The off-season for the Bishop Union High football program has been a bit unsettled, with changes in the schedule and the uncertain future of head varsity coach Bill Egan.
But with the season-opener coming up Friday against Truckee at Bishop’s John Schwab Field, the Broncos will be able to focus on what they’ve been doing better than the rest of the schools in the High Desert League over the past eight seasons – play football.
The Broncos return several standout players, including quarterback Chance Erwin, running back/defensive back Aaron Puls and two-way stud Jacob Doonan.
Egan’s return to Bishop wasn’t really official until a few weeks ago. Budget cuts and Egan’s lack of seniority meant he wasn’t offered a full-time teaching position, despite protests from the community. Egan recently accepted a package at 80 percent, he said.
However, Egan, the former U.S. Ski Team director, still kept doing his coaching duties, including summer workouts, traveling to passing leagues and dealing with scheduling problems, etc.
The Broncos will have a bye in the second week of the season after longtime opponent Ontario Christian told Egan the Knight football teams could not afford to travel to Bishop.
Egan scrambled to fill that game, couldn’t, and had to settle for playing a game in the normal “bye” week for Bishop, week 6, now a home against Bishop’s of La Jolla..
But with Wednesday’s news that rival Mammoth High has cancelled its varsity season, it was just another day, just another problem for Egan.
The Broncos are coming off another HDL title but just a .500 season overall and lost all-CIF players in quarterback Drew Blumberg and linebacker Tim Berrey.
Those two, along with fellow seniors Lowell Chudy, Dominic Quintana, Hugo Villapondo, Eric Hastie and Chris Brown, helped lead the Broncos to a 4-0 league mark, 5-5 overall and another trip to the East Valley Division playoffs, where the Broncos lost in the first round to Yucca Valley.
But Egan, who had guided Bishop into the playoffs all eight seasons at Bishop head coach, has plenty of talented players for the 2009 campaign.
Erwin, a senior, will take the shotgun snaps from center. Chance Callahan was expected to also see time at QB, but a shoulder injury last week in practice will sideline the talented sophomore.