Bishop England started the season with two losses, including a 35-0 trouncing by Hanahan in the second week of the season.
Bishop England coach John Cantey stood at midfield after the Hanahan game and vowed that the Bishops would get better.
Cantey was as good as his word.
Nick Shiver rushed for 226 yards and scored four touchdowns to lead Bishop England past fourth-ranked Woodland, 35-7, Friday night at Jack Cantey Field.
The Bishops, the two-time defending Division II-AA state champions, ran their Region 6-AA winning streak to 19 games — dating back to 2010 — while improving to 7-2 overall and 6-0 in the region. It was the first loss of the season for Woodland, which dropped to 8-1 and 5-1.
The victory assured the Bishops of at least a tie for the regular season crown in Region 6-AA.
Six weeks ago, after losses to West Ashley and Hanahan, few thought the Bishops were capable of making a run at a third state title. But the Bishops have built plenty of momentum heading into the postseason with seven straight victories.
“I was never down on our players,” Cantey said. “It was a process of getting better each week. I knew our young guys had to grow into their positions. We had to put them in the right situations for us to succeed and we learned a lot from those first two losses. West Ashley and Hanahan have turned out to be very good teams.”
The Bishops rolled up 367 yards of total offense, all of which came on the ground. The Bishops attempted just one pass in the entire game.
Shiver’s 224-yard performance gives the senior running back 1,151 rushing yards on the season. Shiver scored on runs of 2, 10, 41 and 52 yards. Shiver is averaging more than 12 yards per rushing attempt.
“The guys up front deserve a lot of the credit,” Shiver said. “We moved some guys around on the line this week and they opened up some big holes for me.”
Woodland trailed 21-0 when quarterback Drake Knight found Patrick Sheppard deep down the left sideline for a 45-yard TD pass with 28 seconds left before halftime.
Trailing by 14 points to start the second half, the Wolverines had some chances to get back into the game.
Twice Woodland had the ball deep in Bishops territory in the third quarter, but each time the Wolverines failed to put any points on the scoreboard.
“We had a few opportunities to get back into the game in the third quarter,” said Woodland coach Mathis Burnette. “We just didn’t make a play when we needed it. Give Bishop England credit.”
The Bishops defense was solid throughout the game, limiting the Wolverines to 185 yards of total offense, including just 84 rushing yards.
“Our defense did such a good job,” Cantey said. “They were put in some bad situations by our offense, but they kept them out of the end zone except for that one big play they hit on us.”
Woodland 0 7 0 0— 7
BE 7 14 0 14—35
BE — C.J. Michel 2 run (Matt Mellin kick)
BE — Nick Shiver 52 run (Mellin kick)
BE — Nick Shiver 2 run (Mellin kick)
W — Patrick Sheppard 45 pass from Drake Knight (Cody Prentiss kick)
BE — Nick Shiver 41 run (Mellin kick)
BE — Nick Shiver 10 run (Mellin kick)