Bishop High’s undefeated season came to an end Friday night as the Bishop’s Knights checkmated the Broncos in La Jolla. The final score: 10-21.
“We didn’t play that well,” said coach Bill Egan. “They just had a better team. The Knights weren’t any bigger, they weren’t any more physical. We just got out-blocked and out-tackled.”
The Broncos were in the game to the end and played a closer contest than the score reflected. “We weren’t dominated,” said Egan. “If we’d had some breaks go differently, we could’ve won it.”
The first quarter was a defensive battle. On Bishop’s first possession at their own 18-yard line, it was three downs and out with a pressured Cody Rigney punt to mid-field. Chance Callahan, still sore from an injury during last Friday’s win over the Huskies, and Kiko Gonzalez shared quarterback duties for the Broncos.
The Knights ate up eons on the clock but could not take advantage of the good field position. Under pressure from the Broncos’ defense, QB Joey Moreno made a series of incomplete passes with one completed to 6’6” wide receiver Adam Malkiewicz. Micha Seau, in as fullback for an injured Knight, carried the ball for small gains. Thanks to pivotal tackles by Gonzalez, Alec Simpson, Ermilio Arias and Steve Orihuela, the Broncos contained the strong Knights offensive, forcing a 4th and 8 turnover on their own 30.
The Knights returned the favor, holding the Broncos to short gains on their 40-yard drive. Finally containing Arias on a power move at 4th and 1, the Knights regained possession, in their own territory.
Again, the defense stalled the Knights’ progress to mid-field by the end of the first quarter.
Early in the second quarter, the Knights sent in their punting team on 4th down. Unfortunately, Bishop’s special team was one man too many. The 5-yard penalty gave the Knights their first down. Seau blasted through the middle at 3rd and 3 for the Knights’ first TD.
Callahan drove the Broncos from their own 20 deep into Knights territory, the line giving him time to find his open man, a series of fakes confusing the La Jolla team’s defense. A pass to Aaron Puls was batted down inside the 10. Rigney’s 25-yard field goal put the Broncos on the boards within striking distance of the Knights at 3-7.
The final 4:37 of the second quarter was a battle of defensive titans with the Broncos sticking to the Knights’ wide receivers like Velcro and Arias battering away at Seau. At the same time, the Knights began to figure out Bishop’s fake hand-offs and to pressure Callahan.
The Knights came on strong after half-time, ending with a 5-yard Seau run for a 3-14 lead. After two short-lived Broncos possessions, the Knights, again, went on a 97-yard attack. Alec Fisher’s 57-yard touchdown run brought the Broncos’ deficit to 18.
Now it was the Broncos’ turn. The penalty flags flew on the kick-off return. Off-setting penalties called for a do-over. This time, Jaime Ruelas took the ball on a 30-yard sprint, giving the Broncos decent field possession. A Gonzalez pass to Simpson put the Broncos in Knights territory by the start of the final quarter. A well-blocked Gonzalez run put Bishop at the Knights’ 24-yard line. A Knights’ penalty gave Bishop 1st and goal on the 9. Puls ran the ball into the end zone, closing the scoring gap at 10-21.
Both teams’ defenses held their ground. With just under 5 minutes on the clock, the Knights proved to be their own worst enemy with a holding and two delay-of-game penalties moving the ball from the Broncos’ 16 to near mid-field and forcing a punt on 4th and 36.
At 4th and goal with less than 30 seconds on the clock, the Broncos could not capitalize on the field position and turned the ball over to the Knights for the last time.
“We came in confident,” said Egan, “confidence is a good thing. We certainly didn’t expect the Knights to roll over. The game was good for us in the long run. Rim of the World was the only other big school team we’ve played. Now we’re battle ready going into League play. I’m happy with where we are.”
The Broncos meet 3-2 California City this Friday for Homecoming.