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Football Lookahead: Clay-Battelle, Bishop Donahue Matchup Offers Intrigue

September 12, 2013
By DAVE MORRISON , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

These are exciting times in Blacksville, and not just because Clay-Battelle is off to another strong start to start the football season.

Following up a 9-1 record in 2012, not to mention a first-round playoff victory, with a 2-0 start is certainly exciting, but the town folk have been there, done that.

It's not every day that you get to open a new complex, one that the town can be proud to call its own, even if it currently has no name.

The Cee-Bees' game with Bishop Donahue on Friday will mark the first game on the the field, after opening the season with victories at Paden City and Clarion Valley, Pa.

"With this being our first game at our new complex, on our new turf field, it's an exciting time in our community," Coach Ryan Wilson said. "There's no doubt it is a big game and it will be a big night. But with the facility we have, we are winning, and our community is winning, no matter what."

Bishop Donahue coach John Durdines knows that Clay-Battelle will be more fired up for the opening of the new facility.

"Any time you are opening a new stadium there is going to be some extra adrenaline and there is going to be extra intensity," he said. "We've talked about that. What we have to do is match that intensity."

It's not like Bishop Donahue doesn't have its own form of motivation. All it has to do is recall last year's 21-7 loss to the Cee-Bees.

"We were winning that game at the half and they came back and won," Durdines said. "We have to focus on playing for 48 minutes, not just 24. They have a quality football team, with a lot of kids back ...''

Both teams are also winning this season.

Bishop Donahue has beaten Cameron and River.

"Bishop has players all over the field, kids who can make plays," Wilson said. "I don't know if you can take just one thing away from them. They have a big line of guys who can move and their quarterback (Jesse Padlow) has done a nice job."

Padlow is coming off an 8 of 11 passing evening against River. He threw for 143 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 41 yards and a score.

Lavonte Hampton scored three different ways - rushing, receiving and returning a punt for a touchdown.

Clay-Battelle must win the first-down battle, Wilson said.

"We can't worry about making the big play, we are looking at this game as a game of making first downs, moving the chains and possession. Field position will be key."

The Cee-Bees haven't had a shortage of big plays, though, behind quarterback Tristan Haught, who has completed 18 of 28 passes but nearly half of his completions (eight) have gone for touchdowns. Four have gone to Jarret Hockenberry, who has seven catches for 159 yards and four touchdowns. Kurt Latocha has three for 122 and two scores.

While admitting that the game is a big one, neither coach is putting too much importance in the third game of the season.

"Any time two teams like this face off, where there could be a lot of (playoff) points at stake on down the line, the players understand the magnitude of the game," Durdines said. "But it is just the next game for us. I know that sounds cliche. If you start looking down the road you're never going to make it down the road."

"We try to approach it like every game is important," said Wilson, whose team will be on the road for two weeks after Friday's home opener. "If you win this game, and then mess around and lose two or three ..."

Point taken.

Then again, if you win them all, maybe they name the stadium after you.

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