In talking to Mountain Pointe coach Norris Vaughan and his counterpart at Bishop Gorman, Tony Sanchez, this week I started to get an idea of some of the details of the Sollenberger Classic.
It should be a pretty special few days in August.
The Pride, which will be staying at Palace Station just off the Vegas strip, is heading up on Wednesday, Aug. 21 and will practice Wednesday and Thursday at another local high school in order to “keep it as normal” as possible before playing at Bishop Gorman on Friday.
The game is being treated like a bowl game in some ways as on Thursday the four teams – Tucson Salpointe Catholic will play Liberty of Las Vegas on Saturday – will get together for a banquet on Thursday night at the banquet hall at Bishop Gorman’s athletic facility.
The seating at the tables will alternate between players from the four teams so they have can mingle a little bit and to get to know each other.
I can already see Pride lineman Natrell Curtis being the hit of the function.
He has a great personality, there’s food involved and loves to be the center of attention so I am guessing he will be in rare form on this night.
Sanchez said the game day atmosphere will be phenomenal, but added they are going to do their best to not turn it into a home game, even through the Gaels are playing in the comfort of Fertitta Field.
“We will keep some of the production like the pregame video and smoke behind, but it is still one of the best high school football stadiums in the country,” he said. “It will be raucous and loud. The people of Phoenix who come to the game will be in for a great show.”
Sounds like it.
Both teams enter the game with high expectations but not the luxury of having a scrimmage.
Bishop Gorman, which begins practice on Friday, has won four straight Nevada big-school state titles and begin the year in the top 25 of most of the preseason national rankings behind at least six Division I recruits like lineman Nick Gates, tight end Alize Jones, lineman Zack Singer and first-year quarterback Randall Cunningham, Jr.
The Pride are led by top recruits Jalen Brown, Dominique Fenstermacher and Curtis, but have plenty of other big-time player ready to keep last year’s run to the state title the minimum expectation.
It should lead to one heck of a season opener and be sure to check back for coverage leading up to the game and during the game from Las Vegas.
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