The subject was whether tonight’s high school football season opener between Phoenix Brophy and Las Vegas Bishop Gorman is as significant as the outside world believes.
In the grand scheme of these next 12 weeks, it’s only one game, between two teams from different states with vastly different squads following 2007 state championships.
And for Brophy’s sake, let’s not forget this game won’t count in the power rankings used to determine playoff teams.
That’s one possible rebuttal, but to the Broncos, it’s hogwash.
This is the 2008 opener. A new season with a new team, but a game that counts.
Though Brophy is fond of the late Barry Sollenberger and is happy to be part of this kickoff classic, the first taste of real-time action is atop the pecking order.
“If me and my friends want to play beanbags, I want to win,” Brophy coach Scooter Molander said. “If you do something, you want to do it well. It’s important and we want to win.”
Both the Broncos and Gaels have done plenty of celebrating in recent years.
Brophy won its second state title in three years last December at this same University of Phoenix Stadium, and will be featured on NBC during a pair of upcoming Sunday night NFL broadcasts.
Bishop Gorman won the 4A state title in Nevada last year, has won three of the last four Sunset Southwest league championships and has the state’s top recruit in defensive lineman Justin Chaisson (80 tackles and 23 sacks in 2007).
“They’re a talented, athletic, fast football team,” Molander said. “They do what state champs do and that’s run to the ball on defense.”
This season, however, won’t start like recent ones.
The Broncos’ defense returns virtually intact — especially the front seven — but the offensive side of the ball is virtually brand new. Two new quarterbacks (Beau Maggi and Sam Quinif) are expected to share snaps.
The backfield is unsettled in Brophy’s search for another Ray Polk, and an underappreciated offensive line from a year ago is gone.
Bishop Gorman also lost half its championship team and three all-state players, including cornerback Josh Jordan, who’s now at Arizona State.
This is the first of four out-of-state nonconference games for the Gaels, who’ll host schools from Anchorage, Alaska, and St. George, Utah, and travel to San Francisco in the following three weeks.
Though MaxPreps rates Bishop Gorman as the No. 4 school in Nevada, while Brophy is ranked No. 3 in Arizona, neither side knows what’s coming from themselves or the other. But they know this one counts, and that’s a good-enough place to begin.
“In a first game, you have to make some leaps of faith as to what you see,” Molander said. “It’s the best dress-rehearsal you can have.”