Gorman forced the Reed offense into a one-dimensional attack. Reed's ground game had accounted for 1,100 yards in its last five outings, but could not get going against Gorman's monstrous defensive front. Reed finished with 95 rushing yards on 33 attempts but most of those came late. At halftime Reed had rushed 13 times for 14 yards.
The Bishop Gorman defense limited Reed's all-North running back Jordan de Leon to 16 yards on 13 carries. Additionally, Reed QB Chris Denn has been a stellar secondary rushing weapon for Reed but he managed only 27 yards on eight rushes.
" They (the Gaels' defensive front) were as advertised," Reed coach Ernie Howren said. "They were as big and strong up front as we've seen all year and you have to credit Gorman's coaching staff. They did some things we hadn't seen on film. Schematically, they changed some things and did a great job of making adjustments."
Stopping the run was nothing new for Gorman.
"That's just kind of the forte of our defense," said Gaels coach Tony Sanchez, who watched his team win a fifth-straight Nevada large-school state championship. "The one thing we've been able to do all year is we've been able to stop the run. Our guys are pretty stout and they do a real good job up front ... That was huge. When you shut someone down and they become one-dimensional, it becomes very difficult."
Gorman had control at the half leading 21-7, but grabbed the momentum and ran away during a stretch of less than two minutes midway through the third period. The Gaels put the game out of reach when they posted three touchdowns in a span of less than 1:40.
BG quarterback Randall Cunningham got to the corner and bolted 29 yards up the sideline for a Gaels score that left the state power on top 28-7 at the 7:05 mark of the third quarter.
Reed got the ball back, but Gorman defensive back Daniel Stewart pulled down a tipped pass and ran 28 yards untouched for a touchdown on an interception return and a 34-7 Gaels lead.
A quick three-and-out gave the ball right back to Bishop Gorman and and the Gaels wasted no time building on their lead. Cunningham connected with Riley Hoff for a 27-yard pass-and-catch scoring combination on the Gaels' first play following a Reed punt.
The sequence of three quick scores left Bishop Gorman holding a 41-7 lead at the 5:34 mark of the third quarter and it was never threatened.
"You have to be able to play good, error-free football," Howren said. "You have to be able to convert and execute to be successful against a team like them. That was the story for us, missed opportunities, which put us behind ... It's just disappointing we didn't play better."
Cunningham was a productivity machine for the Gaels. The Gorman signal caller and son of former NFL All-Pro QB, Randall Cunningham Sr., torched the Reed defense. He ran for 213 yards and four touchdowns on 22 carries. He also completed 9-of-11passes for 111 more yards through the air.
"Most of that was designed reads," Cunningham said. "Our offensive line did a good job, like it has all year, getting a good push ... Reed played hard and they are physical. They're a good team and this was a good win for us."
Reed posted its only touchdown after halftime in the waning seconds of the third quarter. Raiders senior receiver Jake Lehmann left his feet to snag a 4-yard touchdown catch from Denn. Lehmann and Denn also connected on a 65-yard reception earlier in the drive to set up the touchdown.
"Coach Howren does a fantastic job," Sanchez said. "It's tough to defend what they do ... They did a great job of sticking to their game plan and then they hit some big balls. They hit two really big passes."
Gorman posted a meaningless touchdown on an 11-yard TD run by Cunningham with 7:41 left in the postseason affair to account for the final score.
Reed was forced to stare at the 21-7 halftime deficit after it missed on some key early opportunities.
Reed's defense responded by forcing a Gaels punt. Unfortunately, the RHS offense made a costly mistake. Denn threw an interception over the middle that set Gorman up at the Reed 35. Five plays later, Stewart got over the goal line from a yard out and the private Las Vegas Catholic school had a 21-7 advantage with 1:27 remaining before the break.
"I thought we played a little bit like we were on a roller-coaster ride," Howren said. "At times, we played well and times we made some critical mistakes that you can't make against a team the caliber of Gorman."
The Raiders got on the scoreboard first. Trae Wells caught an 8-yard touchdown pass on a short slant as Reed cashed in for a score on its opening drive. Wells also pulled in the pigskin on a go route down the sideline that turned into a 68-yard gain to the BGHS 8.
"That was a great start for us," Wells said. "That was a huge way to get going. It's just too bad we couldn't capitalize on it."
Wells finished with six catches for 112 receiving yards. Denn was 14-of-24 passing for 197 yards to go along with two passing TDs and the two interceptions.
"Their defense was fast," Denn said. "They filled the gaps. We did everything we could do and sometimes it's just not there."
Unfortunately for Reed, Bishop Gorman answered on its next drive, marching 70 yards on 11 plays. The drive was capped by a 12-yard Cunningham scamper that knotted the game at 7-7.
Reed went three and out on the next possession and the Gaels' offense went right back to work. Thanks to a short wind-hindered punt. Bishop Gorman took over at the Reed 44 and needed only seven plays to find the end zone again, this time on a 22-yard Cunningham scoring scramble.
Reed wraps up its season with a 12-2 record and its second state runner-up finish in three years.
"I really do feel like this was an awesome season," Howren said. "The kids did so many good things. And yet, I still feel like our program can get better."