By JIM ELLIOTT
MOUNDSVILLE - Bishop Donahue had been standing a little too close the ledge of the W.Va. Class A playoff field for a couple of weeks.
Bishop Doanhue’s Brett Moore (10) fights for extra yards against the defense of Beallsville players.
The Bishops knew there was little room for a misstep.
Perhaps that's why, after allowing a 59-yard touchdown pass on Beallsville's first snap Saturday night, they were all business, scoring six of the game's next seven touchdowns in a 42-13 dismantling of a Blue Devils club that is similarly hanging on for dear life as far as playoff spots go.
Mikey Palmer got Beallsville off to a rousing start, grabbing a 15-yard flip from quarterback Chase Mercer and racing 59 yards to the end zone 18 seconds into the game.
''We had actually worked on (defending) that play,'' Bishop Donahue coach John Durdines said. ''Our guy lined up in the wrong spot.''
It was anything but an indication of things to come.
''I loved our kids characters,'' Durdines said. ''They just put that score behind them and battled on from there.''
After Bishop Donahue was flagged on its first snap - most certainly a sign of things to come - it scored on four of its first six drives.
''We came out pretty fired up,'' Durdines said. ''They wanted to play extremely hard. They knew this was going to be a tough, physical game. The kids understand. We've been preaching all week long. They knew Beallsville was a great team. They definitely wanted to come out and make a statement.''
That came in many loud, and clear, forms. There was a 9-yard touchdown run by Alex Riedel that capped the first drive, a 15-yard scoring run by Brett Moore on the third, a 21-yard touchdown pass from to Jesse Padlow to Chaice Truex on the fifth drive and a 5-yard scoring run by Riedel to end the first half.
There were penalties sprinkled throughout. Bishop Donahue had seven penalties for 60 yards in the first half and 10 for 85 in the game. One of those brought back a 17-yard touchdown run by Andrew Cunningham in the first half. Another negated a 44-yard scoring run by Lavonte Hampton in the second half.
''We have to make sure we clean up all of those,'' Durdines said.
Eighteen seconds after Truex's touchdown, Mercer and Palmer hooked up again, turning a screen pass into a 60-yard touchdown. At halftime, Beallsville had 194 yards - and Palmer owned 159 of them.
''We thought we could get to the edges a little bit. That's kinda what we geared our offense for this week,'' Blue Devils coach Paul Kanzigg said.
It worked through the air, but not on the ground. The Bishops defense cut the sweeps off early and often, as Beallsville had 44 yards on 21 carries.
Bishop Donahue put it away with a pair of quick scores in the third quarter, the first a 5-yard scoring rush by Padlow and the second a 6-yard touchdown reception by Riedel.
''They were more physical, they just wore us down,'' Kanzigg said. ''They're a quality ballclub. We knew that. They had some injuries. They're getting everybody back at the right time. When they get in the playoffs, I think they'll make some noise.
Padlow completed 14 of 21 passes for 234 yards and a pair of scores. Truex caught four of those for 98 yards. Leading the Bishops on the ground was Cunningham, with 58 yards on 17 carries.