Football: Madonna Punches Super Six Ticket
WEIRTON – Momentum seems to be everything in high school football.
Especially when you reach the semifinal round of the playoffs.
No. 1-seeded Madonna will be the first to agree to that after it beat No. 4 Williamstown, 48-28, on Friday night.
The Yellowjackets (10-3) marched right through the Blue Dons defense on the opening drive of the second half to tie the game at 21-21.
Madonna (13-0), though, was penalized with a personal foul after a 4-yard touchdown catch by Brandon Root from Jake Tracewell when Will Boswer laid a hit on Root after the play ended.
Then, to make matters worse for the Blue Dons, they were flagged for another personal foul when someone ran into the holder on the PAT attempt.
Both penalties combined to move the ball to the Madonna 30 for the ensuing kickoff.
Williamstown and coach Terry Smith, who had every bit of momentum on their side, decided to try an onside kick.
”We figured the worse that could happen was they could recover it,” Smith said. ”That would be better field position than every time we kicked.”
Turns out that wasn’t the worst thing that could happen for the Yellowjackets.
Not only did Madonna’s Will Bowser recover the ball, he turned upfield and took it 77 yards for a touchdown.
”I was thinking of just falling down at first, but I saw a hole and just cut it right up,” Bowser said. ”I knew no one was going to stop me after that.
”Once I see a bounce, I’m used to baseball. Any kind of ball that’s in the air, I just go get it. I guess I just got lucky with the bounce.”
Not only did that score put the Blue Dons back in front 28-21, it sparked a resurgence for the undefeated OVAC Class A champions as they scored twice more within a span of nearly five minutes to go up 42-21.
”You never look at two personal foul penalties as working in your favor, but somehow that worked in our favor,” Madonna coach Doug Taylor said.
The Blue Dons didn’t look like their typical selves as they started the game fumbling three out of the first seven times they touched the ball.
The third, which sailed overtop quarterback Ross Comis’ head, was recovered by the Yellowjackets’ Blake Eddy at the Blue Dons’ 37.
The turnover led to a Williamstown touchdown and put Madonna, a team that hardly ever had to play from behind this season, in an early 7-0 hole.
”I’m not sure what happened,” Taylor said. ”We were moving the ball on the opening drive then the fumble off the high snap kinda screwed it up.
”There was never really a doubt in our offense, it was just the fact that the kids needed to settle down.”
After Bowsers’ return, the Blue Dons finally seemed to get their feet on the ground.
The defense came up with its second three-and-out of the game to give the Madonna offense the ball at its own 47.
Following a 27-yard run by Elliot Nero, who totaled 100 on 11 carries, Comis found the end zone from 13 yards out.
Nate Guio then recovered a Yellowjackets’ fumble on their next drive and Comis, again, turned the next Blue Dons drive into six points.
The Madonna senior ended his night with 138 yards rushing and 72 passing.
”He did good,” Smith said. ”We watched him on film and we knew we had to tackle him, but we had guys falling down and not making tackles. I mean what else can be said? The guy’s a super player.”
While Smith was praising Comis, Taylor was savoring another chance to get the school’s third state title.
”I’m going to enjoy this right now,” he said. ”We’ll find out (today) who we play.
”Hey, we’re going back to Wheeling with the same group of kids we had last year and lets see if we can’t bring it back this time.”