After managing only seven points in the first 24 minutes against Thousand Oaks, the Arroyo Grande High football team needed a spark.
Enter Joel Bishop.
The 6-foot-4-inch senior tight end had a career day, catching five passes for 99 yards, two of which set up a score on the ensuing drive of the second half, when the Eagles marched down the field, closing the gap to 21-14.
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“We were set on getting first down, first down, first down,” Bishop said.
The Eagles eventually came up short, falling 40-35 to the Lancers, but it wasn’t from lack of effort.
“It really isn’t a surprise to me, the heart of this team,” coach Tom Goossen said. “Our seniors have proven all year long just how resilient they are, how they battle and this game was evidence of that. A break here, a break there and results could be different.”
Arroyo Grande quarterback Sawyer May threw jump balls for Bishop to exploit his height advantage against the smaller Lancer corners. Bishop also showed off his awareness, dragging a toe in bounds on a fourth-down conversion. The conversion led to four shots for Arroyo Grande to put points on the board before the first half ended, but the Eagles came up empty.
When the Eagles needed chunks of yardage, they looked to Bishop, wide receiver Bradley Mickey and running back Alex Cecchi.
Entering Friday’s game, Bishop had five catches for 56 yards in seven games on the year, and had 22 total catches for his high school career. Bishop was injured playing basketball earlier this year and returned midseason.
The Eagles will graduate 26 seniors after a year in which they went 11-2 overall and 4-0 in the PAC 5.