High School Football Preview: Bishops retool with smaller team for new season
Bishop England High School football coach John Cantey crunched the roster numbers for the 2019 season and knows depth will be a critical issue as the Bishops try to rebound from a 3-7 record last fall.
“One of the biggest surprises is we have only 33 players on the varsity roster,” Cantey said. “Traditionally, we have about 42 players on the team. Having only 33 players can make practice difficult. Yesterday, we had 22 players going against each other (on offense and defense). That left only 11 players for special teams and backups. We’ve never dressed less than 40 players since I’ve been here.”
The team must avoid injury and illness during a rugged 10-game regular season schedule. That’s something the Bishops were unable to do in 2018. There were the traditional bumps and bruises associated with football, and Cantey himself missed a good portion of the season with health issues.
The small roster number means a handful of Bishops will play on both sides of the ball, including some of the Bishops skilled, perimeter players. That means DB-RB Sullivan Clair, DB-RB Charlie Michel, DB-RB Jarren McCoy, and Michael Long are expected to play both ways this season. Cantey hinted one or two linemen might also be called on for double duty.
Some pieces of the puzzle are in place now as the Bishops prep for their season-opener against Baptist Hill on Aug. 30. Senior Cam Costa and sophomore Eddie Marinaro were locked in a battle for the starting quarterback position entering fall camp and the more experienced Costa won the starting job. Marinaro will be the backup and will see time as a wide receiver and running back.
Costa has the stronger arm of the two players, while Marinaro is the better runner. Last season, Costa completed 51-of-111 passing for 592 yards and four TDs, compared to Marinaro’s 35-of-80 for 604 yards and eight TDs. Marinaro led the Bishops with 602 yards rushing on 156 carries.
Cantey begins his 12th year as the Bishops’ head coach and 23rd season overall. He owns an 81-47-0 record during his tenure as BE’s head coach, and led the Bishops to state titles in 2011 and ’12, as the team rolled to a combined 26 victories in 28 games.
Last year, the Bishops had to deal with heavy graduation losses and the inexperience showed as the Bishops suffered only their third losing season during Cantey’s time at the helm. The inexperience was evident when the team played away from Jack Cantey Stadium. The Bishops were 0-6 on the road.
The Bishops also should have a better line this season after pretty much having to retool the entire team after losing 22 seniors from the 2017 roster.
“The experience on this year’s line should really help,” Cantey said. “We talked about it as coaches during spring ball, and the difference is like night and day.”
The defense, which surrendered 29.7 points per game last fall, should be much improved as well. Linebacker should be a strength as Drew Owens and Sammy Gress lead the corps.
BISHOP ENGLAND FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Aug. 30 @ Baptist Hill
Sept. 6 James Island
Sept. 13 @ Philip Simmons
Sept. 20 @ Timberland
Sept. 27 Woodland
Oct. 4 Hanahan
Oct. 11 @ Waccamaw
Oct. 18 @ Academic Magnet
Oct. 25 Georgetown (Homecoming)
Nov. 1 Manning (Senior Night)
For more information, visit https://www.behs.com/football-varsity/.