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Paden City “11” Go Down Fighting in Season Finale

Cats End Season With 64 –28 Loss to Van Bulldogs

By Rick Loy - Staff Writer | Sep 16, 2020

Coach Zach Heasley gives words of encouragement to his departing seniors on Friday night.

Friday night September 11, was an emotional night as the Wildcats ended their season after just two games due to low numbers. The Cats only had 11 players, but the boys gave all they had in their last effort of the season. The community rallied behind these fine young men by surrounding the field outside the fence due to the guidelines from Covid-19 which kept the faithful from entering Berger field.

Coach Zach Heasley said, “this is sad that the Cats can not get the numbers to put on the uniform for the “Green and White“. Paden City has an enriched football history and lots of pride. The community has always supported their beloved Cats win or lose and we are proud of these boys. These 11 players represented the community well tonight fighting till the final whistle.”

The Cats lose three seniors but have lots of talented young men back for next year led by Freshman running back sensation, Joey Baker who rushed for 233 yards against Van.

The Van Bulldogs won the coin toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff. Wildcats Zane Yeater placed a perfectly executed kick to the sidelines where the Cats were able to cover and down the Bulldogs returner quickly.

Van got a delay of game penalty before the first play and started from their own 24-yard line. Bulldogs QB Kallen Booth gained four yards on first down, but on he next play Gavin Lewis of the Cats broke through the Van line to throw Booth for a 10 yard loss. The Wildcats held the Bulldogs to only two yards on third down to force a punt.

Booth shanked the punt and Jerimiah Thomas recovered for the Cats at the 26 in Van’s territory. On Paden City’s first play from scrimmage freshman Joey Baker took the handoff from sophomore Quarterback Zane Yeater and scrampered 26 yards to put the Cats on the board 6 to 0 with 9:41 in the first quarter. The two-point conversion failed.

After a short kickoff from Yeater, the Bulldogs took over at their own 46 and answered the Paden City score quickly on just two plays to knot the score at six with 9:27 in left in opening stanza. The two-point conversion was good, and the Bulldogs took the lead for good on their way to routing the outmanned Cats.

Van scored again with 6:31 left in the first quarter, with running back Stewart hitting wideout Jason Berry on a 20-yard touchdown pass and Green added the two-point conversion for a 16 to 6 lead.

The Cats made the score 16 to 14 with 2:41 in the quarter with freshman speedster Baker going 49 yards on a nice run to paydirt. The Conversion attempt failed.

Van scored quickly on their next series with Booth taking the snap and going 43 yards to score with 47 seconds left in the opening frame to push the lead to 22 to 14. The conversion attempt failed as the quarter ended.

The Bulldogs had a big second quarter scoring 36 points mainly on long runs to make the score 58-14 at halftime in favor of the visitors.

Neither team mustered much offense in the third quarter untill Baker broke loose on a nice 17 yard run for the touchdown. It was Baker’s third score of the game. The Bulldogs answered back quickly with their final score of the game as Jason Berry went 51 yards for the score to make it 64 to 20 as the third quarter ended.

The Wildcats scored early in fourth quarter with Zane Yeater taking the snap from his QB position to find the end zone on a one yard sneak behind center. Hunter Fletcher would run in the two-point conversion to make the final score 64 to 28 in favor of the visitors.

The Paden City faithful stayed after game giving these fine 11 young men a standing ovation. They fought till the end and made their hometown fans proud of the effort.

Many who showed up expressed their disappointment that more kids do not want to play for their school and community. Coach Heasley and his staff are not giving up and are hoping to revive the program for next year with hard work and dedication to keeping the tradition alive in Wildcat town.

“Hopefully in 2021, the Cats will be back with more numbers to go along with a talented bunch of returning players. Let’s go Cats! Bring back the Green and White pride next season,” said one sideline fan who wished to remain announimous.