In the midst of a six-game homestand, undefeated and No. 2-ranked Madonna turns its attention to the Bridgeport Bulldogs at 7 p.m. Friday night.
The annual game between the Blue Dons and Bulldogs has become a rivalry because for three or four years prior to 2012, the two teams went into the game either unbeaten or with one loss.
However, Bridgeport has been rebuilding the last couple of seasons and will arrive in Weirton with a 2-3 record. Madonna coach Doug Taylor has been telling his charges that records don't count in rivalry games like this one and the Bulldogs likely are still smarting from the 55-0 licking they absorbed from the Blue Dons last year.
Taylor says the scouting report on the Bulldogs shows a bit of inconsistency.
"They are a young team and young teams make mistakes and lack consistency," Taylor said. "They have won a couple of games and seem to be gaining more consistency each week."
The Bulldogs have victories against Conotton Valley and Columbiana and have lost to Toronto, Caldwell and Frontier.
The Blue Dons are fresh off a 48-6 victory against Cameron, a game in which Taylor said he and his staff got a good opportunity to see some deficiencies.
"The first thing we need to work on is eliminating penalties, I mean some of them are senseless infractions committed after the play ... " he explained. "If we are to be the team we want to be, we have to eliminate those types of penalties.
"I can take penalties caused by aggressive play, but we have to fix the senseless penalties because in a close game against a good team, it will cost us."
Another area that causes concern for Taylor is in the offensive line blocking.
"We're getting to our blocks, but we aren't holding them. We have to learn to stay on our blocks longer," Taylor said.
Taylor said the multiple offense that Bridgeport brings gives his defense quite a bit to prepare for.
"They have above-average team speed and decent size," he continued. "They will use the jet sweep, spread and just about any type of offense you can think of so our defense has to be prepared to read and adjust."
Likewise, the Bulldogs will throw different defenses at the Blue Dons so the offense has to recognize what defense Bridgeport is in because the blocking assignments are different with each one.
"Our keys this week are to eliminate penalties and stay on the blocks," Taylor said. "Our defense is playing well. I think we're holding teams to under seven points a game. The defense keeps stepping up and making plays and that has helped us a lot with field position. We have to keep up that intensity.
"We're getting into the meat of our schedule and I know it sounds like a cliche, but we have to just keep grinding it out and take them one at a time. This week we focus on Bridgeport."
Taylor has a veteran senior-oriented team that understands how to do that. The Blue Dons are led by Ross Comis, who is in his third season as the starting quarterback, along with the running of senior Eliott Nero.
Comis has 76 points on 12 rushing touchdowns and two 2-point conversions. That is in four games since Madonna had its mandatory bye week.
Comis is completing 25 of 38 for 65 percent of his passes. The 25 receptions have gone for 519 yards and six touchdowns. He has thrown two interceptions.
Nero is averaging 8.45 yards a carry with 465 yards on 55 carries. He has scored four rushing touchdowns.
Neither of the teams have played a common opponent as of yet. Madonna goes into the game scoring at a rate of 46.5 points a game while its defense has yielded 27 points in the four games.