This movie theater marquee says it all … the Broncos posted a blockbuster-sized win over the Pasadena Poly Panthers Friday night. (Photo: Geisel)
UPDATE: Please note that the game on Dec. 11 kicks off at 6 p.m., not 7:30 as previously reported.
Between the city’s official tree lighting ceremony and the Street of Lights holiday shopping event on Friday, Dec. 3, Bishop residents had to spread themselves around. Those were both well attended events, but there was one other event that night that drew a much larger crowd: the Bishop High School Broncos were playing the semi-final round of the CIF Southern Football Playoffs.
The Broncos took to the gridiron at John Schwab Field before packed grandstands and standing room only spectators to take on the visiting Pasadena Polytechnic Panthers, who enjoyed their visit to the Eastern Sierra’s slice of Americana … except for their 44-14 loss to the Broncos.
“Go Broncos” signs dotted the storefronts along Bishop’s Main Street, and many of those who couldn’t attend the game were decked out in Broncos logo wear, and watched the game on T.V. or listened to it on the radio.
“Everything around the game was fun,” Poly Coach Brendan McGrail told the Pasadena Star News. “We have not played in that type of atmosphere, but it was not the crowd that affected us, it was their team that affected us. It was how well they played. It was a fun experience, but a disappointing outcome.”
Marching 60 yards in four plays, Chance Callahan ran in from 32 yards to set up the first 7 points of the game. Pasadena answered that touchdown with Panther receiver Jack Porter pulling down a 48-yard pass that evened things up at 7-7, at least until top-seeded Bishop pulled away and put up 30 consecutive points.
The Panthers defense had a hard time containing the Broncos offense, which pulled off some impressive plays, such as turning a second down and 26 into a first down at the Panthers’ 15-yard line. After the Panthers tied things up, running back Kiko Gonzalez took a pitch up the left side for a 62-yard touchdown to give Bishop the lead again. The Broncos held a 17-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, and were up 27-7 at the half.
Callahan, who had a game-high 139 yards, and Gonzalez, who went on to rack up 103 yards, collectively logged 59 yards on Bishop’s opening possession of the second half. Cody Rigney hit a pair of 24-yard field goals, and another 33-yard attempt, with one kick falling short and another blocked.
In other Broncos action, Kyle Goin scored on a 13-yard run and the Broncos scored their 30th consecutive point when Aaron Puls ran seven yards to score after Callahan threw a 38-yard pass to Rigney to put the Broncos in easy striking distance of the end zone.
Panther highlights included 37- and 13-yard passes from quarterback Hunter Merryman to Jonah Campbell and a 14-yard run by Blake Edwards, who was held to 59 yards. Merryman scored on a 5-yard run.
The stats tell a lot of the story. Bishop posted 535 total yards, of which 401 came on the ground, the result of an effective running game that made good use of the shotgun. The Panthers, on the other hand, only banked 217 yards, including 96 rushing.
“We had a hard time stopping them,” McGrail told the Star News. “We were down 27-7 at the half and tried to hang on. They played very well. They are very physical. We had trouble slowing them down. It was tough giving up 44 points.”
The 44 points were the most the Panthers have given up this season. Conversely, the win marked the fifth consecutive victory in which Bishop scored 40 or more points. In fact, the Broncos haven’t scored fewer than 30 points per game all season, except in their 21-10 loss to La Jolla on Oct. 8. The Broncos will have home field advantage when they square off against the Boron Bobcats, which beat Vasquez 18-7 this past Saturday night, in the CIF Southern finals on Saturday, Dec. 11, at 6 p.m. –Additional sources: Pasadena Star News, Max Preps, BUHS