RINE: Class A Football Proved It’s Legit

WHEELING – There is a common belief throughout our state that Class A football is somehow of lesser importance and that the teams and players that inhabit that classification, are somehow of lesser talent. Here’s hoping the naysayers were at Wheeling Island Stadium on Saturday night to watch Wahama and Madonna smash each other’s facemasks in for more than 48 minutes.

They will always be referred to as ‘Small School’ because of simple numbers, but what we witnessed in the White Falcons’ 43-42, overtime victory in the Class A title game, classifies as big boy football. If with a straight face you can tell me guys like Madonna’s Ross Comis, Garrett Hypes and Nick Ossman, as well as Wahama’s Zack Wamsley couldn’t play on at least the Class AA level, then there’s not much I can say.

”I think one thing that I’m noticing in Single-A football, is we’re getting better coaching here,” White Falcons coach Ed Cromley said. ”You get to spend more time with the kids because you don’t have 80 or 90 of them to be concerned with.

”When we’re getting better coaches in, the kids are getting better coaching and more individual attention.

”That’s helping these guys reach the potential they can be.”

As far as Madonna’s Doug Taylor is concerned, his club showed it can trade punches with just about anyone.

”I think that was the theme. People talked about how physical Wahama was and how they like to hit.

”We’re the same way – we can take it and we can deliver it too.

”We wanted to show we’re not a passive team. We can play it however you want to play it.”

One thing is for sure. With Wayne and Martinsburg winning by an average of 28 points, the boys from Class A by far put on the best show of the weekend. Actually, it will go down as one of the all-time Super Six greatest games – regardless of class.

Living up to the ‘Hypes’

Comis, Madonna’s quarterback-safety star, gets nearly all of the headlines for good reason – he’s one of the best players in the state. But Hypes put on a performance for the ages in defeat.

  • Hypes set up Madonna with great field position with a pair of kickoff returns.
  • He made a circus catch between two Wahama defenders to keep a drive alive.
  • The senior also made a tremendous catch, getting both feet inbounds on a leaning catch on fourth down to keep the game-tying touchdown drive alive.
  • Oh, and his name was called nearly every time Madonna made a tackle.

”We’re going to miss Garrett Hypes because he’s a great football player,” Taylor said. ”He comes up big for us when we needed him.”

Ross The Boss

There aren’t many superlatives that haven’t been used in describing Comis this season. All you really need to know about how good the kid is, is this: combining the state semifinal and title games, Madonna scored 10 touchdowns. Comis ran for seven and threw for three.

I had a conversation with a well-respected writer near the end of regulation and we agreed that although it’s extremely tough for a Class A player to win it, Comis deserves to at least be in the conversation next preseason when talking about potential Kennedy Award candidates.

Shawn Rine can be reached via e-mail at Rine@theintelligencer.net.