When Mike David took over as the head football coach at The Bishop's School two years ago, he entered with high expectations. Still, he might not have thought he would achieve so many of his dreams so quickly. David found himself on the sidelines at Qualcomm Stadium on Dec. 7, getting a Gatorade bath as the final seconds ticked off the Knights' 17-7 victory over Christian in the CIF-San Diego Section Division V championship game. He said winning the section title game only confirmed his belief that he could accomplish great things with the Knights.
"I'm just real happy for our team - we have a great group of kids," David said. "The kids worked really hard, and it's nice to have that opportunity and to come through like that. It was a great feeling because Christian is an incredible team, and to beat them in the stadium was a great accomplishment."
With their win in the championship game, the Knights capped a perfect 12-0 season. They cruised through the regular season, with their closest game being an 11-point victory over Francis Parker in the season finale. After earning a first-round buy in the playoffs, the Knights steamrolled Vincent Memorial of Calexico, 47-13, in the quarterfinals round, and then battled Horizon Christian for a 63-45 win in the semifinals.
They played their best, though, when the most was on the line and they were on the biggest stage. Against Christian, the Knights led, 3-0, after a Tim Costello field goal in the second quarter, but fell behind when Christian's Lawrence Walker barreled in for a 6-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
The Knights answered quickly, with a 2-yard Costello scoring run later in the quarter. And they added a measure of insurance with Micah Seau's 2-yard touchdown reception from Tommy Wornham in the fourth quarter.
Costello and Mike P. Jensen each rushed for 27 yards, but Jacob Kelly carried the load for the Knights with 63 yards on 16 carries. The Knights were forced to rely on the running game, as the Patriots shut down the passing game – Wornham completed just five of his 15 passes for only 45 yards. Costello caught two passes for 22 yards, and Seau had two catches for 16 yards.
Costello, a 5-foot, 10-inch, 185-pound senior, did it all for the Knights, running the ball, catching the ball, anchoring the defensive backfield and handling all the kicking and punting duties.
"He's been doing that all year," David said. "Whenever we've had a need and asked him to step in, he has gone above and beyond what we expect. He just had a great day in the championship game. It wasn't a surprise - we've kind of come to expect that from Tim. What a great performance he had."
During its perfect season, Bishop's scored an average of 44 points and allowed just slightly more than nine points per game. While their offense was slowed significantly by Christian, the Knights earned their championship-game victory with defensive play.
They limited Walker, one of the top backs in Division V, to 100 yards and one score on 21 attempts. Christian's quarterback, Erick Allen, completed 11-of-20 passes for 159 yards, but did not hurt the Knights. "When we were down in the third quarter, we immediately answered," David said. "Our kids never gave in to any adversity, and we had quite a bit of adversity throughout the season with injuries."
David said he was never worried about whether his team would be overwhelmed by playing in the home of the San Diego Chargers and the San Diego State Aztecs on championship Friday at Qualcomm.
"There's no doubt that it's a great venue for the championship games - I'm proud of our kids that we were able to put our focus on the field," David said. "We were totally looking at our opponents and not worried about where we were playing. A lot of times, teams get caught up in all the extra stuff, but I felt like our team was really focused on the day."
He said he knew he was putting himself in a good position when he took the job at Bishop's, but the situation exceeded his expectations. "When I first got to Bishop's, I knew we definitely had some good talent, and I saw the work ethic of our players," David said. "I knew that our team could do pretty well. It's a great feeling. I'm really happy for our kids that they've had the opportunity to play in Qualcomm Stadium and come out with a victory over another 11-0 team. Those kinds of things just don't happen in life. We have to really appreciate it, and we're truly thankful."