Wildcats Claw ‘Jacks In Season Finale, 42-20
The Paden City Wildcats racked up two scores and 343 yards, including 234 yards in the air, while limiting Valley to 166 total yards, en route to a convincing 42-20 victory Nov. 7 at Tom West Field in Pine Grove on Senior Night.
The ‘Cats’ Deven Price returned the opening kick to Paden City’s own 35 to start the game. On a third and long, Zach Heasley hooked up with Brandon Cross for 14 yards and a new set of downs. After a Lumberjack penalty, the ‘Cats coughed up the ball at midfield on a hit by Dusty Lowe and Tucker Cain was Johnny-on-the-spot for the recovery.
Valley’s Peyton Palmer rushed for four yards and Liam Midcap moved the chains with a nice 20-yard carry. A pair of runs by Palmer and Trey Streets gave the hosts a new set of downs inside the three yard line.
Streets would then cash in the nine-play 50-yard drive with a touchdown scramble. The two-point conversion failed and Valley led 6-0 at the 6:37 mark of the opening period.
Price returned the ensuing kick 15 yards to the 37 yard line to start the next Wildcats series. After a short run and a modest pitch-and-catch, Heasley found Hayden Hizer for a 29-yard pass play. The ‘Jacks’ defense shut the door and forced the Wildcats to punt on a fourth and long. However, Heasley had other plans and hit Price on the run down to the ‘Jacks nine yard line.
Paden City worked it down to the one yard line before Cross bulldozed his way to end the eight-play 63-yard drive for a score. The conversion pass to Price pushed the ‘Cats in front 8-6 with 3:44 left in the opening period.
Streets returned the ensuing kick for a touchdown, but a penalty pushed the ‘Jacks back to their own 34 yard line to open the next drive. Paden City forced a three-and-out and Valley punted, but the Valley’s Joey Preat recovered a muffed punt at the Paden City 45 yard line. Streets finished off the six-play drive with a three-yard TD run and a two-point conversion to end the first period and a 14-8 Valley lead.
Palmer’s ensuing kick went into the end zone for a touchback. Heasley opened the drive with a keeper, and, after an incomplete pass, Heasley hooked up with Hizer for a first down. Cross added a 15-yard run and Heasley connected with Luke Cooper for a six-yard grab. Meanwhile, Cross netted two yards and on fourth down and three and Paden City called time out.
After the break, Heasley scampered for a first down. The combination of Heasley-to-Hizer went for 15 yards and another set of downs. After two incomplete passes, Heasley spotted Price open for a nice 25-yard TD pas to give the visitors a 22-14 lead after the successful Cooper conversion catch. The nice 13-play, 80-yard drive ended at the 6:11 mark of the second period.
Valley started its next series at its own 40 yard line, but the drive stalled and the ‘Jacks had to punt. Paden City would start its next drive at the 38 yard line. After an incomplete pass and a modest Hizer catch, Heasley hooked up on a pretty 38-yard catch to Craig Allen. Hizer ran a sweep for nine yards and Heasley scampered for a first down at Valley’s nine yard line.
Heasley hit Allen for another TD and then hooked up with Cross on the two-point conversion to go up 24-10 to end a seven-play 63-yard drive.
The Lumberjacks’ Taylor Bates returned the ensuing kick to Valley’s own 39 yard line. Streets opened the drive with a three-yard run and Palmer added two more, before Streets moved the chains on a 10-yard run.
The ‘Cats Spencer Billings sacked Streets for a six-yard loss and Cross intercepted Streets at the 40 yard line with .54 seconds remaining in the half. After a Heasley-to-Cross 35-yard pitch-and-catch, the Wildcats used some trickery, as Heasley threw a pass backwards to Hizer, who tossed it back to Heasley for 14 yards and .35 seconds remaining.
After three straight incomplete passes, Heasley would be sacked by a host of Lumberjacks to end the first half.
After receiving the second half kick, Streets was picked off by Heasley, who took it to the house on a 32-yard run and a Paden City 30-14 lead with only .15 seconds run off the clock.
The ‘Jacks used a little trickery of their own on the ensuing kick. Kale Lloyd pitched it over to Streets at the 42 yard line. Valley went four-and-out, giving the ball back to Paden City on downs at the 9:37 mark of the second period.
The Lumberjacks forced a three-and-out and a Wildcats punt for the first time in the game. However, the ‘Cats’ defense forced another Valley three-and-out and a Valley punt.
Paden City went right to work and would put it into the end zone on a Hizer 40-yard run that capped off a six-play, 59-yard drive with 4:33 left in period three. After yet another three-and-out, Paden went right back to work offensively. But, again, the Lumberjack defense held the Wildcats to a second back-to-back three-and-out with 1:20 left in the third and Valley took over at their 20 yard line.
On the second play of the drive, Paden City’s Allen picked off Streets and returned it to the 13 yard line. Cooper and Heasley hooked up on an eight-yard pitch-and-catch to end the period.
Cross got a first down and Heasley then was tackled for a three- yard loss on a nice stop by Trey Smith. Valley was called for pass interference and Heasley ended the drive with a three-yard TD run. Cooper’s conversion kick was blocked by a host of ‘Jacks and Paden City increased its advantage to 42-14.
Streets returned the ensuing kick back to Valley’s own 30 yard line. He then scrambled for 11 yards and a first down. Streets would be picked off once more by Hizer, but a roughing the passer penalty gave Valley a new set of downs.
After a nice 40-yard first-down run by Streets, Palmer would cap off the drive with a three-yard TD run for the final points of the game.
For the Lumberjacks, Streets rushed for 84 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Palmer garnered 51 yards and one TD. Midcap added 32 yards on seven carries. Streets was 0-12 and Tyler Kocher was 0-1. Heasley was 18-33 for 234 yards and two TDs through the air, while rushing for 18 yards and a TD.
Cross accumulated 86 yards on the ground, while Hizer accounted for 24 yards. Cross added 94 yards receiving, while Hizer tacked on 56 yards. Cooper hauled in passes for 32 yards, while Price nabbed 52 yards.
Allen caught two passes for 19 yards and a score. Paden City doubled up Valley in first downs 16-8, while Valley was penalized seven times for 56 lost yards and Paden city was caught four times for only 20 yards lost.
Defensively, the Lumberjacks Taylor Bates hauled down 14 Wildcats, with nine being solo, and three for loss of yardage, while Marion Thomas brought down 10. Streets, Lloyd and Hayden Lancaster each made five tackles, while Jeremy Bucher tackled four, including a quarterback sack.
After starting the season, 5-0, the Lumberjacks lost their final five for a .500 season, will lose Palmer, Bates, Lancaster, Daniel Sell, Donald Smith, Tyler Williams and Travis Slater to graduation.
The Wildcats defensively, were paced by Bates with 14 tackles, and Denton Thomas with 10, while Lancaster, Streets and Lloyd each recorded five tackles. Jeremy Bucher drilled four ‘Jack ball carriers and recorded a sack. The Wildcats will lose seven, including Cross, Allen, Heasley, Thomas, Billings, Matthew Greathouse and Kane Pyles to graduation.