WILLIAMSTOWN - The Williamstown Yellowjackets seem to have the OVAC's number.
Against five conference squads, Williamstown is a perfect 5-0.
The fifth victory came on Saturday when the No. 4 Yellowjackets romped No. 12 Bishop Donahue 54-12 to advance to the semifinals of the West Virginia Class A playoffs.
Photo by Michael Uhl
Bishop Donahue’s Jesse Padlow (11) beats Williamstown’s Cody Smith (51) in a race to a loose ball during action of their game Saturday.
''No way did I expect to win this big,'' Williamstown coach Terry Smith said. ''I thought on the video Bishop played really well. I just didn't expect that to happen.
''I think it was like dominos. Once things started happening, the dam broke loose. They've had a great season. They've won six in a row.''
It's all true, but the Bishops (8-4) let this one slip through their fingers. Literally.
Of the Yellowjackets' eight touchdowns, five were of 35 yards or more.
''Tackling was atrocious,'' Bishops coach John Durdines said. ''I mean it was bad. We didn't wrap up. It was something we talked about at halftime and it didn't seem to get better once we got back out there.''
The Bishops came out of the locker room down 27-12 and needed a stop. Instead, on the second play of the half, Yellowjackets running back David Hastings ran up the middle 55 yards for a touchdown. Fifty of those yards came after contact.
''You can run whatever type of offense you want, but if you don't block and tackle, you're not going to win a whole lot of games,'' Durdines said. ''From what I saw (Saturday), they did a whole lot better job of tackling and blocking than we did.''
The Yellowjackets (10-2) also put together a pretty good pass rush that seemed to take Bishops quarterback Jesse Padlow out of his usual rhythm. The junior signal caller finished 11 of 31 for 172 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions. Before Saturday, Padlow had thrown three picks the entire season.
''The main problem we had with passing is the one weather condition which isn't good for passing and that's wind,'' Durdines said. ''It was very windy. I think that was causing either a lack of confidence in (Padlow's) throws or just his throws would either sail or fall short.''
The Bishops, though, went into the game wanting to run the ball more and it showed on their first touchdown drive as junior Brett More picked up 35 yards on four carries before senior Lavonte Hampton bullied his way in from 2 yards out.
Then, Yellowjackets' junior Hunter Neely came up with his second interception of the day and returned it 12 yards for a score to put the hosts ahead to stay, 13-6.
''I think a couple things went against us and it just started snowballing,'' Durdines said.
One that hindered the Bishops early on was when offensive lineman Chase Padlow went down with an injury on the fifth play of the game. Though Padlow gutted his way through, it was evident he wasn't his usual self.
''Obviously, any time you lose a player with the caliber of Chase Padlow, it's going to hurt you,'' Durdines said. ''But we've been working on depth and he's missed a couple games, so I had confidence in the ones who were out there.''
Even with the large deficit, the Bishops never quit.
It was evident on a third-and-11 in the fourth quarter.
Hastings broke lose up the middle again for what looked liked a sure touchdown, but Hampton, who missed time earlier in the season with a leg injury, chased him down from behind to prevent a score.
''Lavonte has been playing the last nine weeks with a bad ankle to the point where he probably shouldn't have been playing,'' Durdines said. ''We've just been wrapping him and giving him treatment. He just goes out there and guts it.
''That's just the type of kid he is. He's not going to quit.
''Regardless of the outcome, I couldn't be prouder of a group of young men.''