Football: Bishop Donahue Downs Tyler Consolidated


Sports Editor

MOUNDSVILLE – Not this time, and not in this house.

For the second consecutive year Bishop Donahue faced Tyler Consolidated in the regular-season finale with a West Virginia Class A playoff berth on the line. The Bishops watched the postseason from afar last season after a stunning loss to the Silver Knights, but behind a surgeon-like performance from junior quarterback Jesse Padlow, they turned the table Thursday night.

Padlow completed 21 of 31 passes (at least five were dropped) for 332 yards and three touchdowns and Lavonte Hampton found the end zone four times as the Bishops (7-3) clinched the right to play next week with a 47-28 victory against the Silver Knights (5-5) at Monarch Stadium.

”They’re a physical team and we knew that going in,” Bishop Donahue coach John Durdines said. ”But we game planned that they hadn’t faced the type of passing attack that we could give.

”Jesse’s been like Jesse’s been – incredible. He spreads it around to so many players.”

The victory didn’t come without what could end up being a considerable cost, however. Tyler Consolidated may not have beaten Bishop Donahue, but it sure beat the Bishops up.

Star two-way linemen Chase Padlow went down with an ankle injury and did not return. The same can be said for Hampton, who had nine catches for 173 yards and two touchdowns, but he was able to continue.

Perhaps the most concerning of them all, though, is rangy cornerback Josh Miller, who suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury and was taken to the hospital at halftime for further evaluation.

”We’re hoping it’s just a sprain,” Durdines said. ”Defensively the injuries really began to take their toll because we were subbing a lot of kids who didn’t get a lot of reps.

”Our prayers are with Josh and Chase and Lavonte. What heart those men have.”

Knowing the Silver Knights don’t possess a quick-strike offense, the Bishops wanted to get on top early and they did. Jesse Padlow hit Brett Moore with a 9-yard touchdown and then Hampton carried in for the first of his two, 1-yard touchdown runs right before the first quarter ended for a 14-0 lead.

Less than five minutes into the second quarter, it was 21-0 as Hampton scored again.

”Everybody knows that we’re pretty one-dimensional right now,” Tyler Consolidated coach Ryan Walton said. ”But we’re working on that.

”I’ll tell you what, Bishop Donahue, that’s a good football team right there.

”They’ve got a lot of weapons and they can hurt you in a lot of different ways.”

Jacob Highley got the Tyler Consolidated on the board with the first of his three rushing touchdowns, this a 1-yarder. After Matt Vucelik cashed in on the ground with a 4-yard run to make it 27-7, the Knights went 63 yards in eight plays, culminating in a Jordan Baker to Cole Kocher 8-yard touchdown pass, and the 2-point conversion made it a two-score game.

It could have been worse as Bishop Donahue let the ensuing short kickoff roll, with Baker pouncing on it at the Bishops 38. Baker picked up 25 on a fourth-and-10 before a spike and a missed 30-yard field goal attempt by Highley ended the half.

The Bishops’ depleted defense was able to force a three-and-out on the second half’s initial possession, and the Donahue pretty much put it away not long after. Jesse Padlow scrambled for 9, Vucelik picked up 15 and Hampton pulled in an 18-yard pass before Vucelik gutted the Silver Knights with a 35-yard dash to the end zone.

”Matt is an incredible runner,” Durdines said. ”We’d love to use him more, but he’s my catalyst on defense and makes all the calls.

”I don’t think people understand the wear and tear that it takes on you whenever you carry the ball.”

Highley, who rushed for a game-high 150 yards, all of them punishing runs, scored from the 3 to cut into the deficit again, but the Bishops immediately responded as Jesse Padlow found Hampton all alone in the end zone for a 5-yard score. The two hooked up again, this time from 21 yards in the fourth quarter before Highley ended the scoring with a 5-yard dash.

Padlow finishes the regular season with 20 touchdown passes and two interceptions.

”I don’t think Jesse was ever even close to being touched,” Durdines said. ”He’s hard to game plan for and it’s hard to simulate.

”He always come through and finds the right receiver.”

It’s a tough ending for a young Silver Knights squad that saw a five-game winning streak snapped. They started the season 0-4 and the future looks extremely bright.

”These seniors set the tone this year and the underclassmen have to keep that fire going,” Walton said. ”My hat’s off to these seniors for what they’ve done.

”It stings and you can tell by the looks on some of their faces … that’s how you know it bothers them, when it hurts that bad.”