WEIRTON - Clay-Battelle came to town with a 9-0 record and the reputation for having a big line and fast backs. As it turned out, all that reputation didn't mean much as the Madonna Blue Dons pounded the Cee Bees with a ball control offense rolling to a 40-2 victory.
The win left both teams with 9-1 records and solidified the Blue Dons playoff position. Madonna should ease into fourth place in the Class A ranks.
The Blue Dons were ranked fifth going into the game Friday night at Jimmy Carey Stadium with the fourth place team, Greenbrier West, already completing its season at 9-1.
ALL EYES UP — Weirton Madonna quarterback Ross Comis looks over his offensive line just before sneaking into the end zone in the first half of Friday’s 40-2 win over Clay-Battelle at Jimmy Carey Stadium.
Should the Blue Dons get to fourth in the rankings it should assure them of two home playoff games provided they continue to add to their eight-game winning streak.
Clay-Battelle was ranked seventh going into the game and while making the playoffs will likely have to be on the road.
Madonna finished with three backs rushing for more than 100 yards. Meanwhile, the Blue Don defense allowed Clay-Battelle just three first half possessions and just 90 total yards of offense in the game.
Madonna 40, Clay-Battelle 2
Clay-Battelle 0 0 0 2 - 2
Madonna 13 7 13 7 - 40
M: Comis 16 run (kick failed)
M: Biondillo 2 pass from Comis (Green kick)
M: Comis 1 run (Green kick)
M: Bowser 8 pass from Comis (Green kick)
M: Ossman 27 run (kick failed)
M: Nero 44 run (Green kick)
RUSHING: Clay-Battelle 30-69 (Hinkle 20-62, Steele 2-9, Haught 6-0); Madonna, 50-361 (Ossman 15-105-TD, Nero 12-106-TD, Fulciniti 2-0, Comis 21-150-2TD.
PASSING: Clay-Battelle 3-11-28-2INT (Haught 2-10-19-2INT, Steele 1-1-9); Madonna, 5-5-38-2TD (all by Comis).
RECEIVING: Clay-Battelle Tolley 1-6, Dille 1-13, Haught 1-9; Madonna Gar. Hypes 2-32, Biondillo 1-2-TD, Bowser 1-8-TD, Ossman 1-(-4).
FIRST DOWNS: Clay-Battelle 9; Madonna 16.
PENALTIES: Clay-Battelle 0-0, Madonna 3-18.
FUMBLES-LOST: Clay-Battelle 3-0, Madonna 1-0.
Since it was the last regular season game for the Blue Dons, it was senior night.
"We decided in the locker room before the game that we were dedicating this game to our four seniors," said Blue Don coach, Doug Taylor. "And each of them - Jim Fulciniti, Garrett Hypes, Quintin Hukill and Charlie Kotten - played key rolls in this game both offensively and defensively. We're really going to miss those guys."
Madonna junior Ross Comis led the offense rushing for 150 yards and two touchdowns and pitching a perfect game hitting five of five passes for 38 yards and two TDs.
"Our offensive line was outstanding tonight especially our two senior linemen, Charlie Kotten and Quintin Hukill," Taylor explained. "We also said before the game that we wanted to play from start to finish and the kids did."
Taylor said the Blue Dons had some added incentive in that he wrote 33-6 on the chalk board in the locker room. That was the score that Clay-Battelle beat a Madonna team last year that had several players not suited because of injuries.
"We weren't sure what the weather conditions would be tonight so in practice this week we really worked hard on our run game and it really paid off tonight," Taylor continued. "We were able to run the football and spell people to keep them fresh. It was nice to get three backs over a hundred yards.
"Comis is a good quarterback and I'm really glad he's wearing the blue and silver and he's on our side. He's a pleasure to coach. He learns fast and is a good kid."
In addition to his rushing and passing, Comis, who plays safety on defense, picked off two Clay-Battelle passes.
Comis got the Blue Dons on the board first. After putting the opening kickoff in play at their own 39-yard line, Madonna drove to the Clay-Battelle 16 in four plays. On first down from the 16, Comis wove his way through the Cee Bee defense on a keeper over the left side and found the end zone.
Comis had runs of 10 and 16 yards in the drive and Nick Ossman had two 9-yard runs.
Matt Green, who went into the game missing just 3 of 42 extra point attempts, didn't get the ball through the uprights, but the touchdown gave Madonna the early lead at 6-0.
"We arrived here late and our equipment vehicle had trouble so really we only had 25 minutes to get warmed up," said Clay-Battelle coach, Ryan Wilson, whose team traveled to Weirton by bus from Blacksville, WV, which is just north of Morgantown. "No excuse there, but it throws you out of your routine. We moved the ball a little bit in the first half and did some things that we wanted to do, but Madonna has a good ball club.
"They put up those three touchdowns in the first half. Comis and Ossman and their offensive linemen did a nice job. Madonna has a nice ball club, but, you know, we have a nice ball club, too. You didn't see our A performance tonight. Some of that goes back to Madonna. They took us out of our A performance.
"We had a great season. We're 9-1 and in the state playoffs. There's only 16 teams that is going to that and we're one of them. I told my team that I'll take a 9-1 record every time."
The Cee Bees had two first downs and gained a total of 19 yards with their first possession so junior quarterback, Tristan Haught, punted with the ball rolling dead at the Madonna four-yard line.
Undaunted, the Blue Dons marched 96 yards in 13 plays eating 6:33 off the clock to score on the final play of the first period when Comis made a little two-yard toss over the Cee Bee defense to Marcello Biondillo in the end zone. Green's boot gave the Dons a 13-0 lead.
On its ensuing possession, the Cee Bees drove from their own 23 to the Madonna 38 from where coach Wilson elected to have Haught try to pin the Blue Dons deep again with a punt. However, this time the ball barely rolled across the goal line for a touchback giving Madonna the ball on their own 20.
This possession the Blue dons drove the 80 yards to pay dirt with 11 plays. Comis, who had rushed for 1,127 yards going into the game, accounted for 49 more yards during the drive including a one-yard sneak over center for the touchdown. That drive ate up another 6:25 of the game.
Green's kick gave the Blue Dons a 20-0 lead at the half.
It was more of the same in the second half.
Madonna used 13 plays and 7:16 to make it 27-0 in the third period. Comis found Wil Bowser open in the end zone with an eight-yard pass for the score.
In contrast to Madonna's four previous touchdowns, the second score of the third period didn't take much time at all.
Elliott Nero, who toted the ball 12 times for 106 stripes and a fourth quarter touchdown, got nine yards to the Cee Bee 27 from where Ossman battled his way down the right sideline shaking off several tackles in a determined effort to get to the end zone.
Clay-Battelle got its two points when Bowser went back for Madonna's only punt of the game at the 5:58 mark of the fourth quarter. The center snap from the Blue Don five-yard line, sailed over Bowser's head as he stood in the end zone. It want over the end line for a safety.
Comis' second interception of the game came when Haught attempted a pass on first down with Clay-Battelle's next possession. Comis snagged the pass at his own 40 and got it back to the Clay-Battelle 44 from where Nero took a handoff and seemingly was hemmed in by a host of Cee Bee tacklers. He squirmed loose and outran a Cee Bee defensive back for the final score.