Paden City Wildcats Drown River Pilots, 46-20?
The Paden City Wildcats energized their fans and shocked the River Pilots Friday when they rolled over the Pilots in a 46-20 win at Berger Field.
Paden City opened the scoring just halfway into the game. Senior Brandon Cross ran two yards for the first touchdown of the night, followed by Luke Cooper’s extra point kick.
Putting together a strong defensive effort, Paden City stopped the Pilot march down the field, forcing them to attempt a field goal, which Colton Wright hit dead on at 22 yards with about three minutes to play in the first.
Before the period ended, Paden City’s Zach Heasley crossed the goal line from six yards out with Cooper following up with the extra point kick.
River’s Wright connected on another field goal in the opening minutes of the second period, adding another three points to the visitor’s score.
With 4:39 to play in the quarter, Wildcat sophomore Hayden Hizer rushed six yards in for the TD, but Cooper’s kick failed. Hizer and Cooper teamed up on a five-yard half-back pass minutes later for the final score of the first half that put the ‘Cats on top with a 26-6 lead.
In the third period, it was all Paden City, as the ‘Cats added 20 points to their side of the scoreboard and held 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. That was followed by a true PAT from Cooper. Heasley then scored for the second time in the game on a four-yard run, also followed by a successful point-after kick from Cooper.
With their lead well in hand at 46-6, the never-say-die Pilots would score the final two TDs of the contest. River’s quarterback Joey Flannery scored on a four-yard scamper and Loren Thomas added a one-yard TD plunge, with Wright adding both successful PAT kicks for the final points of the game.
“Our boys played hard and did everything we asked of them,” said Wildcat Head Coach Brent Croasmun. “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.
Cross rushed for 152 yards on 20 carries, including one touchdown. Heasley rushed seven times for 52 yards and had two TDs, while Hizer claimed seven carries for 44 yards and one touchdown.
Price had one carry for 44 yards, Craig Allen added 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 and 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.
Offensively for the Pilots, Thomas galloped for 75 yards and a score, while Flannery added 12 yards and a score on two carries.
In the passing game, Flannery converted 12-29 passes for 156 yards and two INTs, with Broc Cross hauling in five passes for 76 yards. Craig Hupp netted 51 yards on four catches and Braden Whetsell caught one for four yards. Meanwhile, Wes Smith and Drew Dietz each grabbed one for 15 yards.
The Pilots moved the chains 12 times to 14 for Paden City. The Wildcats mustered four penalties, with 30 lost yards, while the Pilots were guilty once for five yards lost. The Pilots fumbled twice, losing one, while Paden City had one fumble, but recovered it.
Defensively, Cross had eight tackles with one interception and Hizer made eight tackles with one interception. Craig Allen and Cooper each made six tackles, while Cooper added a sack and one fumble recovery.
Defensively for the Pilots, Wes Smith led them with 10 tackles.
Spencer Billings had six tackles, with one going for a loss. Dakota Gatian, Randy Adams, and Matthew Greathouse each had five tackles, while Logan Carroll got credit for a tackle/loss of yardage. Heasley had one tackle for a loss and also batted away two passes. Daulton Schultheis had one quarterback sack in the win.
The Pilots will stay on the road Friday against Bishop Rosecrans at 7 p.m., while the Wildcats will host the Cameron Dragons in the Wildcat Homecoming game, set for a 7:30 p.m. start. The Paden City Homecoming Queen will be crowned at halftime.