Brophy Prep opens 2014 vs. nation’s top HS football team

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                </div>  When Nevada’s Bishop Gorman High School (photo above) was given USA Today’s No. 1 pre-season ranking 10 days ago, it suddenly elevated the importance of its season-opening game with […]<!-- AddThis Sharing Buttons below -->
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When Nevada’s Bishop Gorman High School (photo above) was given USA Today’s No. 1 pre-season ranking 10 days ago, it suddenly elevated the importance of its season-opening game with Brophy Prep – at least from Brophy’s standpoint.

The small Catholic school in central Phoenix, which now finds itself in a match-up with a team considered the best high-school program in the country, will meet Bishop Gorman in this year’s annual Barry Sollenberger Kick-off Classic on Aug. 22 to open the prep season.

Mountain Pointe High School, the other Arizona team that will play in the double-header against Nevada’s Reed High School, stunned Gorman in a shocking upset in last year’s Classic.  Now it’s Brophy that gets the challenge of taking on the team that has won the last five Nevada large-school state championships and finished the last five seasons nationally-ranked.

And this game, like last year, will be played in Nevada – an advantage Gorman really doesn’t need.

The Broncos have been up to the task in the past, beating Gorman in a Sollenberger Classic game in 2007.  But this is a different Gaels’ program that has been under the direction of head coach Tony Sanchez since he took over in 2009 and elevated the Nevada football factory to even greater heights.

Sanchez is building this year’s squad – which includes nearly 100 players returning from last season – with a pocket-full of college commits, including senior Alize Jones who is considered the nation’s top prospect at tight end and will be playing for UCLA next year.  And there’s the highly-recruited Cordell Broadus, a four-star prospect at wide receiver.

Senior Danny Hong will return for his second season at quarterback, playing in eight games last season after returning from Southern California, where he played as a sophomore.  And Russell Booze, who ran for more than 100 yards against last year’s national champion Booker T. Washington, returns at running back.

On defense, the Gaels have six players that have already snagged college scholarships.  That group includes safety Nicco Fertitta, who has committed to play at Notre Dame, and lineman Jackson Perry who has been offered by Nebraska.

During the five years Sanchez has been running the program, 22 players have moved on to play Division-I ball.  But probably none has received any more attention than Broadus, who tallied 15 touchdowns the last two years before transferring to Gorman this year from California – which really isn’t enough to raise his profile.  However, Broadus is also the son of rapper Snoop Dogg. And that is.

Brophy’s head coach, Scooter Molander, should perhaps be honored just to be on the Gorman play list this season.  The Gaels generally play all their non-conference games each season against nationally-ranked opponents.  This season, that includes three out-of-state teams included in the Super 25 rankings.

Brophy Prep does not meet that qualification.  In fact, the Broncos are coming off a tough year when they lost their starting quarterbak in the third game of the season, were riddled throughout the season with injuries, got off to a 1-4 start, and were eliminated in the state quarterfinals.  They finished with an uncharacteristic 5-7 record.

Things are looking better this season as they return seven starters on offense and a similar number on defense. But the one that could make the most difference is Jack Haddon, who missed all of last season with a knee injury.  The hard-hitting tailback is the team’s primary offensive threat on the ground and will join fellow senior, Isaiah Oliver, to anchor what should be a solid defensive secondary.

But perhaps the biggest advantage the Broncos will have going into this game is Gorman’s next game on the schedule when the Gaels meet Servite High from Anaheim, Calif., the No. 19 team in the pre-season rankings.

Brophy just might catch the Gaels looking past them to the next week.

(Photo: Bishop Gorman/MaxPreps)