The days are shorter; nights, cooler; the thump of shoulder pad to shoulder pad echoes up and down the valley. The high school football season officially begins this Friday. It’s about time.
“I’m happy the season is starting,” said Coach Bill Egan. “I’m tired of practicing.”
The Bishop Broncos played their traditional preseason scrimmage last weekend against the Boron Bobcats, and kick-off against the Whittier Christian Heralds this Friday at John Schwab Field at 7 p.m.
Egan’s squad is relatively young, but the coach liked what he saw last weekend and is impressed with his Broncos’ spirit. “They’re pro-team,” he said in a phone interview last Sunday. Then he ran through his list of players:
Junior quarterback Ryan Graves was a dual threat last year with 849 passing yards and 450 on the ground. He’s taller, stronger and faster this year, according to Egan. Graves’ back-up, Izaak Morgenstein, is up from JV where he logged 10 TDs, six rushing. “He’s got good football sense,” Egan said. Morgenstein will also see action as a receiver.
Senior running back Logan Stephenson tore up the field last year with five TDs and some spectacular, clutch plays. He’ll be joined by sophomores Mike Molina and Moran West. West ran for five TDs in his freshman season; Molina averaged 7.4 yards per carry.
The Broncos had a stellar line last year and Egan predicted that this year’s starters Ryan Rennie and Brandon Forrest will have a good year fending off opponents’ defenses. He’s also anticipating good things on both sides of the ball from Anthony Miller, Tony Marques, Angel Santana and Sean Brown. Speedster Austin Jones is also coming on strong as a defensive back.
That only leaves Hunter Kampmoyer, a one-man wrecking ball last year with 109 tackles (second only to Desmond Frank’s 114) and 12 sacks. Egan calls Kampmoyer a “force on defense,” but he also racked up seven TDs, five rushing and two receiving. The 6-foot, 4-inch senior will have a target on his back this year, but that shouldn’t pose too much of a problem. “We plan on moving the ball around a lot,” Egan said.
So what about the competition? Bishop beat Whittier Christian in its season opener last year, by a forfeit. The Heralds didn’t have an impressive 14-15 season, on paper, but, according to Egan, they play a tough schedule and have a good quarterback. The following Friday, Bishop crosses the border to Yerington taking on the 2014-15 Nevada State Division Champion Lions. Of course, the Mammoth Huskies will try to avenge last year’s 50-0 loss to Bishop, but this time on home turf September 11. Bishop got edged out in the final quarter by the Arrowhead Christian Eagles last year and will have a chance to get even September 18.
The Broncos fell to Paraclete and Sierra Canyon last year in pre-league, but the tide of high school football may flow in Bishop’s direction this year. The Paraclete game was a rout; Sierra Canyon beat Bishop by one TD. “There are always changes in who’s a force,” Egan said.
Then there’s the High Desert League. Bishop came in second to the Kern Valley Broncs the last two seasons, but KV has lost its powerful QB Dalton Gallis to graduation. While Rosamond and Cal City both showed improvement last year, Egan still sees this year’s league action coming down to the traditional Bishop/Kern Valley shoot out. Bishop will have home field advantage for that one on November 6, the final game of the regular season.