing as the playoffs wind down.
Jeffrey Ulofoshio scooped up the loose ball near midfield and raced the other way for a Bishop Gorman defensive touchdown.
It was the final points in the Gaels' 42-7 win against visiting Arbor View Friday night in the Sunset Regional championship game, giving the local power its ninth straight regional title.
Like Ulofoshio, who has gone from a virtual unknown to one of Gorman’s best defenders, the Gaels needed time to find success against previously unbeaten Arbor View.
The Arbor View offense moved the ball down the field with ease on its opening possession, picking up yards in the run game and scoring on Logan Bollinger’s touchdown pass to Kyle Graham to even the score at 7-all.
“That first possession, it was toughness. They were blowing us off the line,” Ulofoshio said. “When we got tougher, we shut them down real quick.”
The Gaels became comfortable defending Arbor View’s misdirection running game, holding the Aggies scoreless the remainder of the night and scoring 35 unanswered points to close the game.
On many plays, Gorman made it into the Arbor View backfield to disrupt the running game. The Gaels forced three turnovers, including a fumble recovery from Noah Lopez inside the Arbor View 20-yard line early the second quarter, which led to a 10-yard Brevin Jordan touchdown run.
A back-and-forth game through the first quarter quickly turned into a 35-7 Gorman lead by halftime. Amod Cianelli had two second-quarter touchdown runs.
“They are a good football team. They run their scheme really well,” Gorman coach Kenny Sanchez said. “It is so hard to run scout team (on them). You have to settle in. We are a pretty good defense and it didn’t take us too long (to settle in).”
Ulofoshio and Lopez each had a pair of sacks, and JoJuan Clairborne had an interception. The senior Ulofoshio, who moved to Gorman from Alaska two years ago, entered the game with a team-high 70 tackles, including seven for negative yardage.
“Just working hard every day at practice,” Ulofoshio said. “You practice how you play, so every rep I’ve had, I’m going all out.”
The Gorman defense went seven straight games this season without giving up a point. While Division I recruits such as Adam Plant and Palaie Gaoteote frequently receive much of the accolades, Ulofoshio has become a threat from his linebacker position.
“He’s a beast. He is a great football player,” Gorman coach Kenny Sanchez said.
Gorman advances to play Liberty at 2 p.m. next Friday at Rancho in the state semifinals. Gorman, the eight-time defending state champion, beat Liberty 84-8 in last year’s title game.
“I don’t care what championship you win. They are hard to come by,” Sanchez said. “... Winning isn’t old. We don’t take these games lightly. We are excited with where we are at.”