John Bruce, Contributor
BAINBRIDGE — Bryce Newland and Cruz McFadden have made key plays together throughout their high school careers.
But they may have made their biggest play together, to knock off a very solid Newark Catholic team, on Friday night.
Trailing 27-21 with 3:02 remaining, the Green Wave (1-2) used its final timeout with Paint Valley facing a 3rd and 17 from the NC 29-yard line. Some coaches would’ve opted to run the ball in an attempt to run time off the clock.
But not the Bearcats’ Pete Hollon.
“Coach was pretty dead-set on what we were running, because when they called that timeout, he told us right away what play we were going to run. He seemed pretty confident that we were going to execute. Me and Cruz, and the line and the whole team felt confident about it as well,” Newland said following the game.
The play was a beautifully designed corner route where Newland dropped a dime to McFadden, extending the Bearcats’ late lead to 33-21, which would also be the final score.
Even before the clutch connection between Newland and McFadden, the SOSA Game of the Week lived up to its pregame hype.
After holding the Green Wave to a three-and-out to begin the game, the Bearcats (2-1) drove 70 yards in seven plays, finishing it on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Newland to McFadden. Jackson Williams converted the PAT to put the black and yellow ahead 7-0.
Early in the second quarter, the Green Wave blasted a 66-yard punt that was downed at the Bearcats’ 10-yard line. Paint Valley scored one play later as Brayden Ison reversed field, broke a tackle and outran everyone for a 90-plus-yard score.
With the momentum seemingly squarely with the Bearcats, Newark Catholic’s Derek Hawk brought his team right back into things.
The speedy H-back broke off a long kickoff return and followed it up with a lengthy run that set up the Green Wave’s first score, one where quarterback Matt Carlisle hit Slater Evans on a 19-yard slant to nibble into the Bearcats’ lead. The PAT was good and the lead was cut to 13-7.
|NEWARK CATHOLIC||PAINT VALLEY|
The teams traded punts before the Bearcats took back control right before the half. Lane Mettler then plunged in from three yards out to give the Bearcats a 19-7 lead at the break.
Only eight plays into the second half, it appeared that the Bearcats had put the game away when Mettler finished off the team’s opening drive from one yard out. Once again, the Bearcats couldn’t convert the PAT, but they still had a 25-7 lead
But a proud program like Newark Catholic doesn’t just go away. The Green Wave proved it on its next drive. Going 72 yards over seven plays, a drive that finished when Carlisle hit Evans again on a slant, this time from 30 yards out, the Green Wave cut the lead to 25-14.
The Bearcats stalled on offense, but a Cordell Grubb punt would be downed at the Green Wave three-yard line. That set up the Bearcats’ next score. Carlisle dropped back to pass and was sacked in the end zone by Tramel Byrd to put the Bearcats up 27-14 going into the fourth.
On the next drive, the Bearcats punted again, with Grubb having his third punt downed inside the 20. However, this time would end in a much different way. Carlisle hit a streaking Hawk for a 61-yard touchdown with 8:30 remaining in the game.
That all set the stage for Newland and McFadden’s heroics.
The 29-yard touchdown would be the capper on the end of a long, 10-play drive that ate up nearly six minutes and put the game away.
Newland finished the game 12-of-16 passing with 165 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 25 yards on four carries while Ison led the Bearcats on the ground with 141 yards on just 10 carries. McFadden led in receiving with 124 yards on seven catches.
Newland made sure to give a shoutout to his offensive line after the Bearcats rushed for over 250 yards.
“They were spectacular tonight,” he said. “We are as good as they are. They work their butts off and you have to give all the credit to them, because without them, we couldn’t do any of the things that we can do.”
Carlisle had a very solid night for the Green Wave, completing 18-of-31 passes for 245 yards and three touchdowns. The Green Wave were held to only 79 yards on the ground.
Paint Valley is back in action next Friday, looking to improve to 3-1 while making a trip to Frankort Adena.
6:08 — PV, Newland to McFadden 19 yard pass (Jackson Williams Kick) 7-0
9:22 — PV, Ison 90 yard run (Bad Snap) 13-0
8:11 — NC, Carlyse to Evans 19 yard pass (Kick good) 13-7
1:41 — PV, Mettler 3 yard run (Run failed) 19-7
7:55 — PV, Mettler 1 yard run (Kick failed) 25-7
4:46 — NC, Carlyse to Evans 30 yard pass (Kick good) 25-14
0:12 — PV, Safety (Byrd sack) 27-14
8:30 — NC, Carlyse to Hawk 61 yard pass (Kick good) 27-21
2:55 — PV, Newland to McFadden 29 yard pass (Pass failed) 33-21