Football: Hampton, Bishops Hammer Pilots

MOUNDSVILLE – Bishop Donahue put on a show Saturday night, with senior Lavonte Hampton doing the emceeing and playing host to the festivities against a stunned River squad.

Hampton scored three touchdowns in three different manners in the first two quarters while Jesse Padlow fired a pair to touchdown passes as the Bishops found the end zone eight times in the opening half en route to a 59-21 victory against the Pilots at Monarch Stadium.

The victory improves John Durdines’ team to 2-0 with a huge trip to Blacksville on Friday night to take on another West Virginia Class A power, Clay-Battelle. Meanwhile, River will look to celebrate its home opener with country rival Monroe Central paying a visit to Hannibal.

“It’s a big one coming up,” Durdines admitted. “We have seen Clay-Battelle and they are the real deal. We just need to go out and keep our intensity going and realize it is just another step, even though it is a big game.

“They will be opening their new facility, so a big key will be matching their intensity.”

Saturday night the Pilots (0-2) were no match for the Bishops.

Hampton’s night began with 39-yard punt return to the River 9, but it turned out to be the only time in the first half the Pilots were able to stop the Bishops.

But after turning the ball over on downs, Donahue recovered a fumble at the 3 with Matt Vucelik busting into the end zone on the next play and Padlow’s conversion pass to Josh Miller making it an early 8-0 lead.

Four plays later Hampton hauled in a punt at his 49, broke down the sideline and covered 51 yards with 6:50 showing in the first to make it a 14-0 count, and the Bishops were far from done.

Hampton’s second touchdown came at the 2:17 mark with Padlow hitting him 20 yards down field on a crossing pattern, and the speedster covered the remaining 25 on his own for a 45-yard score. Junior Brett Moore added the deuce and it was 22-0 after one.

It only got worse for Coach Mike Flannery and River as the Donahue added 31 more in the second quarter.

Padlow began the onslaught with a 43-yard, tackle-breaking run, followed by a 1-yard Austin Cunningham burst, Hampton’s third of the half, a 3-yard run, a 10-yard Padlow to Jared Yates connection and a 4-yard run by Moore.

When the smoke had cleared the Bishops were leading by a 53-0 count at the break. Bishop Donahue finished the first half with 211 total yards of offense while holding the Pilots to a mere 3.

Hampton also had the trifecta with touchdowns rushing, receiving and by punt return in the initial 24 minutes of play, and 179 all-purpose yards.

“Lavonte is a special athlete,” Durdines said. “He is a senior that has been in our program a while and he is just absolutely electric when he gets the football. And the best thing about him is that he is so unselfish and never complains, even when he has to come out of the game.”

Bryce Cross followed with an 85-yard kickoff return with Colton Wright’s PAT making it a 59-7 score. Senior Jordan Sapp added a 3-yard run a short time later for River’s second score.

“Our defensive line really set the tone early in this one,” Durdines added. “They heard all week long that River won a lineman showdown (in Shadyside) this summer and our kids wanted to show that they weren’t too bad either, and I think they accomplished that.

“I don’t know that we could have played much better in that first half, the kids were focused and came out ready to play.”

While Flannery admitted that it was going to be hard to gett he whipping out of his mind, he knows his team has to move on.

“It’s hard to forget something like this, but we still have eight games left to play,” he said. “This was a nightmare from the very beginning. We didn’t tackle well, block well or execute well. But credit Bishop Donahue, they are a very good football team and they came out and did what they needed to do.

“The first quarter was a total meltdown. And they capitalized on every mistake we made. They buried us and we were never able to swim back. I was happy that Bryce (Cross) and Jordan (Sapp) were able to get into the end zone to get rewarded for their hard work, they deserved that.”