Football: Madonna Reaches Class A Semifinals
WEIRTON – Madonna spotted Wahama a touchdown and got behind early, but came roaring back for a 77-50 West Virginia Class A quarterfinal playoff victory Saturday night at Jimmy Carey Stadium.
The No. 1 and 12-0 Blue Dons move on to play host No. 7 Williamstown.
No. 8 Wahama was the defending state champion having defeated the Blue Dons in the championship game a year ago by a 43-42 overtime score.
“It wasn’t a matter of revenge,” Blue Dons coach Doug Taylor said. “It was redemption. We felt we let something get away from us that we thought we had, and, you know, that’s compliments to them too. They are a very good football program, but we definitely felt we had to make a statement.
“A lot of times you don’t get the opportunity to get that back a second time around and we looked forward to having the opportunity to play them. And, like I said, just to redeem ourselves.”
They proved it in a big way despite temperatures in the low 20s, a near white-out snow storm and a wind-chill factor that had to be close to 10 degrees.
The White Falcons ran only six offensive plays in the second half yet scored 28 points and Madonna was forced to punt once in the entire game.
Madonna’s dynamic duo of Ross Comis and Eliott Nero were at it again on the snowy Jimmy Carey Stadium turf. Comis ran the ball 26 times for 267 yards and six touchdowns.
Nero ran it 20 times for 185 yards and four TDs.
Comis also completed four of 8 passes for 48 yards and a touchdown.
The Blue Dons were able to capitalize on four White Falcons turnovers, which loomed large.
“What really turned things around with those turnovers was that we were able to score off of them,” Taylor said. “When you can score off turnovers, that big.
“The other thing was that we were able to take them out of their game. Their quarterback got hurt so that took them out of their passing game, so all they had left was their running game. We tackled a lot better until the weather conditions got really bad.”
Despite not having many offensive plays, the White Falcons scored four touchdowns – three of them on long kickoff returns by senior Kane Roush.
Roush ran two kickoffs back 83 yards and one was a 70-yarder.
“Roush is one of the best and maybe the best running back we’ve seen all year,” Taylor said. “He’s hard to bring down. He’s got great moves. Good speed. Once he gets into the secondary he’s hard to catch.
“That’s what we talked about all week was to keep him going east and west and not north and south. When he does get going, you saw what happens, he’s got some jets.”
Wahama coach Dave Barr was emotional following the game.
“We don’t make excuses at Wahama High School,” he said. “(Saturday night) I was real proud of our guys. We came out here and faced a good program and we gave them everything we had. I couldn’t be prouder of our football players.
“It’s disappointing. It’s heartbreaking, but we’ve had great days together and we’ll have great days again.
“Roush is a great player and he’s been a great leader for us all year. Somebody’s going to get a special player in college next year and I’m going to really miss him. He’s been so much fun to coach and be around. I’m really happy for the career he’s had for us.”
In addition to the three long kickoff returns, Roush carried the ball 10 times for 175 yards and three touchdowns. He also caught one pass for 22 yards.
Comis’ six touchdowns came on runs of 74, 19, 56, 3, 1 and 2 yards while Nero reached the end zone on runs of 25, 10, 46 and five yards.
Marcello Biondillo caught the 11-yard scoring pass from Comis.