MOUNDSVILLE - Bishop Donahue's defense limited Madonna running backs Nick Ossman and Eliott Nero to a combined 45 yards on 12 carries Friday night at Monarch Stadium.
The problem for the Bishops, is they had game planned to try and shut down Blue Dons quarterback Ross Comis.
Comis ran for 186 yards and scored on runs of 47 and 78 yards as Madonna (5-1) handed Bishop Donahue (5-2) a 15-14 defeat. In addition, Comis intercepted a late Bishops pass and made something out of nothing off a botched snap on an extra point and completed a 2-point conversion that ended up being the difference.
Madonna QB Ross Comis spins as Bishop Donahue’s Jordan Bonar (6) attempts a tackle during action of their game Friday night. Looking on is the Blue Dons’ Tyler Ewusiak (11).
Photo by Scott McCloskey
''That was not our best performance by no way, shape or form, but I am really proud of our kids,'' Madonna coach Doug Taylor said. ''They sucked it up and found a way to win that thing against a very good football team.''
For the second time this season the Bishops are left to ponder what might have been. They jumped to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on a 63-yard touchdown pass from Jesse Padlow to Logan Herrick and an 11-yard TD run from Saquan Finley.
There wasn't much after that, though they managed 320 yards of offense. The issue for Coach John Durdines' charges was penalties, as in 11 for 75 yards, including a pair that set them back to begin fourth-quarter drives.
''You can't start drives first-and-15, and they're needless penalties,'' Durdines said. ''We're false starting, we're lining up in the wrong place. You're going to have that with a young team, but we've come too far in the last three weeks. I don't want to use that anymore.
''I've told these guys they're no longer freshmen and sophomores and juniors.''
Trailing by two scores, Madonna took the ball at its 20 with 6:52 remaining in the first half. Comis completed a pair of passes and three runs put the ball at the Bishops 47. Comis then cut through the middle and outran the defense to the end zone. The snap on the PAT was low and Comis picked it up and scrambled to the left before throwing across the field to Garrett Hypes for the 2-pointer.
''We've had a couple bad snaps (this year) and somehow he's a playmaker and just comes through for us all the time,'' Taylor said.
Madonna was its own worst enemy on the following drive. It had first-and-goal at the 9, but a personal foul put the ball back to the 26 and the drive ended up stalling just inside the 10.
The Blue Dons turned it over on their next possession but forced a punt. Taking over at his 20, Comis called his own number for a 2-yard gain and then again, this time breaking up the middle and racing toward the end zone, breaking one final tackle around the 7 and diving inside the pylon to give Madonna its fist lead with 5:15 remaining.
''They started making some adjustments and we were able to come back with that trap with Ross and he ended up running whatever it was, 70-some yards for a touchdown. It was just the perfect call at the perfect time,'' Taylor said. ''We thought maybe in the second half we could attack them directly up inside and not on the corners and worrying so much about our kicks.
''They were roughing us up a little bit, but I think by playing them and that style of football at the beginning, made us a better football team at the end.''
The Bishops' Jordan Bonar returned the ensuing kickoff to the Madonna 34, but his club was whistled for an infraction on first down. Bonar eventually picked up a first down on fourth-and-1, but with Bishop facing another fourth down, Comis picked off Padlow (10 of 18, 174 yards, two INTs) at the Madonna 20 to seal it.
''It was eerily similar to the Clay-Battelle game,'' Durdines said of the Bishops' other loss. ''(Taylor's) got a great team. There's no doubt about it. We knew Ross is a special athlete, and we actually game planned more to take him away and it just didn't work out for us.
''Our goal is to win out. Do we need to? Only time will tell.''