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Football Lookahead: Coming off a Fine Effort, Paden City Faces Bishops

October 17, 2013
By JIM ELLIOTT , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Paden City coach Brent Croasmun looked back at last week's 27-0 victory against Conotton Valley and said it was "probably the most complete game we've played this year."

You would have thought Bishop Donahue coach John Durdines, after looking back at his club's 48-20 loss to Madonna, would have said the opposite.

And you would not have been right.

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Jesse Padlow (11), Alex Riedel (9) and the Bishops face a Paden City defense that shut out Conotton Valley last week.

"I was actually really happy with our kids' effort," he said. "Madonna is a very, very good team. We had some positives, we were able move the ball. I saw them three times this year, nobody scored on their varsity. We had a lackluster effort at Notre Dame, and I think the kids wanted to go out and play hard for 48 minutes and let the chips fall where they may."

Were it not for a few missed assignments and a lot of dropped balls at key moments, that game might have been much closer, Durdines said.

With that, Paden City and Bishop Donahue will resume a decades-old rivalry Friday night at John Marshall with the Wildcats (3-4) looking to get back to .500 and the Bishops (3-3) looking to climb above it.

"Bishop Donahue is one of the top programs in Class A in the valley and we know that," Croasmun said. "They've got a lot of good playmakers on their team. They've been slowed down by injuries, obviously this year. They will be difficult for us to defend with all of the weapons they have offensively."

In both cases - playmakers and injuries - he's talking about guys like quarterback Jesse Padlow and receiver Lavonte Hampton, who have both been banged up at times this season. Hampton returned last week and had seven caches for 132 yards while leading the Bishops in tackles.

"It was huge getting Lavonte back after four weeks," Durdines said. "That's obviously a key weapon in our offense."

There are still some injuries among the linemen so the Bishops are far from 100 percent.

Senior-less Paden City blanked the Rockets behind 10 tackles, including two sacks by Spencer Billings, and seven tackles, a caused fumble, and a batted pass by Luke Cooper.

"We played a pretty good football game," Croasmun said. "The defense played extremely well. We really contained their quarterback. Any time you're defense can play like that, you're going to have a chance to win."

The Rockets were not able to say the same thing.

Wildcats quarterback Zach Heasley complete 19 of 29 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns passes (two to Devon Price and one to Cooper).

It's a passing offense that is getting more dynamic by the week.

"Paden City has been playing well all year," Durdines said. "I've gotten a chance to see them three times. They could easily be 5-2. The Heasley kid is throwing extremely well. They're playing strong.

"(Croasmun has) had some lean years. I know he works his butt off to get those kids to compete and they're definitely competing. They're gaining confidence

"They're going to be coming up here hungry to even their record."

Having said all that, a repeat performance might not be enough to beat Bishop Donahue, Croasmun said.

"We're going to have play our best game of the year to even be in the ballgame with them," he said. "You've got to defend the whole field. They can do a lot of things with Hampton. Padlow is a great quarterback. He sees the field well and finds open receivers."

The game is a return home for the Bishops, who had been on the road for four weeks. They'll close it out with three home games and one short trip to Wheeling Island to play Wheeling Central.

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