WEIRTON - The Madonna football team opened the new era of playing home games at the new Jimmy Carey Stadium by rolling over visiting Valley 49-0 Saturday night.
It was an awesome display of offense and defense. While pitching the shutout, the Madonna defense held the Lumberjacks to a meager 122 yards of total offense. Meanwhile, the Blue Dons were racking up a total of 434 offensive yards, 360 on the ground and 74 through the air.
"On the scoreboard it looks like an easy victory and that we did everything right, but I told the kids after the game that the coaching staff saw a lot of mistakes that have to be corrected before we take on Wheeling Central next week," said second-year Madonna head coach Doug Taylor. "It was a good win for us. Weir High opened this stadium last night and we want to start our little tradition here, too. We really appreciate the opportunity to play here."
FOURSOME — A Weirton Madonna quartet of, from left, Gabriel Hypes, Tyler Ewusiak, James Fulciniti and Garrett Bever chase after Valley quarterback Triston Kocher during the first half of the Blue Dons’ 49-0 win at the new Jimmy Carey Stadium Saturday.
The Blue Dons were led by juniors Nick Ossman and Ross Comis. Ossman tallied 127 yards rushing with 12 carries and scored with two 1-yard runs and a 5-yarder along with a 65-yard punt return. Comis, who had nearly 2,000 yards running and passing last year as a sophomore, rushed for 108 yards and had touchdown carries of 53 and 17 yards. He completed six of eight pass attempts for another 74 yards.
"Our special teams did a good job setting us up," Taylor continued. "We had one drive of 95 yards that was our only long drive of the night. We left our starters in longer than I would have because we had one scrimmage with just 20 offensive plays and we were so banged up with injuries that we couldn't do our second scrimmage so we wanted to get these guys a little bit of work."
The Blue Dons got on the scoreboard just three and a half minutes into the game when Comis ran through the line on a keeper, cut to his right and found daylight all the way to the end zone. Comis scored the two-point conversion on another keeper.
Madonna 49, Valley 0
Valley 0 0 0 0 - 0
Madonna 21 15 6 7 - 49
M: Comis 53 run (Comis run)
M: Ossman 65 punt return (Robertson kick)
M: Comis 17 run (Robertson kick)
M: Ossman 1 run (Greene kick)
M: Ossman 1 run (Bowser pass from Comis)
M: Ossman 5 run (pass failed)
M: Antinone 1 run (Greene kick)
RUSHING: Valley, 39-103 (Mason 12-96, Bates 3-(-4), Streets 5-17, Kocher 8-(-6);
Madonna 34-360 (Ossman 12-129-3TD, Comis 8-108-2TD, Maus 9-70, Gar. Hypes 2-29, Antinone 3-26-1TD).
PASSING: Valley 2-10-19 (all by Kocher); Madonna 6-8-74-1INT (all by Comis), Antinone 0-1.
RECEIVING: Valley Hubbard 1-4, Streets 1-15; Madonna Bowser 3-59, Ossman 2-2, Biondillo 1-13.
FIRST DOWNS: Valley 6; Madonna 14
PENALTIES: Valley 5-25; Madonna 8-65
FUMBLES-LOST: Valley 1-0; Madonna 2-0
Ossman's 65-yard punt return made the score 14-0 and Comis scored again from 17 yards out this time. Junior Adam Robertson's extra point kick capped the first period scoring at 21-0.
Madonna kept the heat on in the second period with two more touchdowns. Ossman returned a punt from his own 45 to the Valley 10 to set up the first score. He took a handoff and plowed into the end zone from the one yard line. Sophomore Matt Greene added the point after with a kick.
It was Ossman again later in the period on a one-yard blast. Comis connected with Will Bowser for the two-pointer that gave the Blue Dons a commanding 35-0 halftime margin.
Jim West, took over as the Valley head coach for his father, Tom West, who had surgery Saturday, He said he knew going in that this would be a tough season opener.
"It always is and we weren't kidding ourselves," he said. "We knew this would be a tough one. With what we had coming back this year we ended up with kids in new positions and we started five freshman so we weren't sure how we would react or how we would come out for this first game.
"It was a lot of what I expected, but I was disappointed in our tackling. We were getting where we were supposed to be defensively, but we were just not executing the tackles. I was a little bit disappointed in that, but it is nothing we can't correct. Everything that happened here tonight can be corrected so I'm confident the team remains motivated to go to Cameron next week and get things straightened out."
The one bright spot for West was the running of 305-pound senior fullback, Spencer Mason, who also played the tuba in the Valley marching band at halftime. Mason got the call 23 times and rumbled for a total of 96 yards, which accounted for all but seven of Valley's net yards on the ground.
The Blue Dons quickly made the score 42-0 as they put the second half kickoff in play at their own 38. Ossman scampered 44 yards to the Valley 18 and Comis hit junior Marcello Biondillo with a 13-yard aerial that put the ball at the Lumberjack five. Ossman scored his third touchdown from scrimmage on the next play going through the right side of the Blue Don offensive line.
Another junior (Madonna has 15 of them on the roster), Anthony Antinone, who replaced Comis at quarterback, capped the scoring on a 1-yard sweep to the right. Greene added the point after.
Taylor noted that his Blue Dons were without two key players.
"We were without Travis Brown, our leading tackler returning from last year, and Elliott Nero, one of our running backs. They are still sidelined with injuries," he said. "We're going to see what happens this week and hopefully we can get them back for next week.
"We think we'll have our hands full next week at Wheeling Central and even though this is a good win for us, we still need to improve. Looking at the score you would think we were mistake-free, but we made quite a lot of mistakes and if we're going to have a chance next week we're going to have to eliminate those mistakes."
The Blue Dons travel to Wheeling Island Stadium Saturday for a 7 p.m. date with the Maroon Knights, who finished 2011 with a 13-1 record and won its second straight Class A state championship.