Wildcats Tame Bishops In Season Finale, 20-6
Paden City was able to win its final game of the season Friday night with a 20-6 victory over visiting Bishop Donahue.
As expected, Wes Cosper was one of the main standouts for Coach Brent Croasmun’s Wildcats, but they were graced with the presence of Malakai Anderson who returned from a broken arm received in their game against Cameron.
“He practiced all week,” said Croasmun. “His timing was off a little bit between him and the receivers, but they put an extra man in the box against us and played without a safety.
“We tried to take advantage of that a couple of times, but he was just off a little bit. We did complete a couple big passes when we needed to, but we weren’t going to start taking chances until we got a comfortable lead.”
Even so, Anderson on the field meant that Bishop Donahue would have to key on him as well, making Cosper’s role a little less challenging.
The results soon showed as Cosper took the ball on a handoff and ran 63 yards for a touchdown four minutes into the game. His kick made it 7-0 in favor of the ‘Cats.
The cards looked even better when the Bishops fumbled the ensuing kickoff, giving the ‘Cats great field position after Geoffrey Bidwell recovered.
On first down, Anderson hit Cosper down the sideline with a 23-yard pass to set up Paden City in the red zone. A few plays later, Anderson kept the ball around the right side before making a move on the perimeter to take it into the end zone. Cosper’s kick made it 14-0 before half of the quarter was completed.
“That was real important,” said Croasmun. “We definitely had momentum early.”
Bishop Donahue came back in the second quarter to make it a one possession game as the leading rusher in Class A, Matt Schrump, pushed the ball down to the one on a 30-yard gain.
The Bishops scored soon after, but couldn’t make the point after and the Wildcats held a strong 14-6 lead.
Scoring was limited from there on out, with only the Wildcats able to light up the scoreboard for the rest of the game. That came in the third quarter as they put together one last successful drive.
With everyone concentrated on Cosper, Taylor Still was able to take advantage on an option play as he took the early handoff. Anderson and Cosper ran the option to the opposite side, but when the Bishops figured out they didn’t have the ball, it was too late and Still was celebrating 15 yards away in the end zone.
The point after was no good, but in the end it wouldn’t matter as the Wildcats were victorious on senior night with a 20-6 victory over their Mason-Dixon Conference rival.
“After the game there was a lot of emotion in the locker room,” said Croasmun. “There was a lot of happiness, but there was also a lot of sadness. We had some guys shedding tears because they knew it was their last game for Paden City High School.
“We’re disappointed we didn’t get a chance to play this week in the playoffs. But I told the kids for as small of a school as we are and with only 21 kids on the football team, to finish where we did was quite an accomplishment for the team.”
Cosper finished with 148 yards on 23 carries with a touchdown in his final game wearing the green and white. He finishes the season with a second-consecutive year going over the 1,000 yard barrier with 1,248 yards, 6.08 yards per carry, and 15 touchdowns.
He had one completion in the game that was good for 10 yards on an important fourth down.
If you throw in his passing stats, he has an additional 95 yards passing on completing nine-of-22 attempts, while receiving 15 balls thrown his way for 163 yards and two more touchdowns.
Still finished the game running the ball five times for 38 yards and a score. He ends the season with 378 yards and 4.7 yards per carry.
Anderson was in the red rushing as a result of a couple quarterback sacks, but finished the season with 240 yards and four touchdowns. He completed 49 passes out of 95, good for 612 yards and three touchdowns.
Senior Ricky Wright caught one pass for 29 yards to lead the ‘Cats. He finished his year with eight receptions for 105 yards and one score.
Ronnie Blatt, also a senior, caught one for 12 yards. He was the leading receiver for Paden City on the season with 18 receptions and 266 yards and converting four 2-point conversions.
Josh Bennett caught three for 18 yards and finished the season with 160 yards on 14 catches.
Chaz Heasley also caught a pass in the game good for 15 yards.
Overall, the Wildcats had 14 first downs against the Bishops.
Defensively, Still lead the Wildcats with nine solo tackles, two of them coming for a loss. Cosper had eight, Wright and Chris Loy each had six. Wright also had a quarterback sack, giving him six on the season, while Bennett had an interception and Bidwell had a fumble recovery.
“I’m proud of the kids for what they accomplished this year,” said an emotional Croasmun. “Some of the seniors have been with me for four years.
“When they were freshmen, they took a lot of lumps and a lot of beatings. They survived those early years and I thought they finished pretty strong.
“Hopefully the younger kids can look at the examples that the seniors set for them and hopefully work hard to get better next year.
“I’m going to miss those seniors, that’s for sure. More than anything including missing being their coach, I’m going to miss watching them play.”