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FOOTBALL LOOKAHEAD: Cameron, Paden City Both Having Growing Pains

September 26, 2012
By TRACY WATSON , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

West Virginia small-school rivals Cameron and Paden City will meet Friday night at Berger Field in a match up that has the Wildcats coming off their first victory of the season and the Dragons trying to rebound from a blasting against powerful Weirton Madonna.

Coach Brent Croasmun, who has a small roster consisting primarily of sophomores and freshmen, watched him team score more points in a 46-40 victory against Hundred than it did in the first four games of the season, combined.

"That was a big boost for us," Croasmun mentioned.

Meanwhile, Jim Rogers' Dragons fell behind early and never recovered in dropping a 60-14 decision to the Blue Dons on the home turf last week.

The biggest thing the two squads have in common is that both are being led by impressive young, sophomore quarterbacks in Cameron's 6-foot-8 Logan Routt and Paden City sophomore Zach Heasley, who has missed a couple games with an injury.

Routt has thrown for just under 1,000 yards through five games with seven touchdowns and nine interceptions while Heasley has gotten it done more with his legs, rushing for over 500 yards and the ability to find the end zone.

However, the biggest difference may be the Dragons' depth in the running game with junior Hunter Yoders and sophomore Devin Starcher both running well and taking pressure off of Routt.

Senior Mark Walker is one of the finest receivers in the valley and has 23 grabs for 367 yards and a score for Cameron while junior Shane Williams has added 16 catches for 249 and a pair of six-pointers.

The Dragons' struggled mightily defensively against Madonna, allowing 334 infantry stripes and 120 through the air.

"They are a much improved team and have a very balanced attack," Croasmun said of Cameron. "They run and pass the ball very well, I think they just have more athletes and they have done a nice job improving themselves.

Heasley has some talented wide outs in Drew Bidwell, the only senior on the rosters and sophomores Kennedy Cain and Craig Allen, who also carries the ball, and freshman Deven Price.

Sophomore Brandon Cross has done a fine job replacing the graduated Taylor Still, rushing for over 600 yards and having a good nose for the end zone. Cross had an outstanding night against the Hornets, finishing with 214 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

In all, Paden City racked up nearly 500 yards of offense, and played the fourth quarter with just 11 healthy players.

"Yeah, it was a difficult situation, but with a few injuries we were down to just 11 players in the fourth quarter," Croasmun admitted.

"But we will have most of them back this week and expect to dress 16 or 17 kids."

Defense has also been a problem for the 'Cats who had been outscored by a whopping 193-34 margin before last week's turnaround. Bidwell and freshman Logan Carroll lead the stop-troops.

"Paden City has some talented kids, but Brent's (Croasmun) biggest problem is that he doesn't have enough kids," Rogers said. "They have a quarterback who throws a nice ball and the Cross kid is a good running back."

"We played against these kids a couple of years ago in junior high and we know what they are capable of. Brent is an upbeat kind of guy and they will be alright.

"Our game plan is to just play a complete game, which we haven't done all season long. We have played three state-ranked teams already, and Madonna was a very good team, but we just want to take them one game at a time and look forward to the second part of the schedule.

"The biggest thing we need to do for that to happen is to play complete games and eliminate mistakes."

Croasmun was happy with how many people got involved in his team's win.

"Zach Heasley had a nice game in only his second complete game of the year and Cross had another solid game for us," Croasmun added. "But we had a lot of other kids involved and was pretty balanced overall."

The teams have split their previous two meeting with Cameron recording a 35-14 win last year and Paden City winning 19-0 in 2010.

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