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Football: Reed needs perfect game to beat Gorman in state semifinals


12:00 AM, Nov. 24, 2012 EST

Reed's Brett Chaney runs with the ball at Spanish Springs on Oct. 25. The Raiders host Bishop Gorman today. / Julie Dawes/Special to the RGJ

Reed was hands down the best team in the North last season. But the Raiders were humbled in a 44-point loss to Bishop Gorman in the state championship game.

Fans and administrators talked about it for weeks and even months afterward. Some of those administrators pointed to the 72-28 margin during a March meeting in which the NIAA discussed removing the Gaels from state title contention.

But that was nearly a full calendar year ago.

"We haven't thought about last year at all," said Reed coach Ernie Howren, whose team hosts Gorman at 1 p.m. today in the Division I state semifinals. "We've gone back and watched the film to get a feel for what they're going to do scheme-wise. But that's really it. As far as the emotional part it, that's long gone. And you'd better move on because Gorman is as good as they were last year, if not better.

"I can't change the score from last year. I can't change how someone is going to feel. The kids have to come in and understand it's a different year and a whole new game."

Not surprisingly, that can be easier said than done.

"Of course, you think back to last year, but you also kind of have to forget about it," senior receiver Brett Chaney said. "We're a new team; they're a new team. We had some success with a few plays last year, so we have to build off that."

The Raiders (10-3) hosted Gorman in the 2009 state semifinals and lost, 62-21. But few players from that game were around for last season's meeting. For today's game, more than a dozen Raiders took the field against the Gaels in 2011 and many more watched from the sideline.

"Seeing that kind of team on that level, and seeing it in person not on film, we know how hard we have to work," Reed safety Brandon Covello said. "And you definitely want to put last year behind you. Just like when we come out of halftime, it's 0-0. There's a restart to everything."

Restart, do-over, mulligan. Whatever you call it, it hasn't helped yet. Since 2007, when Gorman started its current run of four state titles in five years, the Gaels are 4-0 against Northern teams with a 37-point average margin of victory.

Three of those games were for the state championship; one was in the semifinals. Two were against McQueen, and two were against Reed.

The Gaels (11-1) rank 13th in the country by USA Today.

"You're always confident in what you do and your abilities. The reality is you're playing one of the best teams in the nation," Howren said. "You have to play one of those perfect games against a team like that.

"We're going to do what got us to this point and see what works against their offense and their defense."

Gorman coach Tony Sanchez is equally confident -- if not more -- but preached to his team the entire postseason that upsets are part of the game and can occur at anytime.

"Of all the years I've been here, this is the team other people thought would falter," Sanchez said. "Before the season, people questioned the offensive line. Everyone questioned the defense. If you look back at the articles before the year, everyone thought this was the year. This team has a bunch of overachievers. We only have one BCS kid (quarterback Jarrett Soloman). It's not as talent-laden as we've been in the past, and we've outperformed any team we've ever had. We're averaging more points per game than we ever have and more yards of offense than we ever have. Our defense has played lights out.

"But this is three of the past four years we've seen (the Raiders), so they're about as much of a power as we are. Playing at home in front of a big crowd, they're going to be fired up. We expect them to give us a heck of a run."

 

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