Cardinals, Bishops kick off healthy rivalry in first game

CHARLESTON — As any good Catholic knows, Cardinals have more power than bishops. But that was not the case when Bishop England and Cardinal Newman met in battle on the football field for the first time ever Sept. 12.
The Battling Bishops outscored the Cardinals 21-0 in what sponsors hope will become an annual event.
Currently, Bishop England in Charleston and Cardinal Newman in Columbia are the only two Catholic high schools in the state with football teams, and organizers of the game hope to create a healthy Catholic rivalry between them.
Mike Bolchoz, head coach and athletic director at Cardinal Newman, came up with the idea for the schools to compete on the gridiron.
For him, it had a lot to do with personal associations. Bolchoz is an alumnus of Bishop England and played football there for Coach Paul Runey. Later he served as assistant coach for the Bishops before moving to Columbia.
He said the first thing he did when he arrived at Cardinal Newman was contact his alma mater and ask about scheduling a game.
“I just feel with being the two Catholic high schools with football, we should play each other,” Bolchoz said.  
Prior to the game, he said the statistics on paper gave Bishop England a clear advantage, but stressed that his players would compete well.
“I’m nervous before every game; nervous for my kids,” Bolchoz said. “They put in a lot of time, a lot of effort.”
Cardinal Newman has about 450 students and plays in the S.C. Independent Schools Association for private schools, while Bishop England is almost double the size with roughly 830 students and a spot in the S.C. High School League with all the public schools.
“Numbers and experience were in our favor,” Runey said after the game.
Each team had two fumbles and an interception, but the Battling Bishops racked up 348 total yards compared with 84 total yards for the Cardinals.
The game was sponsored by the Charleston chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians. They held a fish fry before the match-up and established a traveling “Hibernian Cup” that will be taken home by the winner each year.
This year, the trophy will hold place of honor at Bishop England.
“You’re always happy when you win,” Runey said.
Both coaches plan to keep playing each other and hope the game will develop into a good rivalry for the fans and Catholics in the state.
Maybe next year Cardinal Newman will keep the Hibernian Cup.