It’s high school football rivalry week on Daniel Island as Bishop England travels to Philip Simmons to settle some Friday Night Lights bragging rights.
The teams enter the 7:30 p.m. showdown at the opposite ends of the success spectrum. Philip Simmons is having its best season ever, albeit the school has a short history. The Iron Horses are 3-0 for the first time in their history and have outscored their opponents 111-14. Bishop England, on the other hand, is 0-3 and has been outscored 63-19 so far in the 2021 season.
Philip Simmons coach Eric Bendig used BE as a one of the models that his team wanted to emulate when he was named coach. The Bishops might not have a victory this season but they do have his respect.
“It’s the first thing we talked about when we had our team meeting today,” Bendig said Sunday night. “Throw that record out the window. If you have Bishop England on the schedule and you’re not ready to play, you will lose.”
“Not only are they our rival, but they have played three quality opponents: Ashley Ridge, a tough Class AAAAA team, James Island, which is Class AAAA and Porter-Gaud, one of the better SCISA (S.C. Independent School Association) teams around,” Bendig added. “They are the best 0-3 team in the state. You can’t take them lightly. We have a chance to achieve a goal the day I was named coach and that’s beat Bishop England.”
The Iron Horses defeated Military Magnet 46-0 Friday night and are winning with style points. They are 3-0 for the first time in the school’s history and the 46 points are a single-game scoring record. The shutout? It was the second in Iron Horse history.
“These first three games, just like I drew them up on the board,” Bendig said with a laugh. “I’m so proud of my guys and the (coaching) staff. They have responded to the challenges. They put in the work in the winter and this summer, and you can see the results.”
Bishop England enters the clash with a 3-0 record against the Iron Horses. They posted a 14-7 victory last fall and have outscored the Iron Horses 73-30 in the three games.
But the Bishops struggled to get out of the gate this fall because the team was quarantined for the first 10 days of fall camp because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Coach John Cantey had to retool the skill positions on offense including quarterback and running back.
That and injuries have slowed the Bishops, who dropped a 23-16 decision to James Island Friday. The Bishops finally scored a touchdown in the second quarter against the Trojans to end a 13-quarter touchdown shutout.
Bendig expects the Bishops to be ready.
“Our kids know their kids and when that’s the case anything can happen,” Bendig said.
Both teams conclude the non-region portion of their schedule next week. Bishop England will play at Timberland, while Philip Simmons travels to Hanahan.