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Padlow piling up the numbers, wins as Donahue QB

By Rich Stevens, Assistant sports editor
Bishop Donahue’s Jesse Padlow

Don’t be fooled by the wiry frame of Bishop Donahue quarterback Jesse Padlow, who already has proven he can sling the football with the best of them.

What might throw a wrench into somebody’s characterization of the 6-foot-1 1/2, 155-pounder is his astute knowledge of the game that has helped continue Donahue’s success.

“We’ve been blessed in the last four years to have intelligent people who have manned our quarterback spot,” said Donahue coach John Durdines, who is 68-58 entering his 13th season with the Bishops. He was 0-10 in his first campaign in 2002. “Jesse is great at pre- and post-snap reads. He can get audibles away from the line of scrimmage.”

Bishop Donahue opens the season with a 7 p.m. game Aug. 29 at Cameron.

The Donahue quarterback is never close to the line, setting up in the pistol formation, which ideally suits the needs of Padlow.

Last season, he completed 153-of-264 passes for 2,468 yards with 24 touchdowns and only five interceptions. Perhaps, not coincidentally, three of his picks came in the postseason at Williamstown in windy conditions in a 54-12 defeat. “I couldn’t complete a pass that game,” he said.

He had little problem completing passes in his other 11 games, marking the first two playoff games with Padlow at QB in his second season as a starter. The Bishops won a first-round playoff game at Man (21-16), which was only the second loss of the season for the Hillbillies.

Padlow’s responsibilities will likely expand in 2014 while he is tutored by former Donahue QB Michael Angalich for the third consecutive season. This time the Bishops don’t want to just reach the second round, Durdines said his team has bigger things in mind for his quarterback and the overall team success.

And, in Donahue’s wide-open offensive attack, that might not be a problem.

“Michael is pushing post-snap reads for Jesse and a lot of times you don’t see that until the next level,” Durdines said.

Padlow might be a little ahead of the curve, anyway, recalling audibling out of a play against Wheeling Central that resulted in a touchdown in a 33-32 win over Northern Panhandle parochial rival Wheeling Central. He said he “audibled about 10 times that game.”

One of the issues, both coach and quarterback admit, is the lack of mass on the slightly-built star player.

While eating “a lot” of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have helped minimally, Padlow said his size hasn’t been a hindrance, even if he’s reminded of it.

“People tell me about it, so it’s in the back of my head,” Padlow said. “I don’t think it hurts me at all.”

What can be an issue, Padlow admits, is the potentially blustery conditions that are presented to a passing team in the playoffs. While Durdines said his team ran the ball 57 percent of the time last season, many of those came in the second half of blowouts as Donahue won its eight games by an average score of 32.8-11.8.

That means, the closer the game, the more Donahue has to pass, the more weather — much like at Williamstown last year — plays a role. There’s also the issue of playing three home games on Saturday at Monarch Field, the home of Class AAA John Marshall. That gives opponents who play on Friday night the opportunity to spend Saturday scouting something not many Class A teams do — throw the ball.

“I think it gets hard because teams get better,” Padlow said. “Coaches can know our go-to plays, like on third-and-5. But, if I see them cheating where the play would be going, I’ll audible a post up the middle or something. I don’t know.”

That’s where it could get tricky for Donahue foes who think they know what’s coming from the much-improved Padlow. He knows what is expected of him and said there are a couple more steps his team has to make before he considers his senior season a success. After reaching the state playoff quarterfinals in 2013, he can see what is possible.

“It feels good to make the playoffs,” he said. “Everybody else in the state are sitting on their couches waiting to play basketball and we’re still playing football.

“The thing that will help us is we have so much playoff experience,” he said. “We were 6-4 my sophomore year. We didn’t make the playoffs, but we had like six or seven sophomores on the field at the time.”

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at richstevens@dailymailwv.com or 304-348-4837. Follow him on Twitter @richdailymail


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