Taylor, Madonna Push for Title

WEIRTON – In coaching football, you can usually take one of two paths.

One option is being a fiery, in-your-face type like maybe a Mike Ditka, Bill Parcells or Jon Gruden.

The other is the mild-mannered approach like, say, a Tom Landry or Bill Walsh.

On the surface, Madonna coach Doug Taylor looks more like a Landry type. But he has his moments.

”Sometime he gets really fired up,” Blue Dons quarterback Ross Comis said during a break in a Madonna practice this week. ”Most people get fired up if something goes wrong.

”But he’s just a humble guy and a great coach and a great guy.”

It’s been a whirlwind couple of years for Taylor, who finally is getting his spot in the limelight after years of toiling as an assistant coach.

But he really doesn’t want any part of the limelight. It’s the kids whom he wants to see get the attention.

”I really don’t think about it too much,” said Taylor, who guided West Virginia in the Rudy Mumley OVAC All-Star Charity Football Classic in July. ”I’m really trying to get the kids a state title. They’ve worked really hard and they’ve done everything I’ve asked of them.

”It’s all about those kids.”

The Blue Dons will aim for their third West Virginia Class A state title, and second in four years, at 7 on Saturday night against Wahama in the Super Six finale at Wheeling Island Stadium.

”It’s super,” Taylor said. ”I’m just happy for these kids. They’ve worked so hard. And I’m happy for the school.”

He’s also happy for Weirton and Hancock County.

”They’ve been great and they’ve been following us,” he said.

”At Tucker County we had a great turnout. It almost felt like a home game for us. (Our fans) were just as loud as Tucker County’s.”

Taylor was well-versed in the program’s support when he applied for the job of head coach last year. In fact, it was one of the big draws.

”I knew they had a great tradition here and a reputation for having hard-working kids and that’s what it’s all about,” he said. ”If you can get the right coaching staff that’s willing to work together and you get the right group of kids that’s willing to work hard you’re gonna be successful.”

Taylor’s paid his dues, too.

Prior to arriving at Madonna, he served as Oak Glen’s offensive coordinator for two years. Prior to that, he spent nearly a decade at Weir, serving as the Red Riders’ offensive coordinator the last few years, including on the 2005 Class AA championship team.

So, he’s been in the big games before. Will it make a difference this week? He hopes so.

”I think it helps,” Taylor said. ”Most everyone (on our staff) except one coach has been involved in the Super Six. As a staff, we’re pretty keen on what happens from here on out.

”But, Wahama has been there, too.”

That’s true. But the Blue Dons will be playing on the Wheeling Island Stadium turf for the second time this season and in the title game for the third time in five years.

Bob Kramer guided the Blue Dons to their last state title in 2009. If Madonna wins, Taylor will be the third coach to lead the school to a title.

”Madonna has a lot of tradition and Coach Kramer did a great job,” Taylor said of his predecessor. ”He revived it. He and his coaching staff at that time did a wonderful job … a miraculous job of getting kids to believe in the program, getting wins, getting into the playoffs and winning a state title.

”My hat’s off to him and all the hard work he did.

”I’m just gonna try and take it from here.”