Heasley Shines In Paden City Game Against Bridgeport
BROOKSIDE – Winless no more.
Bridgeport used a dazzling offensive performance by Jeremiah Booker to break into the victory column, outlasting Paden City, 36-28, in an entertaining affair at Perkins Field inside Bill Jobko Stadium on Friday night.
Booker passed for 278 yards and three long touchdowns while rushing for 140 additional yards. His heroics lifted Coach Zack Melton’s Bulldogs to 1-3.
Paden City falls to 0-3.
“Jeremiah is a playmaker. When he gets that look in his eyes like (in this one) you know he is going to make big plays,” Melton said.
Big plays indeed.
Booker connected on touchdown passes covering 85, 39 and 50 yards. He also broke loose on a 46-yard run.
The game was a back-and-forth offensive show.
The Wildcats also displayed a potent weapon in running back Hayden Hizer. The 170-pound senior was making his season debut after coming out late for the team. He overcame some cramping problems to rush for 112 yards and a TD to go along with five receptions.
“No. 3 (Booker) beat us with his legs and his arm. He made some big plays,” Paden City coach Brent Croasmun said. “Our secondary didn’t show up. The big plays just killed us.”
Paden City owned a 16-8 halftime lead.
The Bulldogs drew first blood on an 85-yard slant pattern from Booker to Thomas Coyne. The two also teamed for the 2-point conversion.
The Wildcats grabbed their halftime advantage courtesy of a pair of touchdown runs by quarterback Aaron Heasley, covering 1 and 24 yards, respectively.
That set the stage for an offensive circus in the final two quarters.
Bridgeport took possession of the second-half kickoff at midfield. Four Booker totes netted a first down before he found Mannix Doyle with a 39-yard scoring strike. The run for 2 came up short, leaving the Wildcats up, 16-14.
On the ensuing series, Bridgeport’s Jarrett Deaton recovered an errant Paden City snap. Setting up shop at the Wildcats 32, the hosts needed five plays to score as hard-running Dane Cash went in from 8 yards out. A bad snap foiled the bonus try, keeping the Bulldogs lead at 20-16.
Paden City responded immediately, driving 64 yards on 10 plays, capped by Hizer’s 5-yard run to put it on top, 22-20. The conversion run came up short.
Bridgeport took the ensuing kick at its 33 and embarked on a six-play drive, climaxed by a 50-yard Booker to Cash pass on the final play of the third quarter. Booker found Doyle for a 2-point conversion and a 28-22 Bulldogs lead.
Paden City wasted no time in responding.
The Wildcats needed five snaps to cover 57 yards with Heasley finding Wesley Smith for a 44-yard score with 9:52 remaining. The pass for a 2-point conversion fell incomplete, leaving the teams knotted at 28-28.
The teams traded punts, the second giving Bridgeport possession at the Paden City 46. On the first play, Cash took a handoff, swept right, cut back to the middle and raced untouched for the game-winning score with 3:10 remaining. Booker speared Doyle for the conversion pass.
“Words can’t explain how I feel right now. We went through a long week,” Melton said. “We walked around Bridgeport this week as a team, figuring out what we stood for.
“Everyone stepped up. We made some nice offensive-line adjustments at halftime. Our defense didn’t break and made the stops when needed it to.”
While Booker was superb, Cash also enjoyed a sparkling night. He gained 64 yards rushing with two TDs on nine carries to go with his 50-yard TD reception.
Heasley ended with 110 passing yards and 66 yards rushing.
“We just made way too many mistakes,” Croasmun said. “Long passes did us in.”
Bridgeport 36, Paden City 28
Paden City0 16 6 6 – 28
Bridgeport8 0 20 8 – 36
B – Coyne 85 pass from Booker (Coyne pass from Booker)
P – Heasley 1 run (Hizer run)
P – Heasley 24 run (Heasley pass from Hizer)
B – Doyle 39 pass from Booker (run failed)
B – Cash 8 run (run failed)
P – Hizer 5 run (run failed)
B – Cash 50 pass from Booker (Doyle pass from Booker)
P – Smith 44 pass from Heasley (pass failed)
B – Cash 46 run (Doyle pass from Booker)
Rushing: Paden City 35-193-3td (Hizer 17-112-td, Heasley 15-66-td, Shreves 2-11, Smith 1-4). Bridgeport 31-204-2td (Booker 22-140, Cash 9-64-2td).
Passing: Paden City 8-15-110-td-x (all by Heasley). Bridgeport 10-21-278-3td- 2x (all by Booker)
Receiving: Paden City 8-110-td (Hizer 5-20, Smith 2-82-td, Smith 1-4). Bridgeport 10-278-3td (Doyle 4-116-td, Coyne 3-103-td, Cash 2-51-td, Rodriguez 1-8).
First Downs: Paden City 10, Bridgeport 12.
Penalties: Paden City 6-50, Bridgeport 12-90.
Fumbles: Paden City 1-1, Bridgeport 1-0.