A Look at Paden City Football for 2020
Last season (2019) Paden City started a new era for Wildcat football as Zach Heasley took over the head coaching job vacated by longtime coach Brent Croasmun. The Wildcats have had trouble over the past several years with numbers with 18-21 players being the norm. Last season coach Heasley had a few veteran skill players, but bodies were still a problem as a few suffered injuries and by mid-season it was day-to-day as they often practiced with 13-15 players.
However, the Cats remained strong and was in nearly every game. Looking back on the season if a few things would have went their way they could have been a 7-3 ball club and possibly made the playoffs. But, things didn’t work out that way. With graduation depleting the team this years squad looks inexperienced and again low in numbers, although more could sign up once the regular season begins.
Coach Heasley said that ever since we were able to start conditioning and lifting again, our guys have busted their tails to get back in shape. One thing I emphasize to them is to be their very best, In whatever they do. “I tell them to give their absolute best and they’ll see improvement. I’m extremely happy with the work these young men have put into this point. We just have to continue to work hard.” coach Heasley said.
“Our team is very unique for a couple of reasons. We are low in numbers and the team is almost brand new. We always struggle with numbers here at Paden City, but I look at quality over quantity. We have a solid group of young men who want to work and get better together.”
Coach Heasley said they will be very inexperienced this year, but that doesn’t change the fact that they will always play hard and compete.
“We only return 4 starters to our squad. Everyone else is either brand new to the game or freshman, but I’m excited to get on the field with this group to work fundamentals and get ready to compete,” added Heasley.
He said the goal during the summer is to constantly work on fundamentals and introduce concepts so they can perfect their craft once August 3rd hits. He said they will be working to fix a couple things from last season, one is to limit turnovers, and another is to finish in the 4th quarter.
“So many games could have been won last year if it wasn’t for turnovers. If we limit those mistakes, then we can finish the way we want to on top. We lost 3 games in the 4th quarter last year.”
He will be working with his staff to stress they must play in all four quarters to win games. That along with eliminating turnovers have been the top two things we have emphasized during our off season work. Heasley said being in his second the second of the Wildcats program, he expects his team to be bigger, faster, and smarter on the field, and he’s looking forward to the 2020 season.
Paden City has to fight numbers every year, and that means Heasley and his staff have to get kids excited about playing the sport. With only so many to choose from it is a big job in itself to get enough to make it safe for the whole team. This season is even a bigger challenge as every school is fighting the coronavirus, which especially handicaps the smaller schools. Paden City pride will go a long way when it comes to fielding a team. Coaches, fans and parents all have to look back on the history of Wildcat football and do what they can to keep the program alive, with hopes of a return to the glory days. Community support goes a long way in building confidence in the players and coaches. That’s something Paden City has had throughout the years.
Although nothing is certain as far as fall sports is concerned, one thing is certain. If there is a season Coach Heasley and his staff will have Paden City ready to play. The Wildcats tentative schedule includes five games with out of state teams and five in state teams. The opening game is set for August 28, 2020 at home against Frontier, Ohio beginning at 7 p.m. followed by an away game against Federal Hocking, Ohio on September 4, at 7 p.m.
The rest of the schedule includes Van away on September 11, Bridgeport, Ohio, at Martins Ferry on September 19, Hundred at home on September 25, Cameron at home on October 2, Clay Battelle away on October 9, Hancock, Md, away on October 23, Beallsville, Ohio, home on October 30, and Valley away on November 6. All games begin at 7 p.m. Go Wildcats!