Paden City Gets 1st Win, Beats Bridgeport
PADEN CITY — In a game that had more than 1,000 yards of total offense, it was a key special teams play midway through the fourth quarter that sparked Paden City to its first win of the Zach Heasley Era, a thrill-packed 55-49 squeaker over visiting Bridgeport on the Berger Field grass.
“These kids about gave me a heart attack,” Heasley said following the high-scoring affair. “Oh my goodness.”
After Izaac Jozwiak weaved his way 74 yards for a Bulldogs touchdown that cut the Wildcats (1-3) lead to 42-35, Paden City’s Parker Higgins scooped up the ensuing kickoff at his 18 and quickly returned the momentum back to the hosts. The 5-foot-7, 145-pound sophomore followed a block that allowed him to turn the corner in front of the Bridgeport bench and he sprinted down a sideline untouched for an 82-yard runback.
“That was huge because we were a little down after making a stupid play on defense,” Heasley said. “We eased up a little bit and gave up that long touchdown run, but Parker gave us the momentum back. That’s what you do as Wildcats, you fight … you fight.
“I’m so proud of these guys. You figure we came in with high expectations and found ourselves down 60-6 in the opener. The second game we set a (W.Va.) state record for picks (interceptions). The third game we lost a heartbreaker we shouldn’t have lost. If that isn’t adversity, I don’t know what is.
“I’m so proud of the way these kids fought this week and how they fought in this game to get the win.”
Bridgeport shot itself in the foot on its next possession. Back-to-back penalties (illegal motion and delay of game) had the Bulldogs facing a first-and-20 from their 27. Jozwiak picked up 25 yards but lost control of the ball fighting for additional yardage. Paden City’s Zane Yeater came up with the ball at the Wildcats’ 38.
Three plays later, Higgins found the end zone from 5 yards out. Cross made it 55-35 with the PAT kick.
Bridgeport, which had only scored 18 points in the first three weeks and none in its last two outings, scored twice in the closing moments on passes of 59 and 38 yards from freshman Colin Jackson to Jozwiak.
Cross accounted for 300 yards of total offense and five touchdowns. He ran 18 times for 184 yards and a touchdown while completing 7 of 9 passes for 116 yards and four more touchdowns. McKay caught three of the TD strikes among his five receptions for 39 yards, the longest being 9 yards. The others came from 5 and 4.
“You can’t complain about that,” Heasley said of Cross’s effort. Cross sat out last season after serving as a backup QB as a sophomore. “He struggled the first couple of weeks, but he is a competitor and once he gets it going, he’s pretty tough.”
Clayton Thomas also eclipsed the 100-yard mark for Paden City. The 5-9 senior rambled for 120 yards and a TD on 21 totes.
For Bridgeport (0-4), Jackson passed for a career high 284 yards on 14 of 29 and three TDs. Jozwiak had eight catches for 247 yards and two scores while also picking up 103 yards on four carries and a score. Jon Bugaj rushed for 110 yards and pair of TDs before being injured midway through the third quarter. He did not return.
“We battled. We’ll learn from this,” Bridgeport coach Fred Ray said. “Eighty percent of our team is young, but that’s no excuse. We battled. I’m proud of the guys, but we’ve still got a lot to work on.”
Paden City 55, Bridgeport 49
Bridgeport 15 8 6 20 — 49
Paden City 6 14 14 21 — 55
B–Jn. Bugaj 1 run (Hatten kick)
PC–McKay 5 pass from Cross (kick blocked)
B–Jn. Bugaj 75 run (J. Bugaj pass from Jackson)
PC–Thomas 2 run (McKay pass from Cross)
PC–Cross 39 run (pass failed)
B–Je. Bugaj 2 run (Waterman pass from Jackson)
PC–McKay 4 pass from Cross (Cross run)
B–Jozwiak 46 pass from Jackson (bad snap)
PC–McKay 9 pass from Cross (run failed)
PC–Yeater 75 pass from Cross (Thomas run)
B–Jozwiak 74 run (run failed)
PC–Higgins 82 kickoff return (pass failed)
PC–Higgins 5 run (Cross kick)
B–Jozwiak 59 pass from Jackson (pass failed)
B–Jozwiak 38 pass from Jackson (Waterman pass from Jackson)
Rushing: Bridgeport 32-258-3tds (J. Bugaj 10-108-2tds, Jozwiak 4-103-td, Je. Bugaj 13-48-td, Jackson 3-19, team 2-(-20). Paden City 47-347-3tds (Cross 18-184-td, Thomas 21-120-td, Higgins 6-45-td, team 2-(-2)
Passing: Bridgeport 14-29-284-3tds (all by Jackson). Paden City 7-9-116-4tds-x (all by Cross)
Receiving: Bridgeport 14-284-3tds (Jozwiak 8-247-3tds, Green 5-36, Je. Bugaj 1-1). Paden City 7-116-4tds (McKay 5-39-3tds, Yeater 1-75-td, Anderson 1-2)
First Downs: Bridgeport 21. Paden City 19
Penalties: Bridgeport 9-59. Paden City 7-60
Fumbles: Bridgeport 5-2. Paden City 4-0