Bishop 'all heart' now that head has healed
Two "severe concussions" and a broken foot have kept Parkwood High's Michael Bishop out of all but a handful of football games the past three years.
Bishop actually had bleeding on the brain from a football collision his freshman year, then broke his foot in three places as a sophomore. One game into his junior year, Bishop took a knee to the back of his head in practice that knocked him out.
Bishop has been through a lot.
So when the senior defensive end received the Hammer Award as the Rebels' player of the week after last Friday's 42-7 win over Union Academy, it meant a lot.
"It felt really good after all the hard work I've put in to get back on the field," Bishop said. "For three years I've had to stand on the sidelines and watch my friends play the game I love and it was crushing. So when I'm out there I'm playing with 100 percent effort and all heart."
Bishop finished with 1.5 sacks, two tackles for loss and a fumble recovery against the Cards.
The Rebels (1-1), who travel to Piedmont (1-1) tonight, forced four turnovers in Week 2 and have nine takeaways in two games.
"Most of our interceptions have come because of our defensive line," said Parkwood junior linebacker Treven Parker, who had a team-high 79 tackles in 2012. "They get such good pressure on the quarterback."
Junior cornerback Max Robinson already has four interceptions in two games.
"It's amazing and really impressive that Max has four interceptions," said fellow cornerback Justin Holbrook, a fourth-year starter. "I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have all those if the quarterback had all day to throw. The defensive line is definitely getting after the quarterback and Max has done a great job of making plays."
Bishop is lean at 6-2 and 170 pounds, while nose guard Dre Blake is more compact, listed at 5-10 and 255 pounds.
"Dre's a freaking monster," Parker said. "If you don't double team him, you're going to have problems. Our whole defensive line is a lot better this year and it makes our job easier."
Bishop gives credit to Blake for the attention he draws.
"Dre takes a big load off me," Bishop said. "If it wasn't for him getting double teamed I would probably be getting double teamed and I wouldn't have been able to make those plays. It's a team effort. It's everybody doing their job, knowing their assignment."
Bishop has waited a long time to perform under the Friday night lights.
He can vividly recount the days when his concussions made him sensitive to light, when he had to lay his head on his desk in class because the brightness was bringing on another headache. He can recall when he couldn't concentrate long enough to finish a quiz, and the months of sleepless nights and dizzy spells.
His position change has made his senior year even more special. Bishop was an offensive linemen from the sixth through the 11th grade, but has always wanted to play defensive end. "I finally get to hit people," he said.
If the Rebels win tonight, they will already match their win total from the previous three seasons combined (2-29 record from 2010-12).
"It would be really nice to be 2-1," Bishop said.
Bishop gives up nearly 100 pounds to Piedmont's tackles, but hopes to counter with his quickness.
"I know Piedmont has some size on the O-line and it's going to be a good matchup up front," Bishop said. "We want to show people we're not the same Parkwood team as years past."
"We definitely realize this is a big game for us," Holbrook said. "We've been trying to replicate what they do in practice so we can get after it."
Ball security could be a decisive factor in the outcome. The Rebels have turned it over as many times as they have taken the ball away (nine).
"I think they'll run the ball a lot," Parker said. "We want to try to keep the ball and not have as many turnovers. Hopefully we can force some turnovers."
Bishop believes the Rebels feed off turnovers.
"We're closer than we have been in the past; we're more like a family this year," Bishop said. "Once we get a turnover, or if the offense scores, it builds up a lot of momentum and we work harder and hit harder."
... Parkwood has three freshmen listed on the varsity roster, and all three have contributed in the early going: Donovan Harris, a 5-10, 205-pound fullback, scored on a 6-yard run; cornerback/tailback Bryant Ferguson-Springs (5-7, 140) had a pass deflection and rushed for 18 yards in Week 2; and linebacker Austin Deese (6-2, 195) had two tackles for loss in the opener.
... Rebels senior receiver Sam Mobley is averaging 38.8 yards per catch, highlighted by a 91-yard touchdown. Mobley has four receptions for 155 yards and two TDs through two games.
... Sophomore Tre Blake is helping the Rebels in all three phases of the game. Blake is averaging 12.0 yards on eight carries, and 27.3 yards on three kickoff returns. He also has two pass deflections as a defensive back.