Football Lookahead: Bishop Donahue Hopes to Play Madonna as Tough as Last Year

Bishop Donahue coach John Durdines didn’t mince words when talking about Friday’s opponent, Madonna.

“They are easily the best team we’ve seen all year,” Durdines said. “They are very well disciplined, very well coached and and they do the little things. All the little aspects of football, things most people don’t see, like getting down field off blocks, or wide receivers blocking well to open up big plays, they do all that stuff well.”

That, in a nutshell, Durdines said, is why the Blue Dons are 5-0 and No. 2 in the latest Class A football ratings, behind only St. Marys.

Durdines is well aware of the two-headed monster that is quarterback Ross Comis and running back Elliot Nero.

They are so talented that Durdines said there is no reason to try the old “pick your poison” with the duo.

“You can’t really concentrate on stopping one or the other, either has the ability to make the big play,” Durdines said. “You have to play fundamentally sound, maintain gap control. You have to be able to limit their successes, because they are going to have success. We have to trust the system, not get caught looking in the backfield.”

Talk about a two-headed monster.

Comis, who is one of the top players in the state in small school football, has completed 30 of 43 passes for 661 yards and eight touchdowns. He had just two interceptions. Comis also has rushed for 610 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Nero has a team-best 680 yards rushing and six touchdowns.

“They have been a great combo and we hope it does cause people some concern,” Madonna coach Doug Taylor said. “We don’t try to split their runs but if you look at it, they are pretty close.”

Bishop Donahue, though, has played Madonna well.

Last year the Bishops thought they had stolen one, but an 80-yard run cost them in a 15-14 loss.

“Just like Madonna was motivated coming into the season by their one-point loss in the state championship game, we hope we can go up there and use a little motivation from our one-point loss last year,” Durdines said. “We know we really have to bring our ‘A’ game to go up there and come out with a win.”

It’s not like Bishop Donahue’s well is dry. Despite a 3-2 start, the Dons are No. 18 in the state.

The Bishops return quarterback Jesse Padlow, who has completed 51 of 76 passes for 715 yards and seven scores.

Donahue had been besieged by injuries early in the season and lost to Clay-Battelle and Notre Dame.

“We are pretty close to healthy now,” Durdines said.

Taylor knows the Bishops are capable of picking up what, at this point, would be a huge victory. They have Padlow, a compatible line and are, as Durdines suggested, getting back to good health.

“They have great size, they have great speed,” Taylor said. “I know they have been banged up but I expect to see a fully healthy team. Donahue always plays us well. I’ve been here three years and it’s always a competitive game. We know we are going to see their A game and we have to be ready for that.”

Bishop has lost to Clay Battelle, No. 10 in Class A and Notre Dame, No. 12, and in neither game was Bishop Donahue at full strength.

The injuries, one way or another, won’t effect Donahue, Durdines said.

“We have had to play freshmen in some places where you probably don’t want to have to do that,” the coach said. “But the fact is, we’re five games in now. You have to get to a point where you go from saying a mistake is made because it’s a freshman to taking responsibility and being accountable and our young kids are starting to learn that.”