Brandon Hernández 9 a.m., March 10
Division IV State Bowl preview
Division IV State Bowl
Stockton Brookside Christian (12-0) vs Bishop’s (13-0)
Friday 4 p.m. at Home Depot Center, Carson
After running the table and capturing their first section title since 2007, Bishop’s will face fellow unbeaten Brookside Christian, who won the Central California AA League and the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI title. The Knights’ offense is averaging a staggering 53 points and nearly 500 yards per game, led by quarterback Tony Rodriguez (3,284 yards, 46 TDs). On the ground, the Knights feature the tandem of Robert Fernandez (1,098, 17 TDs) and Shaquille Hill (13.3 yards per carry, 7 TDs). Defensively, the Knights are allowing 15.6 points per game with linebacker George Evans leading the team with 154 tackles (98 solo). The Knights are making their first State Bowl appearance.
Bishop’s navigated the difficult Coastal League with relative ease and rolled through the postseason, stymieing two-time defending champ Francis Parker 20-9 in the section finals. The Knights offense is averaging 36 points per game, boasting the dual-headed rushing attack of siblings Alec and Austin Fisher to go with the passing combo of quarterback Joey Moreno and 6’6” receiver Adam Malkiewicz – always a threat to go deep. Linebacker Micah Seau, defensive back Dominique Love and the Fishers lead the Knights’ defense, which plays its best football in the big games and is coming off its best performance of the season. The Knights are also making their first State Bowl appearance.
The smallest section champion in Division III South, Bishop’s was considered and eventually selected for the Division IV bid because of a lack of eligible teams. As a result, the Knights are playing a school that has one-fifth of their enrollment of 555 students. Despite that, Bishop’s actually has less players on their roster than Brookside Christian, squashing any thoughts of a potential mismatch based on enrollment. The team that can set the tone defensively will prevail in this game that could turn into a shootout.