John Durdines and the Bishop Donahue coaching staff were in attendance last Friday night when Valley chewed up more than 400 yards on the ground against Notre Dame. That certainly raised a few eyebrows, but so did the result of the contest.
The Fighting Irish erased a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit on their way to a 3-0 record. They'll entertain the Bishops (2-1) at 7:30 on Friday night.
''(They've) fallen behind in every game we've seen, but they don't quit,'' Durdines cautioned. ''That's one thing I have been trying to preach to the kids.
''We need to put that hammer down, and I think that's something we didn't do well against St. John.''
Durdines is referring to a a 26-6 road victory last Saturday in a driving rain storm.
''We got up 20-0 and kind of coasted,'' the coach said. ''That's when turnovers started happening.
''Hopefully we get back into it because Notre Dame is always going to be tough.''
It looks like the Bishops are going to catch a break with the return of their starting quarterback, junior Jesse Padlow, who has been near perfect this season throwing the football. He missed last week's game after taking a nasty hit trying to score in a loss to Clay-Battelle.
''Jesse is progressing real well,'' Durdines said. ''We're real optimistic about playing this week and he's going to be a hard kid to keep out for very long.
''He's one of the toughest kids I have ever had here.''
In his stead, senior Hunter Kaschke led the way to victory, managing a ground game that ran up more than 400 yards and throwing a touchdown pass to Jared Yates. Yates was filling the void left by injured do-it-all Lavonte Hampton, who is extremely doubtful to play again this week.
''He's a senior and it's his time to step up,'' Durdines said of Kaschke. ''Yates, he's come up huge, especially with Lavonte going down.
''He had a big interception, a big touchdown catch and another interception called back. He's no longer a basketball player playing football. He's a football player who is going to play basketball sometime in December.''
Given the weather, Bishop Donahue elected to keep the football on the ground against St. John. Emerging as a serious threat was junior Matt Vucelik, who carried eight times for 115 yards and scored on runs of 5, 64 and 54 yards.
''Matt really stepped up, but it ended up being across the board,'' Durdines said. ''Alex Riedel did unbelievable lead blocking for him, and we have switched those guys in an out as the fullback.''
It was unknown whether Andrew Cunningham was going to play because of a separated shoulder. All he did was carry the football 25 times for 176 yards.
''Andrew Cunningham did a great job,'' the coach said.
The Bishops will have to be at their best against a second straight Fighting Irish opponent. As is the case with every game, this one will be won and lost up front.
''The line is really starting to come together and working as a unit,'' Durdines said. ''They are starting to get better sustaining their blocks.
''It's hard to get a guy to understand to sustain until you hear the whistle.''