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Football: Playoff Positioning at Stake for Blue Dons, Cee-Bees

Two W.Va. Class A teams meet Friday

November 3, 2011
By RICK THORP , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

BLACKSVILLE - While Weirton Madonna and Clay-Battelle both stand on firm playoff ground heading into their Friday night encounter, there's still plenty at stake for both schools.

For the Blue Dons (6-3) - 10th in the latest West Virginia Class A ratings - a victory could provide them with enough points to earn one more game at venerable Jimmy Carey Stadium.

The Cee-Bees (8-1) - seventh in the Class A ratings - could improve their standing with a victory, or see their shot at a home game disappear.

Both coaches - Madonna's Doug Taylor and Clay-Battelle's Ryan Wilson - recognize the importance of the game, but at the same time are trying to keep things business as usual.

''We've talked, as a team, the past two weeks about these games and considering them playoff games,'' Taylor said. ''We know that by winning both we can control ourselves and what we want to do.''

The Blue Dons have won three of their last four, with the only loss coming against unbeaten Wahama.

Last week, Toronto fell prey to Madonna, 19-6, in the final game at Clarke Hinkle Field.

''Coach (Eric) Meek has a good team and we worked through some adversity,stuck with it, and we stuck to the gameplan,'' Taylor, in his first season guiding the Blue Dons, said.

The injury bug has bit the Blue Dons hard in recent weeks.

Sophomore Nick Ossman will be out again for Madonna, while quarterback Ross Comis and running back Christian Roe remain questionable.

Senior Ryan Mozingo and sophomore Eliott Nero will be asked to do a little more, while Garrett Hypes, who filled in for Comis last week, will be called on, if needed.

''Every one of them gets the same amount of reps,'' Taylor said. ''They're all up to snuff with what they're doing and we're real confident with all of them.

''As for Hypes, he handled all of our 7-on-7 camps. He knows the offense. He's a junior and we have the utmost confidence in him.

''Offensively, we'll establish the run and try to get play-action off of that.''

Wilson, in his 17th season at the Cee-Bees' helm, has been awed with what he's seen from Madonna, on film and in person.

''They impressed me with their team speed,'' said Wilson, who will taking Clay-Battelle to the playoffs for the eighth time and sixth time in the last eight seasons.

''Their offensive line seems to move well, too.

''And the Comis kid ... he's just a player. He does it all. And he doesn't go down easy.''

The Cee-Bees, in their first season as OVAC members, have won eight straight after opening with a loss against Bishop Donahue.

During the first seven games of the streak, Clay-Battelle posted five shutouts, including three in a row.

That string came to an end last week as the Cee-Bees edged Notre Dame 21-20 in overtime.

''We've been stressing to our kids since Day 1 a list of things we had to improve on this season,'' Wilson said. ''And we've done them.

''Extra points was one of them and it paid off last week.''

Wilson said his team has exceeded expectations and has gained confidence with each victory.

''We have a young club and the senior class has been tremendous in their leadership,'' he said.

Sophomore Tristan Haught guides the Cee-Bees offense. Derek Hinkle is a threat at running back, with Tre Swaniger and Jacoby Steele also providing plenty of punch.

''They have a good mix of youth and maturity,'' Taylor said of the Cee-Bees. ''And they do a good job running the ball.''

At receiver, C-B has a mix of talent.

''From one game to another I don't know who will catch the most passes,'' Wilson said. ''From game to game it's been different kids making plays.

''And the offensive line, I can't say enough about it. They've worked really well together and they've been injury-free.

''Hopefully, we'll be able to continue that.''

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