By Dave Morrison
NEW RICHMOND – For a guy who earned a reputation for doing the little things that don’t always show up on a stat sheet, Wyoming East’s Jacob Bishop had a way of showing up in the biggest moments.
Twice in his career, Bishop hit the football equivalent of the buzzer beater by catching passes at the end of games to give the Warriors the victory.
Hard work was his hallmark and that was rewarded Wednesday, when Bishop signed a national letter-of-intent to play football at the University of Charleston.
“Whenever I went up there, I knew it was for me,” said Bishop, who will major in Pre Med. “The way coach (Pat Kirkland) talked to me and pursued me I knew he wanted me there and I knew I wanted to be there.”
It was a pretty quick turnaround, prior to signing day.
“This is something that I always wanted to do,” Bishop said. “Around this time last year I stared communicating with some coaches. But this started getting real a couple weeks ago. I went there for a visit and the next day (Kirkland) offered me.”
The wide receiver will transition to tight end with the Golden Eagles.
“I’m obviously going to have to get a lot bigger, faster, stronger and smarter,” Bishop said. “But first things first, I’m obviously going to have to put on some weight. I ran the same playbook here at East. It’s a lot of RPO (run-pass option) so I’ll be at least a bit familiar with that. But the biggest thing will be getting bigger and stronger, but I’m sure I’ll have to get faster, too.”
He credited his coaches, former Wyoming East head coach Larry Thompson and his staff, with helping him get to this point.
“It’s crazy how much they helped me,” Bishop said. “Coach Thompson pushed my (football) IQ forward so much. And all the other coaches, they were always there. If I needed to do something or I needed to get somewhere, at the drop of a hat they would be there.”
Bishop was always there for the Warriors in big times, he and quarterback Seth Ross twice hooking up for game-winning touchdowns.
Ross several times mentioned that Bishop made him look good by pulling down passes that seemed uncatchable. It was like his hands were an advertisement for the old Stickum, used by NFL receivers, and made famous by Raiders wide receiver Fred Biletnikoff.
The duo hit a game-winner game winner against Oak Hill when Ross lofted a pass to Bishop, who rose above a defensive back to pull in the winner as the horn sounded. It was a catch that saved the Warriors run to the playoffs.
As sophomores they hooked up on a game winner against Westside.
“Those (two catches) meant a lot, just building memories and chemistry and development as a team,” Bishop said. “Helping develop the the program, it means a lot to us.”
But which catch stood out above the other? Was it a catch to beat the cross-county rival or was it a catch that ultimately kept them once seemingly unreachable postseason alive.
“At the end of the day they were both just games,” Bishop said. “But this past season it just meant more so I’ve got to say Oak Hill.”
He knows that he and Ross won’t be at a loss for conversation in the future.
“If I don’t see him for another 20 years and we see each other, it’s probably going to be the first thing we talk about,” Bishop said.
The 6-4, 197-pound Bishop said the turnaround from a team that won six games in his first three years to an 8-3 team that made the playoffs will also be something that will remember.
“Just the way a program can be flipped in so little time,” Bishop said. “Around this time last year, when coach Thompson started to get in the weight room a lot and getting the other coaches involved, everything just clicked and it changed the culture just changed like that. Things got so different so quick just abut a year ago.”
Bishop finished his senior season with 31 receptions for 526 yards and eight touchdowns.
For his career, Bishop had 85 receptions for 1,286 yards and 14 touchdowns.
He also lauded his teammates.
“I wouldn’t be here without them,” he said. “I played with most of these kids my entire life. I am blessed and thankful to have been able to play with them, go out (on the field) with them every week. I’m going go miss playing with them.”