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Football Lookahead: Bishops Look to Get Back on Track

September 19, 2013
By SHAWN RINE , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

BELLAIRE - Both physically and on the scoreboard, Bishop Donahue took a beating last week at the hands of Clay-Battelle. Just maybe though, Coach John Durdines said, a piece of humble pie was needed.

The Bishops (2-1), who dropped to No. 6 in The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register Small School poll and are in a five-way tie for 18th place in the first set of SSAC Class A playoff ratings, will try to rectify the situation when they travel Saturday to face an up-and-coming St. John (0-3) team. They'll do so, however, without the services of quarterback Jesse Padlow, multi-faceted star Lavonte Hampton, and possibly Andrew Cunningham.

"We played two pretty good games before (Clay-Battelle) and won pretty convincingly,'' Durdines said. "Kids are going to be kids, and I think they got too full of themselves.

"They know now that we cannot roll out the football and post Ws.''

The Bishops are understandably concerned with a Fighting Irish squad that, despite being winless, has been in all three of its games. That's a point of pride for first-year coach Jeff Paolina.

"We've had some real tough losses. We've been right in and needed a bounce to go our way instead of the other team's, and we could have won two of the games and possibly all three.

"We talked to them, telling them to buy into what I am preaching here. We have to be disciplined and stay the course and we will be fine."

St. John is fresh off a 30-14 loss at the hands of a Strasburg team that took a 22-0 lead. Durdines was at that game and came away impressed by the Fighting Irish, who lost their first two by a combined 15 points.

"They play hard for 48 minutes,'' Durdines said. "From about midway through the second quarter, St. John dominated the play.

"Give them another quarter and they win that game."

With Bishop coming in wounded, it may seem to many like and upset is there for the taking. Paolina cautions that with the type of program Durdines has built, there's very little drop off from first- to second-teamers.

"They've got depth all the way through their program,'' Paolina said. "We've got to get ready for what we need to get ready for, regardless of who is on the field for Bishop Donahue.

"They took a tough loss last week and they're going to come right back, guns a-blazin'."

According to Durdines, St. John is exactly the type of offense his club needs to see right now. The Irish run a Veer Midline Option that makes defensive discipline mandatory. The Bishops didn't fare well in that area against the Cee-Bees, as they allowed 197 yards rushing to quarterback Tristan Haught.

"This is the perfect game to re-establish discipline,'' Durdines said. "We weren't containing and if we start doing what we did at Clay-Battelle, we're in trouble.

"(Devon) Hennessey and (Dario) Paolina can run."

Paolina just came back from injury and is still trying to knock the rust off, according to his coach.

"His leadership is second to none. Hopefully we'll get a little bit better,'' Jeff Paolina said. "This is the beef of our schedule.

"We've got some tough, tough games ahead."

On the other side, Hunter Kaschke will get the start in place of Padlow.

"I am sure he will be more up for it,'' Durdines said. "I also thought Jared Yates stepped up immensely for us (for Hampton).

"He had an interception, a couple catches and I think 93 yards on kick returns. He played hard the whole 48 minutes.''

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