The Bishop Broncos scored their fourth shutout in a row, 49-0, Friday night against the Rosamond Roadrunners, unofficially clinching the High Desert League championship.
With four of the six-school league cannibalizing each other into 2-2 seasons, the win secured the championship for the Broncos with one game remaining, against the Desert Scorpions, in the regular season.
Coach Bill Egan may be the only person in Bishop not speculating on the post-season playoffs. Heâs still waiting until after the Desert game, Thursday, Nov. 10.
The Broncos are ranked number one in the CIF Northeast Division.
âDesert has a good defense, probably the second best in league,â he said. âTheyâll be a challenge.â
In terms of that first round of playoffs, âit doesnât matter,â he said, âwe just have to play well. I donât have any control (over the seeding) just over how hard the kids work. In CIF, you either win or you donât.â In the meantime, Egan and the team will work on mistakes made during the Rosamond game.
One thing learned from the Rosamond rout was the depth of the Broncos. An injury to nose guard Roman Amisone required some shuffling of the offensive line, including calling up a couple of players from the JV team.
Coming into the game with a 1-8 overall record, Rosamond probably wasnât feeling too good about their chances against the 8-1 Broncos. The first play of the game didnât help. Starting from their own 9, the Roadrunners fumbled the ball; Bronco Cody McKinley recovered it to give Bishop spectacular field position.
True to form, the Broncos cashed in on the opportunity. Quarterback Chance Callahan ran the ball straight up the middle, the point-after was good and, with just over a minute of play, the Broncos took a 7-0 lead.
A deep kick from Chris Frohreich set the Roadrunners up in the shadow of their own goal post. The defense pressured the freshman QB, Ian Bowen. After a gain of 4 yards, the Roadrunners punted the ball back to Bishop.
Starting at Rosamondâs 40, Callahan handed off to Jaime Ruelas who made a well-blocked 40-yard sprint to the end zone and Bishop went ahead 14-0.
Three downs and out, the Roadrunners punted into the wind, setting up Bishop near midfield. A 54-yard pass play from Callahan to Matt Babb put the Broncos ahead 21-0 and there was still 4:57 left in the first quarter.
Another ugly punt from the Roadrunners and Bishop started their final drive of the quarter at Rosamondâs 20. Callahan handed off to Ruelas and Bishop was ahead 28-0.
With the wind at their back, Rosamond started the second quarter with a punt. Ruelas caught the ball at the Broncosâ 33 and added 11 yards to his stats. At second and 22 on their own 38, Callahan faked a hand-off to Jerry Castillo. Castillo was pursued and hit; the referee blew the whistle, confusing a ball-carrying Callahan on his way downfield.
Callahanâs fakes have fooled defenses, broadcasters and, according to Egan, this wasnât the first time he fooled the officials. Bishop got the down back. Ryan Devore got the ball, for real, and made a 68-yard TD. Frohreich made the PAT; score: 35-0.
Rosamondâs Elijah Knod looked like he was on his way to a big gain, straight up the middle. But, he fumbled and Darren Spoonhunter made the recovery.
The first Bishop possession that didnât end in a TD, ended with a Rosamond interception. A Roadrunner fumble on the first play, and it was recovered by Keith Tatum. At first and goal, Callahan went in for his second TD and Bishop led 42-0.
The third quarter was relatively uneventful as Broncos subs settled into the game.
On Bishopâs first possession of the fourth quarter, Kyle Batchelder, in as quarterback, connected with Cy Scott for a TD. Nate Coakley hit the PAT and Bishop led 49-0.
With less than four minutes left in the game, the Roadrunners were spent. Three and out, Rosamond punted the ball away. Callahan was on the receiving end, started running and didnât stop until he reached the end zone. A penalty called back the TD but Bishop retained possession. With under two minutes left, Bishop took delay of game penalties to run out the clock.
The championship guarantees the Broncos a first round home game. The opponent will be named Sunday, Nov. 13 and the game will be played Friday, Nov. 18.