Padlow and Donahue Have a Shot
WHEELING – It’s been a long offseason for Jesse Padlow.
The Bishop Donahue senior quarterback has bounced around to different football camps all summer long, hoping to perfect his craft just enough to guide the No. 5-ranked Bishops to an elusive state title.
In a field as wide open as Class A is, don’t count Donahue out.
Nor its leader, Padlow, who has been named the offensive captain of the Intelligencer/News-Register’s first All-Valley Small School Football preseason team.
Magnolia junior Kyle Ritz was selected as the squad’s defensive captain.
Padlow had a breakout junior season as he led the state with 2,468 yards passing to go with a completion percentage of nearly 58 percent, 24 touchdowns and just five interceptions. He was also selected as first team all-state and led Donahue to an 8-4 record and an appearance in the Class A quarterfinals.
The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Padlow is less than 1,000 yards from becoming the school’s all-time leading passer.
Three of Padlow’s teammates also made the cut in receiver Josh Miller, defensive lineman C.J. Huff and linebacker Matt Vucelik.
Ritz had another monster season for the Blue Eagles last year.
A two-time All-Valley first team selection and a second team all-state pick, Ritz made 74 tackles (37 solo, 15 for a loss), nine quarterback sacks, forced four fumbles, recovered three and intercepted one pass.
While graduation hit the Blue Eagles hard, they still managed to check in at No. 8 in the preseason poll.
Ritz’s teammate, Tyler Anderson, also made the squad as a defensive back.
The two other defensive linemen are Caldwell’s Christian Guy and Shadyside’s Scott Hammond.
The Tigers, who have won 23 consecutive regular-season games, join Bishop and No. 1-ranked Wheeling Central in having four players make the cut, the most of any school.
Senior quarterback Austin Dorris, who will play at the next level at Indiana, checks in at utility on offense, while fellow senior Eric Howell is one of three running backs. Colton Campbell fills in one of the four offensive line spots.
The Maroon Knights’ Isaac Rine, the youngest player on the team as a sophomore, is an offensive utility. Joining Rine are teammates John Burckhalter (receiver), Peter Hartzell (offensive line) and Ben Duplaga (defensive back).
Levi Brown, of Monroe Central, and Clayton Ward, of Cameron, round out the rest of the running backs.
Cameron’s John Horner also made the grade on the offensive line, while Tyler Anderson, of Tyler Consolidated, is the fourth O-linemen.
Two Linsly players round out the rest of the offense in Isaiah Harvin (receiver) and Zak Kriechbaum (utility).
Bellaire’s Cody Laroche is tabbed as the team’s kicker, while Matt Green, of defending Class A state champion Madonna, is the punter.
Two three-year starters from Steubenville Catholic landed spots on the defense in Stone Romano (linebacker) and Chris Murphy (defensive utility).
Caldwell’s Bricker Lori and Toronto’s Cody King round out the linebackers, while Bridgeport’s Bailey McGrath and Beallsville’s Mikey Palmer are the other two defensive backs.
Toronto’s Charles Ross III and St. John’s Chaice Truex are the final two defensive utilities.