Central Too Much For Madonna

Maroon Knights outgain Blue Dons, 481-63

Photo by Scott McCloskey Wheeling Central tailback Bray Price (4) is off to the races as he goes 46 yards untouched for a score in a win over Madonna at Wheeling Jesuit.

WHEELING — Total domination.

Wheeling Central could do no wrong in Thursday’s 55-0 thumping of Madonna at Bishop Schmitt Field.

As if the score wasn’t enough, how about this:

∫ Total yards: Wheeling Central 481, Madonna 63 (all coming in the second half. Blue Dons held to 0 yards in first).

∫ First Downs: Wheeling Central 12, Madonna 5. It would have been more for Wheeling Central had it actually been tackled after geting past the sticks instead of going into the end zone. Madonna, on the other hand, didn’t get one until the second half when the Maroon Knights starters had already gone to the bench.

∫ Wheeling Central scored on all six possessions their starters played in the first half. The starting defense even got in on the scoring as it recorded a safety when C.J. Rose sacked Madonna’s Gavin Dietrich in the end zone.

In fact, the lone miscue of the night for the Maroon Knights — a fumble by Vinny Mangino (after he bullied his way for a 29-yard run down to the Madonna 10) — was scooped up by Jalen Creighton for a touchdown.

“We could do just about whatever we wanted to do,” Wheeling Central coach Mike Young said. “Our kids played aggressive defense and gave us real good field position. Our defense stopped them the whole first half.

“I’m proud of our kids and what we accomplished. We have a number of weapons and we tried to use those (Thursday) whether it was throwing it to Bray (Price) or Anthony (Robbins) or running Vinny (Mangino) or running Curt (McGhee III), throwing it to Payton (Marling).

“We had those options and I was proud of how they answered the bell.”

Like last week against Williamstown, Wheeling Central (2-0) scored early as McGhee scored on a keeper from 43 yards a little more than two minutes into the game.

After a three-and-out, Central got the ball at midfield and two plays later, Price took the ball untouched up the middle for a 46-yard score.

Price looked behind him to see if anyone was closing in despite no one within 15 yards, almost symbolic as that run seemingly put Madonna in the rear view mirror.

Another three-and-out by the Blue Dons, Price took the punt to the Madonna 31. McGhee found Marling on a dump pass the next play and the sophomore transfer scored his first touchdown as a member of the Maroon Knights.

Rose’s safety and Creighton’s scoop and score closed out the first quarter with a 28-0 lead.

“I tip my hat, that is an excellent football team that is well-coached with tremendous athletes,” Madonna coach Darrin Hicks said. “They came ready to play. I was happy with our team in not quitting and competing. I just did not do a good job of getting our team ready to play (Wheeling Central).

“It was tough. We lost the initiative early in the game and we weren’t able to get any running lanes. We had just struggled to establish anything and that put our defense in a bad situation. They are the state champs for a reason and I wish them well. They are nothing but class.”

McGhee completed 6 of 7 passes for 151 yards and three touchdowns. He connected with Price (41) and Robbins (54) on second-quarter touchdown passes before giving way to backup Jacob Rine.

Even with the backups in, it was more of the same for Wheeling Central.

In fact, Rine and backup running back Jordan Waterhouse were the two leading rushers for the Maroon Knights. Waterhouse carried eight times for 78 yards and a score in the third quarter, while Rine busted a 95-yard run midway through the fourth to complete the scoring.

The Wheeling Central defense, which shut out Williamstown the week before, again didn’t allow its opponent to score. Madonna threatened in the fourth, getting down to the Central 5 but the reserves stood tall.

“(The backups) feed off our older kids and that really makes a difference,” Young said. “Our older guys try to inspire the younger guys and I love that. That is what big brothers are supposed to do.

“We are sitting good right now at 2-0. Where we were last year wasn’t quite this comfortable.”

Dietrich, who had a game for the record books in last week’s victory against Bridgeport, found things much tougher this week. He was held to a team-high 17 yards rushing and 28 yards receiving.

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