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Game of the Week Preview: No. 17 Kahuku vs. No. 1 Bishop Gorman

In a battle of two undefeated high school heavyweights, the top-ranked team in the nation, Bishop Gorman, will take on 17th-ranked Kahuku on Saturday in Las Vegas. The matchup will feature some of the nation’s top prospects at every position as well as two programs with rich traditions of history.

While Kahuku put up an 83-0 shutout against winless Radford last weekend, Gorman needed a huge second half from Tate Martell, who threw three touchdown passes after falling behind 14-0 early on in the game, on the way to a hard-fought 35-20 victory over 7th-ranked St. John Bosco (CA).

One major storyline to watch in this game will be the health of Bishop Gorman star running back, Biaggio Ali Walsh, who went down with an ankle injury in the first half of the Gaels’ victory last weekend.

Sophomore Amod Cianelli, who was more than capable of stepping in with 129 yards and a TD on 25 carries, could see a large chunk of the carries Saturday night should Ali Walsh not be at full health. The stud went down initially in the season opener against Cedar Hill (TX) and missed the game at Cocoa (FL) in Week 2.

Either way, Kahuku will have its hands full with the versatile Martell, who not only threw for 174 yards and the three scores last week, he also tuned up Bosco’s defense for 183 rushing yards on 16 carries, which included another touchdown on the ground.

The dual-threat star has been a gamer all year for the Gaels, and his talent and experience could well lead this squad to an undefeated season.

On the opposite side, Kahuku’s running game and suffocating defense has powered them to their fantastic start to the year. Running back Harmon Brown has six rushing scores on the year, and he is complemented in the backfield by fullbacks Steven Lombard and Elvis Vakapuna, and the three have combined for 18 total touchdowns on the year.

In addition do-it-all playmaker Stokes Nihipali-Botelho scored on an interception return TD, punt return TD, and also kicked 10 extra points in the team’s blowout win and should factor strongly into the outcome of this one. Should Ali Walsh be ready to go, he still would likely split carries with Cianelli, who did an admirable job as his stand-in the last two weeks, and with the talented receiving corps it should be Gorman viewed as the slight favorite. Star receiver Tyjon Lindsey has been limited thus far this season, and is do to break out. Dorian Thompson-Robinson has proven to be a capable deep-threat as he awaits his turn at Quarterback after Martell graduates.

Kahuku has shot up the rankings since the preseason and they won’t go down without a fight so look for this one to be a close one until the end in Vegas.

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