By RICK THORP
CAMERON - Leading by one at halftime, Bishop Donahue coach John Durdines didn't really have to say anything to get his team psyched for the second half.
Donahue’s Saquan Hill bulls in for a short
touchdown run Friday in the first
against Cameron. Closing in is the Dragons’ Austin Pegg (74).
All he did was tell his players to listen to the opposing locker room.
The Bishops went out and scored the first 20 points en route to a 41-26 season-opening victory Friday against Cameron at Dragon Field.
It was far from the performance he was looking for, but for an opener Durdines took it.
''Any time you come out with a win it's a good thing,'' he said. ''Our effort and our tackling and, obviously, our conditioning have to get better.
''We're not going to win down the road if we keep doing the things we did (Friday).
''This team expects a lot more. We can't play like this next week against Clay-Battelle and expect to win.''
The numbers weren't spectacular for the Bishops, who were outgained 315-300. But a 147-63 offensive advantage in the second half proved to be the difference.
''The kids played their heart out and they did step up their game in the second half,'' Durdines said. ''I was happy with the line, too. It was the steadying force. None of them came off cramping and they played both ways.''
The Bishops racked up 202 yards on the ground, led by Saquan Hill's 93 yards and three touchdowns. Jordan Bonar added 73 yards and two scores.
Bonar also caught four balls for 43 yards and a score and picked off three Logan Routt passes, two of which resulted in touchdowns.
Then there was quarterback Jesse Padlow, making his first varsity start.
''Saquan's been excellent so far and Jesse, you know what? You bring a young man in for his first varsity start on the road in a heated rivalry and I thought he handled himself great.''
The second Bonar pick resulted in a five-play, 32-yard drive that was capped by a 6-yard Hill run late in the third quarter.
On its next possession, this time starting at the Dragons 42, Donahue scored again when Padlow found Bonar for a 21-yard TD strike with less than a minute left in the third quarter that helped make the score 35-20. That all but put the game away.
''We couldn't get past the 50 and they played on our side of the 50 the whole third quarter and scored twice,'' Cameron coach Jim Rogers said. ''That was the difference.''
The second half was a far cry from the first half for Cameron. Trailing 14-0 with 6:21 left in the first quarter, the Dragons rallied to tie the score on a 1-yard run by Hunter Yoders and a spectacular 27-yard pass from Routt to Shane Williams.
Routt, on fourth-and-long, found Williams on the 3 and then he bulled his way in for the score.
''We could have rolled over and packed it up when we got behind 14-0,'' Rogers said. ''But that's not the nature of these kids.''
Routt, a sophomore also making his first varsity start, had a spectacular first half, throwing for 165 yards and two scores. The final one capped a three-play, 61-yard drive that brought the Dragons to within 21-20 at halftime.
Mark Walker was the recipient of six of his passes for 67 yards.
''We turned it up there and he lit them up during that second quarter,'' Rogers said. ''He was in a zone. But in the second half he threw two picks. Plus, we fumbled once and had too many penalties. You can't survive on that.''
Cameron was flagged 15 times for 93 yards. Bishop wasn't much better, penalized eight times for 65 yards. The Dragons also lost two fumbles.
''We have to keep working and keep our heads up,'' Rogers said. ''We had our opportunities and didn't take advantage of them.
''We're gonna look at the positives. We have more potential on this team than we've had in several years.''
As for the Bishops, they're looking to steady the ship.
''It was just that consistency,'' Durdines said. ''If we want to go where we want to go we can't take ourselves out of the game in the second and third quarters.''