Wildcats Fall To The Bishops
MOUNDSVILLE – Playing in sweltering, humid conditions and already dressing just 19 players because of early injuries, Paden City gave Bishop Donahue all it could handle Friday night at Monarch Stadium. When push came to shove the Bishops had more on reserve in the gas tank.
Junior running back J.C. Custer picked up 170 yards on 12 carries and scored a back-breaking touchdown in the third quarter while quarterback Noah Martin accumulated 194 yards of total offense and was responsible for three touchdowns, as Bishop Donahue (2-0) emerged with a 30-20 victory against the Wildcats (1-1).
”If there was every a cliche that a win is a win, (this) is it,” Bishops coach John Durdines said. ”We did everything we could to give this game away.
”I give Paden City credit – their kids never quit playing. But our kids never stopped playing either.”
The Bishops dominated the stat sheet, rolling up a 337-159 advantage in total yards. But they were their own worst enemies with four turnovers, including a 63-yard interception return from Hayden Hizer that gave the Wildcats a 6-0 at 8:49 of the first.
The undermanned Paden City defense allowed 16 plays of 10 yards or more, but seemed to have a knack – again with some help from Bishop Donahue – of coming up with big stops.
”They made some mistakes offensively and had some bad snaps which I think kind of broke their momentum,” Wildcats coach Brent Croasmun said. ”But we did come up with a couple of big turnovers.
”But I can’t fault my kids with the weather like it is. Our legs were gone the last three minutes of the game, and there’s nothing you can do about that.
”You can run and run and train and train, but you don’t have very much depth in this heat it really got to us.”
Donahue finally got on the scoreboard with 5:41 left in the half as Martin capped a six-play, 57-yard drive with a 1-yard sneak into the end zone.
Martin hit freshman Anthony Robbins in the back of the end zone for a 2-point conversion and an 8-6 advantage. The big play on the drive was a Martin hookup with Trey Miller for 27 yards down to the 1, in which the latter went up and snagged the ball between two defenders.
Freshman Vinny Mangino stripped the ballcarrier on the ensuing kickoff and Jimmy Hull recovered for the Bishops at the Paden City 34, but the Wildcats stiffened and forced a punt, which backed them up deep in their own territory.
On a third-and-9 from the 16, Hizer found Deven Price on a slant and the speedster took it the distance from 84 yards to put the Wildcats back on top, 12-8, with 2:28 left in the half.
It didn’t take the Bishops long to respond as Martin and Miller hooked up for a nearly identical scoring strike as the previous one by the Wildcats. Martin hit Miller in stride across the middle and he outran everyone for a 14-12 lead with 1:39 to go in the first half. Martin hit Robbins again for 2 to make it 16-12 at halftime.
That could have been an early dagger, but a bad snap on Bishops’ second possession of the second half was recovered by Paden City’s Luke Cooper at the Donahue 5. Three players later Zach Yeater went in from the 1 to put the Wildcats back ahead, 20-16, after Yeater found Cooper for a 2-point conversion.
Custer has the type of speed that only requires a sliver of daylight, which he showed on the first play of the Bishops’ next possession. He took a handoff from Martin around the left side, split a pair of defenders – each had and angle – and raced 62 yards for a 22-20 lead Donahue never relinquished.
”When J.C.’s on, he’s an unbelievable weapon,” Durdines said. ”Last year he had that three-game stretch where he had seven touchdowns but then had the broken leg.”
Despite those tired legs, the Wildcats put up one final stand. Bishop had a first-and-goal from the 5 and was looking for the clincher, but it took four plays to get it as Martin finally dove in from the 1. Martin bought time on the 2-point conversion – he did a great job of that all night – before finding Logan Wells in the middle of the field for the game’s final points.
”Right now we’ve got a couple of key injuries on our offensive and defensive lines and we’re trying to patch those holes,” Croasmun said. ”We’re playing some young kids that are very inexperienced and it’s showing.
”We made some crucial, crucial mistakes at critical times and blew a couple coverages back there in the secondary. You’ve got to give that quarterback from Bishop Donahue credit, he’s a nice athlete.
”He’s what makes that team go and we just couldn’t stop him.”