Bishop Diego Football Heads to CIF Finals

12-6 Victory Over Paraclete High Leads to Second Visit in School History

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.


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