MOUNDSVILLE - St. John Central coach Jason Merryman will look across the field Saturday night at Bishop Donahue and see exactly what he is trying to build with the Fighting Irish.
It wasn't that long ago when numbers where down at Bishop Donahue and the Bishops were looked upon as an easy victory. Now they are a perennial playoff team.
''They are winning on a consistent basis and they expect to win now,'' Merryman said. ''That is what we are trying to imitate here. We come from the same mold with being two Catholic schools with small numbers.''
St. John's Devon Hennesy
Bishop Donahue's Saquan Hill
A victory at Monarch Field would go a long way for a team that has already surprised many with a 2-1 start that could easily be 3-0 with a couple bounces the other way.
''We are gaining confidence but we still have to cut down on the penalties,'' Merryman said. ''We had 12 penalties for 135 yards (in last week's victory vs. Paden City) and those are the mental mistakes that you can't have and expect to beat a team like Bishop Donahue.
''We know what a win would do for our program against a great team like Bishop Donahue.''
The Fighting Irish used the hot hand of Nick Cervelli, who rushed 10 times for 106 yards against Paden City. Devon Hennessy had three carries for 53 yards and two scores, while quarterback D.J. Shoemaker also scored twice.
But while Bishop Donahue coach John Durdines applauds the hard work the St. John players have shown, don't expect the veteran coach to be doing too much patting on the back. He expects his team to come out and do what they do in trying to win this week.
Last week the Bishops bounced back from a loss to Clay-Battelle to pound Beallsville.
Jordan Bonar had 20 carries for 97 yards and a touchdown, while also catching all four of quarterback Jesse Padlow's completions for 96 yards and two touchdowns. His backmate, Saquan Hill, rushed 20 times for 124 yards and two scores.
''I thought we came out a little more focused,'' Durdines said. ''We shot ourselves in the foot against Clay-Battelle and we wanted to be more shaper. I loved the intensity we showed by matching Beallsville's intensity.
''(Bonar and Hill) are two seniors that have been through the good times the past few years and now it's their turn to shine. They certainly play off each other.''
Durdines raved about the unselfishness. During a drive against the Blue Devils, Hill drove the team down the field but when it was time to get a breather and switch backs, Bonar felt it was Hill that did most of the work and he deserved to finish the drive and score.
The two-headed monster will likely be a major part of the plan in trying to improve to 3-1.
''St. John is an improved team with the addition of some really good ballplayers,'' Durdines said. ''They have made great strides and that comes with the effort they have always given.
''They are starting to do things well and its nice to see them pick up some wins. We have never taken them lightly and we don't expect to this week. They are as good as any team we've faced and we have a lot of respect for them.''