The head coach from the crosstown rival gathered his players into a tight circle after defeating Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas in the title game. He lifted a cup of water, took a large gulp and hollered loud enough for the local sportswriters to hear his proclamation.
“I don’t have the bad taste in my mouth anymore!”
Palo Verde had hurled a year’s worth of bitterness back across the football field, where a sullen group from Bishop Gorman was just beginning to digest the 50-14 season-ending loss in the Sunset Regional championship game.
That humbling defeat nine years ago didn’t settle very well at Bishop Gorman. The Gaels haven’t lost to a Nevada team since.
But that’s just their local domination.
As the only Catholic high school in Southern Nevada and with an enrollment of 1,500 students, Bishop Gorman has continued to build its program into one of the toughest to beat and most visible in the nation, taking on top teams from coast to coast and still winning its past 55 games.
The Gaels will take their show back on the road Friday when they face Mater Dei at Santa Ana Stadium, the seventh consecutive season Bishop Gorman has taken on a team from the Trinity League. The Gaels are 9-0 in those games, but they’ve never faced the Monarchs.
Most humans and computers rank Bishop Gorman and Mater Dei No. 1 and No. 2 in the country this week. Combined with the evolution of social media in recent years, this might be the most heavily hyped high school football game in Orange County history.
“Both teams have athletes all over the place,” Bishop Gorman coach Kenny Sanchez told MaxPreps earlier this week. “The fans are going to get their money’s worth.”
The Gaels have won 12 straight games against teams from California since a loss to De La Salle of Concord in 2010.
Bishop Gorman hasn’t played an Orange County team outside of the five against Servite and two against Santa Margarita.
The closest Servite came to beating Bishop Gorman was in 2011, when the Gaels kicked a 39-yard field goal with 1:03 left to win 31-28 on their home field.
Bishop Gorman traveled to Saddleback College to play Santa Margarita in 2013 and escaped with a double-overtime victory. The Eagles rallied from 10 points down in the final six minutes of regulation to tie the score, then…