Coach Tom Crawford’s change of heart in the closing seconds of the first half set the stage for Saturday night’s unforgettable moment a 74-yard touchdown romp by Bishop’s Eli Orosco producing the Cardinals first score and even with visiting Paraclete High School.
A first quarter, first possession march by the undefeated Paraclete High School Spirits revealed an efficient, aggressive running attack, ending in a three-yard touchdown by Jerry Kelly. The rest of the half was dominated, but without a score, by the Lancaster team. The half seemingly belonged to the visitors.
Instead of a planned running play, Crawford had Cardinal quarterback Christian Winnewisser dump a short-side, left-screen pass better suited for the closing seconds of the half. The quick toss to Orosco lead to an immediate slam by a Paraclete defender, but no sack. A bounce, and five quick steps into another solid hit. Again, a bounce and re-start, and the play proceeded for ten more yards until the last Paraclete defender delivered a hard shot and grab. Orosco’s last shrug left him untouched for the final 35 yards of the 74 yard TD. The extra point was blocked and the score even at 6-6.
No team created advantage until mid-third quarter. Sparked by a holding penalty at the beginning, and aided by a pass interference at the end Bishop’s second and game-winning TD was completed by a Winnewisser goal line dive. An attempt for two extra points failed, and the Cardinals led, 12-6.
Bishop was able to trade possession until Paraclete began a single-minded drive in the final minutes. The Spirits got as far as Bishop’s red zone, even standing tall on 4th and four with two minutes to go. But penalties and a stingy Bishop defense sent the Paraclete High deep and forced a desperate attempt to go long. The Cardinals came up with the ball, stood by for the clock, and chalked up a gut-check win over a dangerous opponent.
Bishop’s record now goes to 11-2, and they will play rival Santa Clara High School (10-1-1, Frontier League Champion) next Saturday (December 8) at 7:30 pm in Moorpark College, for the CIF Mid-Valley Division Football Championship. Their last meeting saw Cierre Wood score 6 TDs for 370 yards and lead Santa Clara to a 42-41 victory over Bishop.