The lights came on in Paden City on Friday, thanks to the new poles and light fixtures, to herald in the first home game of the 2012 season. The Wildcats played host to the Van Bulldogs in the home opener, but were outmanned to the tune of 44-18.
"They were a good football team," said Wildcat head coach, Brent Croasmun. "They had a pretty solid defense and had enough players to run them in and out to give the other guys a break. We don't have that."
With just over seven minutes to go in the first quarter, Van put the first score of the evening on the scoreboard with a six yard run. The 'Cats took a while, but before the clock could tick off the minutes of the first, they too added six with a 16 yard run by sophomore Brandon Cross. The extra point pass failed, tying the score at six-all.
The second and third quarters of the game belonged to the Bulldogs though, as Van steadily racked up rushes for 20 points in the second and 18 more in the third quarter to take the substantial 44-6 lead.
Though the 'Cats were down, they were not out as they scored the last two touchdowns of the game in the fourth period of play. Cross ran a five yarder in and then a 39'er to top off the scoring for the evening, putting the final score at 44-18 in Van's favor.
"Our kids played hard," Croasmun said. "Brandon Cross did a heck of a job for us. He played hard. In fact, I think we had a great first quarter, but the lack of players and the heat took it's toll."
Cross, new at the quarterback position, connected on 10 of 18 passes in the game for 62 yards and was intercepted twice.
Offensive stats for the game include Cross carrying the ball 26 times for 147 yards and three touchdowns; Craig Allen, five rushes for 14 yards; Kane Pyles, five rushes for seven yards; Devon Price two rushes for nine yards; and Drew Bidwell, one carry for four yards.
Kennedy Cain cauht four Cross passes for 26 yards; Deven Price had four cathes for 26 yards; and Allen collected 10 yards on two catches.
Defensively, Cross was credited with eight tackles, six solo, one for a loss, and batted down one pass; Luke Cooper had seven tackles and recovered a fumble; Logan Carroll, had five tackles; Allen had five tackles and a quarterback sack; Dakota Gatian had one quarterback sack; and Cain brought down an interception.
On Friday the Wildcats will host Bellaire St. John, at 7:30 p.m.