BLACKSVILLE, W.Va. - First-year Madonna football coach Doug Taylor is not hiding what Friday's 7:30 p.m. game on the road at Clay-Battelle means.
"We've been telling them for three weeks now that we're in playoff mode and we're still in playoff mode," he said. "The value of this game is we get to sleep at home in our beds the first week of playoffs. It's always better if you get to stay at home."
Madonna is No. 10 in the West Virginia Class A standings and will play in Week 12, the question is where.
A win over No. 7 Clay-Battelle should give the Blue Dons a home date.
But, Madonna will have its work cut out as injuries have depleted the troops.
"We know we have injuries to deal with and you deal with them and move on, it's the nature of the sport," said Taylor. But, sometimes adversity makes a team stronger and I don't care if we win a game by 20 or by 1.
"Our kids understand it. They know what they're up against. I told the kids, 'sometimes I like a good challenge' and that's what we have in front of us.
"We played five or six JV games and earlier in the season we rotated quite a few guys. I feel very confident with the guys we are going to put in the lineup.
"The kids we are putting in have seen plenty of time in the secondary. We're just having those guys who were rolling in and out not coming off the field."
After opening the season with a 36-14 loss to Bishop Donahue, the CeeBees have run the table with wins over Paden City (51-14), Hundred (68-0), St. John Central (55-0), Valley (42-12), Van (28-0), Cameron (6-0), Tygarts Valley (53-0) and Clarksburg Notre Dame (21-20).
"Clay-Battelle has a nice, big team," said Taylor. "They have a nice mixture of youth and experienced kids in there. They are also a typical Clay-Battelle team. They like to outnumber you on one side of the football and run it down your throat. They are well coached and are not an 8-1 team by just being an average team.
"We have to be at our best to win this one."
Expect Elliott Nero to get the majority of touches at running back.
"We didn't know before the Wahama game whether we would have (Nick) Ossman or (Christian) Roe and we were going to have Nero in there," said Taylor. "He got nicked up and we weren't able to feature him, but he gives us a different look. He's a hard-nosed kid who is fast."
Garrett Hypes will run the offense.
"He ran our 7-on-7 during the summer because (Ross) Comis was out due to surgery," said Taylor. "Garrett then broke his wrist in the first scrimmage and was out.
"But, he knows what we're about and what we're trying to do. He came in last week against Toronto and did a fine job for us.
"We'll adjust our offense to what he does best. I think he'll do a fine job for us."