By Phil Dailey
The Bishop’s School’s football team ended the regular season with a perfect record, but it was nearly an imperfect start when the season got under way only a few short months ago on the La Jolla campus.
If not for a one-handed touchdown catch from wide receiver Adam Malkiewicz in the final moments against El Capitan in the season opener, who knows, the season could have turned out much differently.
The team’s come-from-behind win, 26-21, against the Division III foe, combined with last season’s blowout loss to Francis Parker in the CIF finals, were two key ingredients in producing an undefeated campaign, and more importantly, a first-round bye and No. 1 seed in the Division V playoffs.
“The first game, we barely won in the last couple of seconds. We didn’t know how that was going to go,” quarterback Joey Moreno said. “From then on, we set our goal high to the CIF championship.
“I’m sure most people thought that they (El Capitan) were going to beat us, but we knew we could take them so we went out there. We got down in the last quarter and we just kept fighting.”
The team has been fighting ever since with 10 straight victories that include two wins over Division III opponents (El Capitan, Mar Vista) and two wins over Division IV opponents (Mission Bay and Santa Fe Christian). Not to mention a win over one of the top small schools in the state in Bishop High School, which enters the CIF-Southern Section with the No. 1 seed in its division.
The Knights are not resting on their latest accomplishment of winning the Coastal League title. If anything, they have already forgotten about that and have turned their focus to the team’s next opponent on Nov. 26, which will be either Army-Navy Academy or Holtville (will update). Despite the first-round bye, the team is already preparing for their next challenge.
For second-year head coach Joel Allen, the team’s success has been built on the leadership from their upperclassmen.
“We got nine good seniors that lead the team on and off the field and that have made a big difference,” said Allen, who is 18-5 as the coach at Bishop’s.
“I’m not a much better coach than I was last year when we were 8-5,” he added. “We can put kids in position to make plays, but in the end, the kids are ones making plays. This year, this has been a group where each game somebody different has stood out to make plays.”
That list of playmakers includes Malkiewicz and Moreno, but also running backs Alec and Austin Fisher as well as Micha Seau, who will most likely be playing Division I football next season.
But it’s not a team of individuals, rather, a team that comes together each week with one goal in mind.
“That’s the good thing about this team, we are not focused on one player,” Allen said. “Different kids are stepping up each game.”
“It’s nice cause we get a little bit of time to rest,” senior lineman Kevin Quigley said, “but we still gotta hit it hard and watch film and get ready for the next three weeks. It doesn’t matter what our record is, it’s a whole new season now.”