By Kyle Lovern
November 19, 2013
Civitas News Service
MAN — The 2013 high school football season came to an end for the Man Hillbillies on Saturday afternoon with a 21-16 loss at home to Bishop Donahue in a Class A first-round playoff game at Man’s George A. Queen Memorial Field.
Man, which entered the game seeded No. 5 in the state, closed out the season with a 9-2 record. The loss to the Bishops ended the Billies’ nine-game winning streak going back to the season opener.
Bishop Donahue, seeded 12th, improved to 8-3 and will travel to No. 4 Williamstown next weekend for a second-round playoff game. Williamstown (9-2) defeated No. 13 Wheeling Central 27-25 on Friday night in a first-round game.
Man coach Harvey Arms has taken the Billies to the playoffs five times over 12 years. Man last made it in 2009 when the Billies reached the Class A state championship game and the Wheeling Super Six.
Saturday’s game between Man and Bishop Donahue was the first ever meeting between the two schools. Bishop, a private Catholic school, is located in the northern panhandle near Wheeling.
Man trailed 21-0 after three quarters and rallied late with two touchdowns and two two-point conversions but the comeback fell short.
Man took the opening possession and drove all the way to the Bishops’ 24-yard line but Billies’ QB John Thomas Keffer was intercepted by Brett Moore.
Bishop Donahue then wasted little time as QB Jesse Padlow dropped back and fired a 90-yard touchdown pass to Jared Yates to make it 7-0 with 8:57 to go in the first quarter. Padlow put up some big stats this season in Bishop Donahue’s pass-happy offense with 1,929 yards passing and 20 TDs and just two interceptions.
Man then drove the ball twice into the Bishops’ red zone in the second quarter but turned the ball over on downs at the 9. Later, Man moved it to the Bishop Donahue 7 before a holding flag moved it back to the 27 where three plays later Man turned it over on downs at the 20.
Bishop Donahue then took the ball 80 yards in a flag-riddled drive, culminating on an 18-yard TD pass from Padlow to Matthew Vucelik with about a minute to go until the half. Chaice Truex then took the direct snap and ran in a two-point conversion to make it 15-0 Bishops at the half.
Man had an opportunity in the third quarter after Mikle Scott Rowe intercepted Padlow but the Billies turned the ball over on downs at the Bishop 42-yard line after a swing pass to Braden Griffin went for a 2-yard loss.
The Billies’ Cayce Mullins then jumpstarted Man with a 35-yard punt return to the Bishops’ 38 but Bishop Donahue’s defense again stopped the Billies as Keffer was sacked on a fourth-and-four play at the BD 17-yard line.
The Bishops then burned Man’s secondary on the very next play with an 80-yard touchdown pass from Padlow to Yates late in the third quarter to make it 21-0. Griffin blocked the extra point attempt.
The Billies got on the scoreboard with 9:13 left in the game with Keffer’s 14-yard TD run on a fourth-and-five play. Keffer then connected with Cayce Mullins on the two-point conversion as Man cut the deficit to 21-8.
Man then looked to get even closer.
The Billies did just that and made it a one-score game as Keffer hit Griffin with a 50-yard screen pass for a touchdown with 3:53 left in the game. Keffer ran in the two-point conversion as Man cut it to 21-16.
Man then attempted an on-sides kick but the Bishops recovered the ball near midfield.
Bishop Donahue then moved the chains with three first downs and were able to milk much of the remaining clock.
The Bishops were stopped on a fourth-and-goal play at the Man 2 as the Billies got the ball back with 25 seconds left in the game.
Keffer was able to complete two passes to Tracy Jones but the Billies ran out of time as Man’s season came to a close. Keffer was sacked on the last play.