The Bishop England High School football team finished third in Region 8-AAA play and posted a gutsy victory over a budding rival.
But the Battling Bishops played their last game of the season Friday night, posting a 14-7 victory over Philip Simmons Friday at Jack Cantey Stadium.
The Bishops finished 4-3 overall and 3-2 in league play. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the High School League shortened the regular-season and shrank the playoff field, from 32 to 16. That’s why the Bishops are sitting on the outside, looking in.
How many days until 2021?
“You couldn’t grasp what it was like,” Bishop England coach John Cantey said when reflecting on a season that might be best remembered as the pandemic season. “There were so many things going on (because of the virus). But we were able to end on a high note.”
Philip Simmons closed out the regular season with a 3-3 record. But the Iron Horses lived for another day. The Iron Horses qualified for the Class AA playoffs for the second consecutive year by finishing second in league play. They will travel to play Pelion Friday night.
It was a game that was physical and emotional, two key ingredients in a rivalry.
Philip Simmons took a 7-0 lead in the second quarter on a Peyton Woolridge scored on a run, and it remained that way until the Bishops challenged the PSHS defensive line by running the football.
And, the mission was accomplished.
Senior classmates Michael Long and Eddie Marinaro provided the heroics and touchdowns as the Bishops’ offense got on track early in the fourth quarter.
The Bishops marched the ball about 70 yards on its first scoring drive with the quarterback Marinaro scoring on a run. With less than three minutes left in the game, the Bishops started at the Iron Horse 45 and Long capped the drive with a TD run.
Marinaro completed only 5 of 11 in the air for 83 yards. But on this night, the Bishops relied on the run. Marinaro carried 17 times for 121 yards and a score. Long tallied 86 hard-earned yards on 16 carries.
Cantey told the 21 seniors he enjoyed working with them and noted the hard work in the weight room and the classroom.
“They still have a lot of greatness in them,” he said.
Cantey singled out Marinaro and Long as the hardest workers on the team.
“It shows on the field,” the coach said.
The Bishops held the Iron Horses to 296 yards. Running back Woolridge accounted for the bulk of the yards with 15 carries for 176 yards. He dazzled the crowd with a 38-yard run.
PSHS quarterback Drew Tripp passed for 110 yards, completing 11 of 22. Will Ramey was his favorite target with seven catches for 50 yards.
Tyler Harper led the Iron Horse defense with 12 tackles, including nine solo stops. He was credited with a tackle for a loss and was in on a sack. Hunter Ramey also was a force with 10 tackles, including six solo stops.