BE football team suffers playoff loss to Dillon
It just might have been Leo Albano’s final act as a member of the Bishop England High School football team.
The Bishops returned home from Dillon late Friday night after being on the wrong side of a 43-12 Class AAA playoff decision, and there was Albano, the last Bishop to get off the bus.
“He was sweeping the bus, making sure it was clean,” Bishop England coach John Cantey said of his talented quarterback. “It was 1 o’clock in the morning and he was the last person off the bus. It’s the type of person he is. He’s always working to make things better.”
Albano, who set numerous records as the Bishop’s signal caller, is one of 21 seniors who played in their last high school football game. The team has 40 players on the roster, and the depth chart includes 10 seniors on defense and nine seniors on offense, so the 2018 Bishop England team will be quite different than this year’s edition, which posted a 7-5 record and finished second in Region 8-AAA.
The roster transition will change work habits for the Bishops. They usually begin preparing for the upcoming season around Jan. 1, but Cantey is moving the schedule up to mid-December.
“It’s a situation where the players have to step up and own their position,” Cantey said. “We will have enough players to platoon next year. The key is working hard and taking ownership of their positions.”
Dillon, 12-0, advanced to play Gilbert, another team with a perfect record, in the next round.
The Wildcats used a balanced attack to top the Bishops. Jalian Williams rushed for 220 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns, while quarterback Jay Lester passed for 150 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 98 yards.
Albano accounted for both of the Bishops’ touchdowns. He completed a 45-yard touchdown pass to Chris Dengler and scored on a 2-yard run. The Bishops trailed 24-12, but Albano threw two interceptions that led to two touchdowns as Dillon put the game away.
Cantey said Albano is the best player he’s ever coached.
“I remember Derek Hughes, and he was a great player,” Cantey said of Hughes, who was the school’s only Parade All-American, earning the honor in the late 1970s. “Leo might not be as good an athlete, but he’s just as good as a football player.”
The battle to replace Albano at quarterback should be interesting. Will Daniel was second string on the varsity, and he should have plenty of competition from a couple of players who were on the junior varsity team this fall: John Whelan and Ed Marinaro.
Marinaro is the son of Ed Marinaro, who played at Cornell University. He set 16 NCAA records and was the first running back in NCAA history to rush for 4,000 yards in a career. He finished second to Auburn quarterback Pat Sullivan in the 1971 Heisman Trophy race.
The Bishops also must replace talented running back Christian Greavu and rebuild the offensive line.