‘Cats send Pilots home with 46-20 loss
The Paden City Wildcats were all about the win on Friday at home as they hosted the River Pilots and handed them the loss, 46-20, at Berger Field.
The ‘Cats scored early and often on their way to their second win of the season, with the first score coming on a Brandon Cross two-yard run for six points followed by Luke Cooper’s extra point kick with just over five minutes to play in the first.
Putting together a strong defensive effort, Paden City stopped the Pilots’ march down the field, forcing them to attempt a field goal, which Colten Wright hit dead on at 22 yards with about three minutes to play.
Before the first period ended, Paden City’s Zach Heasley lumbered across the goal line from six out followed by Cooper’s kick to lengthen the ‘Cats’ lead, 14-3.
River’s Wright connected on another field goal in the opening minutes of the second period to add another three points to the visitors’ score.
With 4:39 to play in the quarter, it was Paden City’s Hayden Hizer rushing for six yards to add to the home team’s side of the scoreboard. Cooper’s kick failed, but Paden City was not finished for the period, with Cooper pulling down a five-yard half-back pass from Hizer for six. Though the extra point pass conversion failed, Paden City retained their lead, 26-6.
In the third period, it was all Paden City as the ‘Cats added 20 points to their side of the scoreboard while holding their opponents scoreless.
In the opening minutes of the third, Hizer had a 76-yard interception return for a touchdown; Deven Price took in a 28-yard pass from Heasley with 5:24 to play (followed by a Cooper kick); and Heasley scored for the second time in the game on a four-yard run (also followed by a Cooper kick).
With their lead well in hand at 46-6, Paden City allowed a desperate River to tack on 14 points in the fourth, to-little-to-late to make a difference in the outcome, Paden City 46 – River 20.
“This was really a good game for us,” said Wildcat Head Coach Brent Croasmun. “The kids really came together and played like a team and not selfish at all. This is how we can play when we want to, when we work with each other and take care of the football.
“Our boys played hard and did everything we asked of them. I was very proud of the total effort every one of them gave.”
On a down note, junior Logan Carroll, who is leading the ‘Cats in tackles this year, went out during the game with a likely season-ending injury.
“We hate to lose Logan,” Croasmun said. “He was having a great year, he made a difference on the defense for us.”
Paden City acquired 15 first downs in the game to River’s nine. The ‘Cats gained 301 rushing yards and 153 passing yards for a total of 454 positive yards in the game. The Pilots achieved 79 rushing yards and 172 passing for a total of 251 yards.
The Pilots lost two of two fumbles and were penalized twice for 10 yards. The Wildcats had no fumbles and were penalized five times in the contest, costing them 45 yards.
Senior Brandon Cross led all Wildcat ball carriers in the game with 152 yards on 20 rushes including a touchdown; Heasley carried the ball seven times to gain 52 yards and had two TDs; Hizer, seven carries for 44 yards and one touchdown; Price, one carry for 44 yards; Craig Allen, three rushes for eight yards; and Marcus Allen carried the ball once for a yard.
In the passing department, Heasley completed nine of 12 passes for 148 yards and threw one touchdown pass; Hizer tossed a five yarder.
Price led all Wildcat receivers with four catches for 90 yards and one touchdown; Cooper brought down three passes for 38 yards and one TD; and Cross caught two passes for 30 yards.
Defensively, Cross had eight tackles with one interception; Hizer, eight tackles with one interception; Craig Allen, six tackles; Cooper, six tackles, one sack and one fumble recovery; Spencer Billings, six tackles and one for a loss; Dakota Gatian, five tackles; Rander Amos, five tackles; Matthew Greathouse, five tackles; Logan Carroll, one tackle for a loss; Heasley, one for a loss and two batted passes; and Daulton Schultheis had one quarterback sack in the win.
After celebrating “Spirit Week” taking place every day at the school this week, the Wildcats will be ready to face the Cameron Dragons at Berger Field on Friday in their Homecoming game. After last year’s one point defeat at the hands of the Dragons, the ‘Cats should be ready to bring everything they have in order to get the win.
Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.