Though it took eleven days to get it done, and two football fields, the Paden City High School Wildcat football team finally got their first game of the season in. While the final score of 23-14 did not please the Paden City faithful, it can at least be said that they finished what they started, and the situation was fair to all involved.
The opening game of the season for the 'Cats began on Sept. 26 in Boone County as they took on the Van High Bulldogs. The first half of the game was without incident and by the half the Wildcats led the score, 14-8 and seemed to be well on their way to a win. Then with little warning, a power outage left the field in darkness and two teams in the third quarter of an incomplete football game.
Game, school officials, and the Wet Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission made the decision to postpone the game, and try to find a suitable solution that would be fair to both teams. It was decided the game would resume where it left off, with 10:48 remaining in the third quarter, at a field almost halfway between Paden City and Van, in Ripley.
"We did what we had to do," said Paden City head coach, Brent Croasmun. "It was just one of those things that happen and we had to deal with it."
When the game resumed in Ripley, the 'Cats were ahead by six and planning on wrapping up their first win of the season.
The Bulldogs, however, had other plans.
In the first quarter, both teams had played to a 0-0 score, and senior Taylor Still accounted for both Wildcat scores in the second on one yard runs in for touchdowns. Before the first half ended, Van added eight points on a pass and a two-point conversion.
When the game resumed, Van made up for the lost time by connecting on a Taylor Gunnoe 70 yard pass down the field to score six, again followed by a two-point conversion.
In the fourth, Gunnoe again made the highlights with a 55 yard run for a touchdown, followed up by the kick to take the win.
"We made some mistakes and they took advantage of them, plain and simple," Croasmun said. "I hate it for the kids that we lost."
The 'Cats rushed for 168 yards in the game on 45 carries and passed for 63. Freshman Zach Heasley completed two of 10 passes.
Still carried the ball 28 times to gain 128 yards, scored two touchdowns and ran the extra-point conversion. Geoffrey Bidwell rushed 16 times for 38 yards, and Jared Stewart caught two receptions for 63 yards.
Defensively, Still and Bidwell each had a fumble recovery and Keith Hardbarger blocked a punt for the Green and White.
The Wildcats will play their first home game of the season on Friday at Berger Field when they host to the Cee Bee's of Clay Battelle.