Bishops win first game at the Class AAA level, top Christ Church

The Bishop England football team handed Christ Church a rare loss Friday night, using a formula very similar to the one that has made the Bishops a Lower State power this decade.

Quarterback Leo Albano rushed for 181 yards and three touchdowns to lead the visiting Bishops past the Cavaliers in the season-opener for both teams.

All total, the Bishops churned for 451 yards on the ground to defeat Christ Church, a team that is making the adjustment from Class A to AA. The Bishops’ victory at Carson Stadium ended Christ Church’s 38-regular-season winning streak at home.

“I was pleased with the effort,” Bishop England coach John Cantey said. “From a logistical standpoint, the trip was a hassle. We had to get off (Interstate) 26 because there was an overturned truck. That made a long trip even longer.”

The Bishops, playing in their first game at the Class AAA level, topped the Cavaliers, a team that has been dominant in the Upstate. The Cavaliers won four straight state championships from 2012-15 and had a 55-game winning streak that ended last year.

Albano added 80 yards passing with another TD in the air as the Bishops outgained Christ Church 531-234. Running back Ian Butler also had a big game for the Bishops, with 97 yards on only five carries.

The Bishops trailed 21-14 entering the final quarter, but that’s when Albano went to work. He scored three TDs in the deciding 12 minutes. He raced 51 yards for a score.

He also scored on a pair of 3-yard runs in the 4th quarter, including one that was set up by a perfectly executed onside kick.

“We’ve been preaching to the kids that our offense has the potential to wear down a team,” Cantey said. “What we didn’t preach or expect is the way Chris Church handled us in the third quarter. “But our guys were resilient when we needed it. They could have packed it up, but we didn’t quit.”

The Bishops return to Cantey Stadium Friday night to host West Ashley, one of the better bigger schools in the Lowcountry.

West Ashley features one of the top running backs in the state in Dexter Freeman, and is coming off a 46-14 victory over Colleton County.

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