Bishop England and Philip Simmons both seem to agree that high school rivalries can’t be manufactured.
Proximity plays a role, sure, but it takes time to develop the relationships and memories that truly make the matchups special. The Bishops have been playing football for 75 years. The Iron Horses are wading through their inaugural campaign.
So despite being separated by less than seven miles, neither side is ready to admit any legitimate rivalry exists between Daniel Island’s neighboring private and public schools. Not yet anyway.
Bishop England ran through Philip Simmons, 32-16, Friday at Jack Cantey Stadium in the first installment of what figures to be an annual meeting between the two.
“I think everyone in the community hopes it becomes a rivalry,” Bishop England assistant coach Mike Darnell said. “There will probably be a time it gets to that. I don’t think our kids are really feeding into it yet though. Tonight I think we were much more focused on getting our first win.”
Bishop England manufactured a season-high 442 total yards of offense, 389 coming on the ground. Eddie Marinaro ran for two scores on a career-best 170 yards, averaging 7.4 per carry. Michael Long added 129 yards, picking up 6.5 per touch, and Sammy Gress added 81.
The Bishops defense shut Philip Simmons out for nearly 42 minutes. The Iron Horses finished with 158 yards of offense, just a week after churning out more than 500 in a win over Charleston Charter. Philip Simmons passed for 1 yard and ran for the rest. Solly Bess rushed for 110 yards, 65 of them coming on a fourth-quarter touchdown run.
“Bishop England is always going to be a tough team,” Philip Simmons coach Eric Bendig said. “They play gap sound. Their guys aren’t going to make mistakes. We had some assignment trouble early in the first half and they took advantage.”
Marinaro put the Bishops ahead with an 11-yard touchdown run five minutes into the game. Charlie Michel then returned a fumble on the first play of the ensuing Philip Simmons possession 20 yards to the end zone. Cam Costa tacked on the Bishops’ third score in the waning seconds of the opening half with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Liam Breau that opened a 20-0 Bishops advantage.
“We’re learning a little more each week,” Darnell said. “It’s cliché but that’s where we are. This is a long haul process with this group of guys. Ten seniors and everyone else is young. So any kind of success is huge for us and tonight was something good to build on from the start.”
Marinaro added a 3-yard touchdown run two minutes into the third quarter. Jarren McCoy later converted field goals of 32 and 23 yards.
Philip Simmons ended the shutout with a 53-yard touchdown run from quarterback Omaro Asby midway through the fourth quarter. Bess added his 65-yard score less than two minutes later.
Bishop England (1-2) will host Timberland next week, while Philip Simmons (1-3) will face Whale Branch.
“We learned a lot tonight. Bishop England is one of the power houses in the area and we have to come better prepared if we want to compete with them in the future,” Bendig said. “This game has all the potential to be a great matchup for years. I guess we have to go win one first though before it’s an actual rivalry.”