BE football team misses out on regional title, but starts state playoffs Friday

The Bishop England High School football team entered Friday’s regular season finale with a high-octane offense and a chance to win an elusive region championship.

After 48 minutes of football against Timberland, the offense was missing in action and that region championship will have to wait until another year.

Timberland topped the Bishops 28-6 to capture the Region 7-AAA title. The Wolves went 7-3 in the regular season, including 4-0 in league play. Bishop England finished with a 6-3 record, including 3-1 in league play.

The Bishops entered the game averaging 431 in total offense per game and were scoring almost 39 points per contest. But the Bishops managed just one touchdown and only 102 yards in total offense.

“I think the defense played great,” Bishop England coach John Cantey said. “We were down 14-6 at halftime, and it was 14-6 late in the game during the fourth quarter. But our offense struggled. They are strong and quick. Their defensive line took it to us. We struggled to move the ball.”

Timberland, like every other team that played Bishop England, focused on shutting down big-play threat quarterback Leo Albano. But unlike most teams, the Wolves actually succeeded. Albano entered the showdown with 2,243 total yards. But he found yardage at a premium as the Wolves held him to a net of 2 yards on 15 carries, while he managed to complete only 3 of 22 passing for 29 yards.

Timberland took a 7-0 lead when quarterback Jaquez Mitchell scored on a 1-yard run to cap the 69-yard drive.

The Bishops cut the lead to 7-6 when Albano scored on a 1-yard run. But the PAT failed.

The Wolves pushed the lead to 14-6 when Johnson Thomas scored on a 4-yard TD run.

The Bishops had a chance to make it a game, but a drive into Timberland territory died. The Wolves punched two more touchdowns in to settle the issue as Roger Gibbs scored on runs of 56 and 14 yards.

The Bishops will host Battery Creek in the first round of the playoffs. The Bishops, who are seeking their first state title since 2012 and third in school history, host Battery Creek at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Jack Cantey Stadium.

Battery Creek is 4-5 and finished third in Region 8-AAA. The Dolphins enter with a two-game winning streak. They average 19.6 points on offense and surrender 26.7 points on defense.

“The look athletic,” Cantey said. “Their quarterback is fast and they like to feature him. We scrimmaged them early in the year and they look a lot better than when we played them.”

The two schools have played 12 times and the Bishops own eight victories over the Dolphins. The Bishops posted convincing wins from 2012-15 and have not lost to the Dolphins since 1997 when the Bishops were on the wrong end of a 42-6 decision.

“We have to play mistake free football,” Cantey said. “Playing at home and not having to travel two hours is huge. But quality is what matters. We have to eliminate mistakes and play quality football.”

Timberland, the region champ, hosts May River in the first round. Hanahan, which finished third in Region 7-AAA, travels to Bluffton.

Daniel Island Publishing

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