Bishop England 42, Silver Bluff 7
PETTICOAT JUNCTION — Two teams ran the Wing-T offense in the Class AA, Division II Lower State championship game on Friday night.
One just ran it better, as Bishop England (12-1) racked up 375 rushing yards in a 42-7 victory over host Silver Bluff (11-2), which had only 89 yards on the ground.
Silver Bluff head coach Al Lown said the Battling Bishops executed better than the Bulldogs did.
“They just played better than we did,” Lown said.
He added that, because of injuries to starters like Gyasi Yeldell and Tyler Fishalow, his team was young but said that the youth didn't hurt the Bulldogs as much as it could have.
“Our young kids played pretty good, I thought, for the most part,” Lown said.
The Bishops started early, scoring on their first possession that ate up almost seven minutes of the first quarter and was capped by an 11-yard touchdown run by Nick Shiver.
After forcing a three-and-out, the visitors got back to work and converted a fourth-and-1 on the Silver Bluff 31-yard line en route to a 2-yard scoring run by quarterback Kevin Herbst. That gave the Bishops a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter, but the home team went on a drive of its own and looked prepared to answer after converting a fourth-and-1 on the Bishop England 14-yard line.
The drive came to a halt on a turnover on downs at the Bishops' 3-yard line, and DeAngelo Stephenson punished the Bulldogs with a 92-yard touchdown run to give Bishop England a three-score lead.
Quarterback Jalen Jackson led the home team on a scoring drive that ended with a 32-yard pass from Jackson to Jaylen Lawrence to cut the lead to 21-7. The senior signal caller completed all five pass attempts in the first half for 105 yards, but Lown said too many passing situations became the Bulldogs' undoing.
“We can't let people stop us from running the ball, and that happened too much here in the last month or so,” he said.
The situation got more dire for the Bulldogs after halftime, even though they got the ball to start the second half. Jackson fumbled the exchange from center, and the ball was recovered by the Bishops' Chandler Sambets.
Less than 2 minutes into the third quarter, Herbst found paydirt again on a 20-yard run to give the visitors a 28-7 lead, and the senior finished the game with 61 yards and two scores on 16 carries. The Bishops forced a three-and-out and dodged a bullet when they recovered their own fumble on the punt.
Silver Bluff appeared to steal the momentum anyway by forcing the first Bishop England punt of the night midway through the third quarter, but Jackson fumbled again on a sack. This time, it was Griffie Loy that made the home team pay with a 9-yard run to give the Bishops a 35-7 lead.
Stephenson rounded out the night's scoring with a 57-yard run with less than a minute left in the third quarter, and his effort turned out to be more than enough to sink the No. 1 team in the state. The senior accumulated 239 yards on 15 rushes for the Bishops, as the state's No. 3 team only attempted one pass – a 7-yard completion – in the victory.
Junior Shaquez Wright was the Bulldogs' leading rusher with 48 yards on 14 carries, and Jackson completed 9 of 14 passes for 126 yards, a touchdown and a late interception with his team down several scores. McKenzie Wilson was Jackson's main target, catching four passes for 53 yards.
Lown said that he was impressed with his team's efforts all year, particularly the young players that were called upon late in the season. Still, the night's result showed that there are improvements to be made for the Bulldogs to get where they want to be in the coming years.
“We started three freshmen in the middle of the line at linebacker and at nose guard, so we got a lot to look forward to,” he said. “But we got to get better, there's no doubt about it. That wasn't good enough tonight.”
While the Bulldogs' season has come to an end, the Bishops will play Abbeville (12-2) for the Class AA, Division II state title at Benedict College in Columbia next Friday at 8:30 p.m.
Jeremy Timmerman has been at the Aiken Standard since June 2010.
BE 7 14 21 0 – 42
Sb 0 7 0 0 – 7
BE-Nick Shiver 11 run (Drew Costa kick) 5:06.
BE-Kevin Herbst 2 run (Costa kick) 10:36.
BE-DeAngelo Stephenson 92 run (Costa kick) 4:35.
SB-Jalen Jackson 32 pass to Jaylen Lawrence (Pedro Zambrano kick) 1:29
BE-Herbst 20 run (Costa kick) 10:09.
BE-Griffie Loy 9 run (Costa kick) 5:08.
BE-Stephenson 57 run (Costa kick) :48.9
BE-Herbst 16-61-2TD, Stephenson 15-239-2TD, Loy 7-21-1TD, Shiver 3-24-1TD, Nick Theos 6-25, Nick Tezza 3-3, Weston Marvin 1-2. Totals 51-375-6TD.
SB-Myles Corbitt 5-13, Shaquez Wright 14-48, RJ Stallings 3-6, Ladarise Williams 3-25, Jackson 4-(-9), Team 1-6. Totals 30-89.
BE-KB Blanchard 1-7.
SB-McKenzie Wilson 4-53, Wright 2-24, Stallings 1-6, Lawrence 2-43-1TD.
BE-Reed Fosberry 1-43.