BLACKSVILLE - The excitement and anticipation has been building since October, until finally, at precisely 7:32 on Friday night, a new era in Clay-Battelle football kicked off at the spectacular, newly renovated and jam-packed Clay-Battelle Stadium.
The occasion was the Class A No. 6-ranked Cee-Bees' measuring-stick game against ninth-ranked Bishop Donahue.
Maybe it was the new turf, or the flowing adrenaline, but it certainly was the superior speed, quickness and physicality of the Cee-Bees that eventually overwhelmed their Marshall County rivals, leading to a dominating 35-6 triumph.
The Bishops (2-1) started quickly on offense, much to the dismay of a suddenly nervous crowd, taking the opening kick and driving to the Clay-Battelle 1. But from the shadow of their own goalposts, the hard-hitting, play-making, opportunistic C-B defenders found a way to keep Bishop out of the end zone.
When junior running back Jacoby Steele powered in from the 2 for the first score of the game late in the first quarter, the Cee-Bees (3-0) were off and running.
Led by the shifty, strong, and instinctive inventiveness of their senior quarterback, Tristan Haught, who scored on an 8-yard run midway through the second quarter and on a 33-yard scamper to begin the second half, C-B jumped to a commanding 21-0 lead.
Following a Jared Yates interception, Bishop took advantage of a series of penalties to mount its only offensive thrust of the second half, capping an 11-play drive with a short TD pass from backup quarterback Hunter Kaschke to massive tight end Chaice Truex. Starting quarterback Jesse Padlow was injured early and did not return to the game.
C-B limited the Bishops to 182 yards of offense.
Haught found senior running back Trenton Dille on a swing pass for a 21-yard score late in the third quarter, and then scored the final TD on a brilliant open-field run from 45 yards.
"The blocking was amazing all game long," said Haught, who rushed for 197 yards and threw for another 141. "It started up front, but then everybody extended their blocks to the second and third level. When I got loose, the wide receivers did a great job of finding and hitting people, giving me easy reads. This was a game we wanted real bad, and it feels great to put this first win at our new stadium in the books."
Cee-Bees coach Ryan Wilson was thrilled by the effort on both sides of the ball, and the leap in improvement from game to game to game thus far.
"We just kept making plays," he said with a smile. "Jarret Hockenberry picks off two passes, guys are making blocks and making tackles and it was different guys on every play. We were excited early on defense, and made some excited mistakes, but again, we made the plays we needed to make.''