Players of the Pine Belt: Sacred Heart senior WR Jude Bishop

Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 10:24 AM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - After 20 straight losses over two years, the Sacred Heart football team finally tasted victory last season going 8-2. The Crusaders look to replicate that success in 2022.

“It’s a new year. We’re 0-0,” Sacred Heart head coach Ed Smith said.

While it’s a new season, Sacred Heart is still riding momentum from last year.

“With that success last year, it did help. We got some more interest and got some more kids out this year that haven’t played before,” Smith said.

The Crusaders are adding numbers, but they’re still rebuilding after losing a hefty senior class.

“We lost about 12 to 13 guys,” senior wide receiver/quarterback Jude Bishop said. “We got a lot of new guys out here, a lot of guys who have never played varsity. That’s not how we look at it. We look at it like we got 11 guys on each side of the field trying to play and we’re just trying to come out here and repeat last year.”

“The kids that played on the junior high team have had some success in the past but it’s going to be a whole different game when they play on Friday nights,” the head coach said. “We’re going to have some guys that are going to be ninth graders and tenth graders that are going to be playing on Friday so it’s going to be a new world for them.”

Leading the way on and off the field for Sacred Heart is senior wide receiver and quarterback Jude Bishop.

“A great leader in the weight room and in the offseason workout so we’re expecting a lot of things out of him,” Smith said.

“I’ve had a little bit of quarterback on me. I started my freshman year so it’s just like riding a bicycle, getting back on it. New memories, new muscles coming back. Wide receiver, that’s old news. I’ve been doing that the past 3 years,” Bishop said.

Bishop is getting back in the groove of things after missing the entirety of last season.

“Last year in the jamboree game, 3 plays before the end of the scrimmage, he got hit and broke his ankle, broke his leg,” Smith said. “He had surgery and has just done a great job rehabbing and getting himself back to his senior year.”

“It was really tough not getting to really play a real game,” the senior said. “I had been with those seniors since my freshman year so it was tough not being able to step on the field with them one more time and not knowing when the last moment was. It’s tough missing that last year and losing one year on your career.”

Despite losing a year, Bishop is putting his injury behind him and focusing on what’s still ahead.

I’m looking forward to having my senior year, come back and have another shot at it.” Bishop said.

“You can just see it in his eyes, especially after missing last year, just the determination and the ‘want to’ to get back out there,” Smith said.

Sacred Heart opens the season Aug. 26 at home versus St. John Paul II.

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