Paden City Fall to Cameron 50-26
PADEN CITY – The Wildcats, whose only win of the season came a week earlier against a winless Hundred squad, knew coming in to Friday’s battle against state-ranked and undefeated Cameron it wasn’t going to be easy.
The home team, however, gave it their best shot and never backed off. Battling a huge size disadvantage and facing a team with 36 players, the young Wildcats, who suited up only 20 players, gave the Dragons problems in the first half as their defense stopped the Dragons’ running game on several occasions causing Cameron to go the passing route.
The Dragons responded with 5:41 left in the first quarter when quarterback Colby Brown found Trey Routt with a 25-yard touchdown strike to start the scoring and open up an 8-0 lead. The Wildcats came back strong, however, early in the second period when do-it-all senior standout Hayden Hizer busted two tackles and ran 51 yards for the score to pull the Wildcats to within 8-6 with 10:43 left on the halftime clock. The conversion run failed.
From there, it only took Cameron 37 seconds to put another score on the board when Routt rambled 21 yards to give the Dragons a 14-6 lead after the failed conversion.
Paden City failed to move the ball and with 8:17 to go in the half Routt once again went to the air and hit receiver Travis Mickey with a 43 yard strike and it looked like it would be all Cameron as they made good on the two-point conversion and the score stood at 28-6.
The game Wildcats never gave up, however, and put together another scoring drive, eating time off the clock. After moving the ball downfield on a series of runs and short passes, Paden City quarterback Aaron Heasley got to the seven yard line on a nice run. He then handed off to Hizer who burst through tackle to cut the lead to 22-12 with 3:03 remaining before half.
Cameron quickly put together another drive, aided by a couple Wildcat penalties and with .25 seconds to go, running back Michael Starcher went in from two yards out to push the lead to 28-12. Starcher, the Dragons leading ground gainer, was held to 21 yards and a score in the first half as the Wildcat defense kept him at bay for the most part.
The second half, however, was a different story as Starcher would find the end zone three times and pick up 111 yards to finish with 132 on 18 carries.
Paden City’s Hizer, playing in just his third game of the season, showed his value to the Wildcats as he took a kickoff on the 20 yard line and raced 80 yards for a third quarter touchdown and later took one in from a yard out to wrap up the scoring.
“Hayden is a good athlete,” Coach Brent Croasmun said. “We know what he is capable of and what what he can do on a football field doesn’t surprise me. Our line also made some good blocks for him. We just don’t do enough on defense to stop the other team. When you are playing from behind against a team like that, you put yourself in a tough situation, Cameron is an excellent football team that is hungry and well coached. They figured out what it takes to win and we are still in that process.”
The Wildcats gained 189 yards rushing on 38 carries and three touchdowns, while passing for 30 yards on 5-16 and three interceptions. Hizer led the rushing attack with 143 yards on 23 carries while Heasley picked up 37 yards on 14 tries. Landon Smith was the leading receiver for the Wildcats with 30 yards on three receptions while Mike Shreves caught on pass for 16 yards. The Wildcats picked up 11 first downs in the contest but was penalized six times for 60 yards and lost it’s only fumble. The Wildcats face another tough opponent on Friday when they travel to Clay Battelle for a 7 p.m. game with the Cee Bees. Homecoming will be held on Oct. 14 against Hannan.