Battery Creek High School coaches and players received a glimpse of Bishop England on video.
They knew Bishops running back DeAngelo Stephenson was among the best in the state. They could tell Bishop England's linemen were large.
Speed was all that was left to see in person. The Dolphins couldn't simulate Stephenson in practice. And the Bishops showed off early while racing to a 42-21 victory.
"The guys knew what to expect," Battery Creek coach Jim Shuman said. "I think the first couple plays -- yeah, they had to adjust to it quickly. He's bar none the fastest kid we'll see all year."
Stephenson finished with 112 yards on eight carries, with his only touch after halftime a 26-yard touchdown run.
The Dolphins, confident after winning back-to-back games, dropped to 2-1 in Region 6-AA. Defending champion Bishop England improved to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in the region.
Battery Creek coach Jim Shuman told his team it was facing its toughest test, that the region title went through Bishop England. And while the Dolphins avoided mistakes -- they were penalized only once during the first half and turned the ball over only once -- Bishop England forced its will on the line and let Stephenson speed through.
Stephenson, the small senior, took a pass 21 yards for the Bishops' first score, pushed through for a 2-yard score later in the quarter and added another score on a 42-yard sprint before the half.
"I just knew we have to get quicker," Dolphins linebacker and tight end Isaiah Sloan said. "Hit the weight room harder. Get ready for next season when we meet them again."
Bishop England slowed what had been a productive Dolphins' run game. Battery Creek's Yuneek Crittendon, the source of many big plays the first half of the season, was held to 11 carries for 15 yards before leaving late in the first half with what might be a dislocated toe.
Crittendon left the stadium on crutches after the game. Shuman said the junior will miss at least one game, and possibly more. The injury left the Dolphins' without an important rover on defense and left them few options during the second half.
In Crittendon's absence, DeAndre Johnson rushed for 151 yards after halftime, when Bishop England began swapping out its starters,
When the Bishops packed the box, Battery Creek countered through the air. A slant to David Frazier picked up a first down and the tight end Sloan hauled in three passes, including a 25-yard touchdown grab in the final minute.
But Bishop England was too far ahead for Battery Creek to maintain an offensive balance.
The Bishops have scored more than 40 points each of their past four games, all victories. They held opponents to 12.3 points per game during the same stretch.
The Dolphins' 21 points were the most the Bishops have allowed through six games.
Shuman expected a challenge on the night the Dolphins recognized seniors. In his second season, Shuman helped steer Battery Creek to consecutive victories for the first time in nine years.
Work remains as the Dolphins aim for a playoff bid their first season in Class 2-A. And the banged-up Dolphins have had to adjust.
Losing Crittendon would be a big blow. The Dolphins only recently welcomed back senior offensive lineman Justin Frazier, and Johnson has fought an injured hand.
Bishop England 42, Battery Creek 21
BE-- DeAngelo Stephenson 21 pass from Kevin Herbst (Drew Costa kick) 8:52
BE-- Stephenson 2 run (Costa kick) 4:42
BE-- Herbst 4 run (Costa kick) :50
BE-- Stephenson 42 run (Costa kick) 8:34
BE-- Griffie Loy 2 run (Costa kick) 2:40
BE-- Stephenson 26 run (Costa kick) 10:22
BC-- DJ Franklin 4 run (Zach Mahan kick) 8:46
BC-- Deandre Johnson 10 run (Mahan kick) 9:56
BC-- Isaiah Sloan 25 pass from Raekwon Smalls (Mahan kick) :56
First downs 18 13
Passing yards 34 100
Comp-Att-Int 2-2 6-12-1
Rushing 43-384 37-209
Penalties-yards 3-20 3-25
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-0
Punts-avg 2-38.5 4-20.75
Rushing: BE-- DeAngelo Stephenson 8-112, Kevin Herbst 5-94, Nick Shiver 7-48, Jack Wilson 6-45, Griffie Loy 6-40, Richard Mahon 7-32, Boo Baird 2-11, Reed Fosberry 1-3. BC-- Deandre Johnson 10-157, Darrin Peeks 7-34, Yuneek Crittendon 11-15, DJ Franklin 3-4, Teyvon Jennette 1-3, Raekwon Smalls 6-(-4).
Passing: BE-- Herbst 2-2-34. BC-- Smalls 6-12-100-1.
Receiving: BE-- Stephenson 1-21, Patrick Clarey 1-13. BC-- Isaiah Sloan 3-63, Jennette 1-16, David Frazier 1-15, Crittendon 1-6.