Brandon Hernández 9 a.m., March 8
Division IV State Bowl: Bishop’s vs Brookside Christian
Fisher’s five touchdowns propel Bishop’s to state title
CARSON – For the fourth year in a row, the San Diego Section has produced a football state champion. Behind a strong ground game and stout defense, Bishop’s beat the Stockton Brookside Christian Knights 40-14 on Friday in a rain soaked Division IV State Bowl at the Home Depot Center.
“It’s the best feeling ever. It’s a great way to represent the school, my team and our city,” said Bishop’s senior running back Alec Fisher.
Fisher saved a career best performance for his last high school game, scoring five touchdowns – four rushing and one receiving. The senior ran for 167 yards on 23 carries and caught three passes for 33 yards, and his three fourth quarter scores help Bishop’s roll to the state championship.
“I’ve never scored five touchdowns in a game and this was a great time to do it,” Fisher said.
Bishop’s (14-0) set the tone early with its defense, with defensive back Robby Stiefler picking off Brookside Christian quarterback Tony Rodriguez on each of the first two drives. Stiefler returned the second interception 39 yards for a score to give Bishop’s a 13-0 lead four minutes into the game.
“We were blitzing them a lot, especially in the beginning, and they weren’t ready for it,” Fisher said. “When we came out after them like that, they were throwing balls that weren’t the best and Robbie got two picks right in front.”
Brookside Christian (12-1) got on the board early in the second quarter with a Rodriguez 12-yard pass to receiver Larry Fullard on fourth down. Bishop’s advanced the ball deep into Brookside Christian territory on the next drive only to lose it on a Fisher fumble.
Following the fumble, Brookside Christian gambled by going for it on a fourth and one from their own 19-yard line. The gamble didn’t pay off, and five plays later Bishop’s scored on a Joey Moreno five-yard pass to Fisher to take a 20-6 lead into the break.
“They probably got away with it throughout the year. You have to weigh the options and they decided to go for it,” said Bishop’s head coach Joel Allen. “When you’re 12-0 and in a state championship you try not to change a lot of things, so you can’t blame them for that.”
On the opening drive of the second half, Bishop’s marched down the field and looked like it would add to the two-score lead. But Fisher fumbled on a toss deep in Brookside Christian territory, giving the Knights much needed momentum.
“They came out strong in the second half and we didn’t have very good ball security. I dropped the ball and I can’t let that happen,” Fisher said.
Brookside Christian needed only three plays to drive 86 yards, scoring on a 16-yard pass from Rodriguez to Fullard to make it 20-14. The Knights gambled successfully on the ensuing kickoff, recovering an onside kick that put the Bishop’s defense right back on the field.
“With an undefeated team, the thing you worry about is getting down – how are they going to respond when things aren’t going perfectly? We weren’t losing, but things weren’t going our way,” Allen said.
The Bishop’s defense responded well, stopping Brookside Christian on consecutive drives that started in their territory. After the second stop, the Knights’ offense drove the ball 68 yards for a score to take control of the game, making it 26-14 on a one-yard Fisher run early in the fourth quarter.
“They got the onside kick, but we knew that our defense would hold it down, we knew that we were okay,” Fisher said. “We never got flustered and the end result was the end result.”
Fisher added scoring runs of seven and eight yards to put a bow on Bishop’s first state title. The Knights finish the season as the only undefeated team in the San Diego Section.
“It’s just satisfying. As a coaching staff you put in a lot of hard work and effort and you do a lot of things and it’s nice to see that pay off,” Allen said. “The kids earned it; we’re just along for the ride.”