The National Guard, Air Evac Lifeteam and fireworks greeted the crowd at Berger Field on Friday night as the Paden City Wildcats and Valley Lumberjacks prepared to play the last game of the 2013 season. With opening ceremonies honoring America's veterans complete, the two Wetzel County teams began their game which was a close one and only won in the last few minutes with Paden City taking the win, 24-20.
"It was a good game," said Wildcat Head Coach Brent Croasmun. "The kids really played hard. In the second half, we stepped up defensively and got the win. I'm really proud of how hard the guys worked for this one."
Paden City was first on the scoreboard for the night with Brandon Cross tucking in the three-yard pass from quarterback Zach Heasley with 6:35 to play in the first, giving the 'Cats the lead, 6-0. At the half, the score remained the same with both teams putting on a willful defensive battle.
In the third period, Valley tied the score at 6-all, but was quickly answered by a Paden City touchdown, courtesy of Cross again, this time on a 52-yard pass from Heasley.
Valley made good on their next two attempts at rushing to goal line putting the Green and White at a deficit in the score, with the Jacks leading 20- 12.
With time ticking off on the clock, Heasley kept the ball and rushed 10 yards to put the home team within reach, 20-18. Finally, with just over a minute left to play, Kane Pyles rumbled 29 yards down field for the final score of the game to give Paden City the win, 20-12.
"It really was a good effort on several of our kids part," Croasmun said. "They really wanted this win. We're happy to have a 5-5 season."
Offensive stats for the game for Paden City include Pyles rushing five times for 39 yards and the winning touchdown; Heasley, 12 carries for 18 yards and one TD; and Cross, who carried the ball three times to get four yards.
At the quarterback position, Heasley completed 15 of 28 passes for 169 yards, including two touchdown passes. On the year the junior quarterback has amassed 1096 passing yards and thrown 19 touchdowns.
Cross led the receivers with three catches for 70 yards, two TD's; Deven Price caught one pass for 26 yards; Craig Allen made three catches for 35 yards; Hayden Hizer, two for six yards; Luke Cooper, five for 22; and Pyles had one catch for 12 yards.
For the Lumberjacks Peyton Palmer racked up 11 yards and scored two touchdowns, while Kale Lloyd added 17 yards. Trey Streets completed two passes, one to Chase West for 11 yards and Lloyd for two yards.
The 'Jacks lose seniors West, Triston Kocher, T.C. Long, Gunner Knotts, Wesley Dulaney, and Luke Martin to graduation in the fall.
With no seniors on the team, coach Croasmun's Paden City Wildcats is hoping the members of his team will hit the weight room in the off season and return to the gridiron next year ready to make some noise on the football fields of the Ohio Valley.