TACOMA — Blake Bishop had a sense of deja vu when he arrived Thursday at the Tacoma Dome.
Sure, the Chiawana senior had plenty of success at Mat Classic XXVI, winning two matches to earn a spot in today’s semifinals.
But almost in the very same spot the 152-pound senior beat Kentlake’s Josh Beckler 7-2 in the Class 4A quarterfinals Friday, Bishop will be will go down in state football history for another what he did there 2 1/2 months ago.
On Dec. 7th, 2013, Bishop was on the receiving end of a 4-yard touchdown pass with no time on the clock that tied up the Class 4A football championship at 26, capping a 13-point comeback against an undefeated Camas team ready to celebrate it’s first title.
Chiawana won the game 27-26 after Matt Winn kicked the extra point.
“Yesterday, I stood where I caught it and reminisced a little bit,” Bishop said. “There was definitely a lot of joy. I don’t know if I’ll ever have that feeling again.
“Unless I win a state (wrestling) title.”
That’s something Riverhawks wrestling coach Jack Anderson thinks is definitely within the realm of possibilities, especially after two expected favorites — Jeremiah Reynolds of Union and Brandon Rochester of Yelm — were upset.
“Having won the state title in football has given him so much more confidence,” Anderson said. “He’s always had the athletic ability and the tools. A lot of it is built on the mental aspect.”
Bishop defeated Joseph Barnum of South Kitsap 10-7 in the first round and dispatched Josh Beckler of Kentlake 7-2 in the quarters. He’ll face Brandon Brenenstahl of Rogers-Puyallup in today’s semis at 10:40 a.m.
Another surprising upset happened in the Class 3A bracket, when Mountain View’s Benjamin Dixon defeated Sunnyside’s Homer Romero, last year’s 106-pound champion, 4-3 in the quarterfinals.
After a desperate attempt to escape Dixon’s viselike hold in the final seconds, Romero shook Dixon’s hand after the referee’s whistle before throwing his headgear to the ground and walking away in tears.
“(Dixon) kept riding his leg, and (Romero) didn’t have an answer for that,” Grizzlies coach George Paulus said. “This is just going to be a mental thing (for him). I’ll tell him to just keep his chin up. He can still help us.”
Paulus acknowledged that the loss definitely hurt Sunnyside’s chances of a higher finish.
“I wanted to get Jesse (Barajas) and Homer in the finals. Now that’s gone,” Paulus said.
Barajas did make the semis, however, earning a 14-3 major decision over Gage George of Timberline.
Roberto Orozco of Connell was all business in his pursuit of a second consecutive Class 1A state championship.
The Eagles’ senior posted a pair of convincing wins Friday — getting a 15-0 tech fall over Vashon Island’s Clyde Pruett and a 9-2 quarterfinal win over Ricky Peterson of Medical Lake.
“I’m expecting to win it. I don’t (necessarily) think about winning last year, but I do think that not a lot of people have an opportunity to win twice,” Orozco said.
He says a friendship with Cruz Del Angel — Kiona-Benton’s two-time champion at 182 pounds — has helped him in his own growth as a wrestler.
Orozco also works hard to be a good example for his younger brother Noel, a freshman wrestler at 132 pounds.
“I think about my family when I’m warming up,” he said. “I take a lot of pride in teaching my brother.”
Strangely enough, the two fastest pins of the day — 19 seconds — happened within minutes of each other, and in the very same bracket.
Just 10 minutes after James Niemela of Columbia River pinned Peninsula sophomore Tre Starks in 19 ticks, University’s Tate Orndorff pinned Tristin Prout of Nathan Hale in the same amount of time.