Bishops fall to Hurricanes in season debut
The First Baptist football team put up their dukes, Michel Dukes that is, Friday night against Bishop England, and the Bishops had no answer as the standout running back tallied 178 yards and three touchdowns rushing to lead the Hurricanes to a 35-7 victory.
The Hurricanes and Bishops were locked in a close encounter in the season-opener at Jack Cantey Stadium, and that’s when Dukes took over.
Dukes was relatively quiet in the first half as the Bishops held him to less than 30 yards as the visiting Hurricanes led 14-7.
But Dukes changed the complexion of the game in his next three carries.
He broke off an 82-yard TD run in the third quarter to push the lead to 21-7. The Bishops went three-and-out on their next possession. Dukes then countered with 74-yard run on his next carry to give the Hurricanes a first-and-goal at the Bishops’ 1 yard line. He scored on the next play and the defending SCISA state champs never looked back.
“We came in and did a pretty good job of containing him in the first half,” Bishop England coach John Cantey said. “He broke off those long runs and we pretty much lost our momentum.”
The Bishops also lost two key players. Quarterback Will Daniel left the game early with a broken collarbone. He is out for the remainder of the season. The Bishops offense also suffered another blow when wide receiver Chris Dengler, the team’s top returning playmaker, went down with a shoulder injury. He will miss at least two weeks, Cantey said.
It was the Bishops’ first game without standout quarterback Leo Albano, who now plays for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Albano tallied nearly 7,600 yards in his illustrious career with a good chunk of that total coming on the ground.
The Bishops also lost Christian Greavu to graduation. He tallied about 1,000 all-purpose yards last fall. The Bishops, who averaged about 200 yards rushing a game last fall, struggled against First Baptist. The Bishops rushed the ball 28 times on Friday and lost 15 yards. Daniel had the Bishops’ longest run of the night, an 11-yard effort.
Daniel’s replacement Cam Costa showed potential. He was on the run most of the game and lost 23 yards on the ground. But he managed to complete 16 of 29 passing for 183 yards and a touchdown.
Sullivan Clair led the Bishops with 11 receptions for 95 yards. Michael Long caught three passes for 56 yards, including one that covered 43 yards. Liam Breau scored the Bishops’ only touchdown on a 5-yard pass from Costa.
The Bishops have an open date this weekend and that means two weeks of preparation for a road trip to James Island. James Island dropped a 41-14 decision to West Florence in its season-opener.
Cantey said the Bishops would have to be more disciplined on defense. He plans to simplify the offense.
“We’re going cut the playbook in half,” he said. “We’re going to focus on the plays that worked and get rid of the ones that didn’t.”