River, Donahue set to meet Saturday night in Moundsville
MOUNDSVILLE – One of the more anticipated matchups of Week 2 will take plavce Saturday night at Monarch Stadium where Bishop Donahue will play host to River.
The two teams have met in the preseason the past few years and are now making their annual meeting a little more meaningful.
The two coaches – the Pilots’ Mike Flannery and the Bishops’ John Durdines – have plenty of mutual respect for each other and their programs and have each built two of the steadier units in the valley recently.
The Bishops are coming off an impressive 48-12 pasting of Marshall County rival Cameron in the McDonald’s OVAC Kickoff Night at Wheeling Island Stadium. Meanwhile, River traveled to Fort Frye and came up short, 23-17.
Despite the loss, Flannery was pleased with his team’s effort in going up against one of the most highly-touted squads in the OVAC and the region right off the bat.
“My feeling going into the season was we were a pretty good team and our kids proved that,” he said.
“Give (Chandler) Lang credit. He single-handedly beat us.”
The Pilots were up against it in a lot of ways, but nevertheless, they held their own. And Flannery was happy with his team’s poise on both sides of the ball.
Offensively, Jordan Sapp rushed for 150 yards on 21 carries and Bryce Cross added some key yardage and blocks to aid in the effort.
“We have those two guys in the backfield and I’m comfortable with the linemen we have,” Flannery said. “I was also pleased with how Joe (Flannery, the quarterback) handled the game.
“Our offensive line had a nice game. They protected the passer and we had more than 200 yards rushing and 74 passing and when we had the ball we did things with it.”
They key to Friday’s game, according to Flannery, was not getting stops defensively on third downs.
“We just can’t shoot ourselves in the foot,” he said.
River’s defensive unit won’t be able to rest against a Bishop Donahue offense that has so many weapons, most of which were on full display against the Dragons in Week 1.
“They’re so athletic,” Flannery stressed. “I was real impressed with (Jesse) Padlow’s poise throwing the ball. They understand the passing game and how to get open and anytime they put (Lavonte) Hampton back there you have to prepare for that. They have several kids who can score.”
Padlow finished 18-for-23 for 258 yards and four touchdowns, hitting seven different receivers in the process.
“That set the tone for us,” Durdines said. “It was a really strong performance. There are always a few tyings we need to go back over, but overall we were very pleased.”
The key to that success was the dominance of the Bishops’ offensive front.
“Their offensive line concerns me,” Flannery said.
Lost in the Bishops’ offensive fireworks was the way they shut down Cameron and quarterback Logan Routt, probably the tallest quarterback in West Virginia.
“It all started up front with our defensive line,” Durdines said. “They maintained their gap responsibilities, put pressure on Routt and that enabled us to be able to take away their passes. It was an overall team effort.”
Durdines said it will take that same sort of effort to slow down the Pilots this week.
“They do a lot things really well,” he said. “They move the ball really well and they’ll be prepared. It will be a really big test for us.”