Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton didn't open its season with a cupcake, instead it went up against Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman - another national powerhouse - and Tyler Johnstone said the 24-17 win was not only big for the team's confidence but it'll help Hamilton gain even more national notoriety.
"It will do a lot for us nationally especially if Gorman wins their next couple games," said Johnstone, an Oregon commit. "Nationally, it keeps us in the limelight and we're definitely on the rise. It's huge for that. It's big for our confidence."
Johnstone, a 6-foot-6, 260-pound three-star prospect, is Hamilton's starting left tackle and four-star Texas commit Christian Westerman is the right tackle. Both had their hands full against Southern Cal pledge Jalen Grimble, a four-star recruit who bounced back and forth between the two all night.
"It kind of switched because Grimble went on the strong-side for the most part," Johnstone said. "He went weak-side a couple times so we were on him about the same, maybe me a little bit more.
"It was a challenge but to be honest Christian didn't have any trouble with him at all and he got me really bad a couple times but I messed up my assignment and didn't step the right way both times. He was able to beat me to the outside because I did something stupid. There weren't really too many issues with him at the end."
One of the stars for Bishop Gorman in a losing effort was junior running back Shaquille Powell, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound recruit, who finished with 197 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries. He was Gorman's go-to player all night and Johnstone said Powell is a tough back to handle, especially for an underclassman.
"He had a few breakaways in the game," Johnstone said. "They didn't have a lot of passing yards and it was Shaquille Powell for them all game.
"I was pretty impressed. The one thing I noticed was he read blocks really well. That was his strong point. He was a pretty darn good runner especially being a junior. His strong point is that he can read blocks well and go off his blocker's back side. He was really good at that."
Hamilton's next big contest comes Oct. 1 when it visits Chandler, Ariz., which features four-star quarterback Brett Hundley, who's close to making a decision between UCLA and Washington.
Bishop Gorman hosts Loomis (Calif.) Del Oro Saturday night. The Gaels visit powerhouse Concord (Calif.) De La Salle on Sept. 25.