WEIRTON - Even though Madonna coach Doug Taylor was confident his Blue Dons would do well in the 2014 football season, there always is some doubt when you graduate 15 seniors from a state championship team.
Taylor's doubts were dispelled Friday night as sophomore quarterback Joey Ewusiak ran for three touchdowns and passed for three more as the Blue Dons handed Beallsville a 47-13 licking in the season opener at Jimmy Carey Stadium.
"We're pleased," said the fourth year Blue Don coach, "It's a new chapter for a bunch of new kids. They got their feet wet today and got a big win so we're happy for them-happy for the way they played."
CATCHING SIX — Weirton Madonna’s Marquise Jeter hauls in a touchdown pass from quarterback Joey Ewusiak during the first quarter of the Blue Dons’ season opner at Jimmy Carey Stadiium. Madonna won its 15th game in a row, 47-13, over the Blue Devils.
Ewusiak led the Blue Don offense with 185 rushing yards on 16 carries and passed for 134 more yards completing six of 13 aerials including scoring tosses of 28, 24 and 47 yards.
Ewusiak was stepping into the quarterback shoes of all-stater Ross Comis, who accounted for nearly 3,000 yards last year and earned a Division 1 scholarship to the U. of Massachusetts.
"Joey is pretty athletic and in our offense the quarterback is who we want touching the ball most of the time," Taylor said. "He's an athletic guy that does a great job of running the offense.
Madonna 47, Beallsville 13
Beallsville 6 0 0 7 - 13
Madonna 19 22 6 0 - 47
M: Ewusiak 17 run (Green kick)
B: J. Palmer from Mercer 3 pass (kick failed)
M: Jeter 28 pass from Ewusiak (kick blocked)
M: Ewusiak 48 run (run failed)
M: Shreve 24 pass from Ewusiak (Retton pass from Ewusiak)
M: Ewusiak 38 run (Green kick)
M: Retton 47 pass from Ewusiak (Green kick)
M: Shreve 34 run (kick blocked)
B: Mercer 1 run (T. Palmer kick)
RUSHING: BEALLSVILLE 0 (Cunningham 7-2; Z. Raines 4-16; Mercer 12-(-18)-TD). MADONNA 287 (Ewusiak 16-185-3; Shaw 8-58; Shreve 4-35-TD; Brown 6-9).
PASSING: BEALLSVILLE:13-26-232-TD (all by Mercer). MADONNA: 6-13-134-3 (all by Ewusiak).
RECEIVING: BEALLSVILLE: M. Palmer 6-203-1; Cunningham 1-6; Daugherty 1-4; Z. Raines 3-5; Valentine 1-5. MADONNA: Retton 2-49-TD; Jeter 1-28-TD; Shreve 2-24-TD; Shaw 1-8.
FIRST DOWNS: Beallsville, 9; Madonna 8.
FUMBLES-LOST: Beallsville 6-1; Madonna 2-0.
PENALTIES: Beallsville 3-25; Madonna 7-53.
"We'll probably start loosening things up for him before very long. He's still a little green, but he's just going to get better week in and week out. He did a great job tonight."
The Blue Dons got on the scoreboard with their second possession of the game after junior Dillon Shaw returned a Blue Devil punt 10 years to the Madonna 31. Ewusiak ran for 10 yards and Shaw got loose on a 39-yard scamper to set up the score at the Beallsville 20.
Senior Levi Shreve bulled his way for a yard and Ewusiak hit senior tight end Grant Retton for two more. That put the ball at the Beallsville 17 from where Ewusiak found the field wide open on a keeper up the middle scoring at the 5:27 mark of the first period. Senior Matt Green booted the extra point.
Beallsville, which had only 21 players on the roster, answered on the next series going 74 yards in 3 plays for the matching touchdown. Junior quarterback, Case Mercer, who pelted the Madonna defense with 26 passes, completing 13 of them for 232 yards, set up the score with a 71-yard strike to senior Mikey Palmer.
Palmer, who caught six passes in the game for 203 yards, dashed down the right sideline and was finally knocked out of bounds at the Blue Don four-yard line.
Mercer found Palmer open again with a flare pass to the left side of the end zone for the score. Tristan Palmer's kick failed, but the Blue Devils were back in the game with 4:18 left in the opening period.
However, the Blue Dons came right back to score another touchdown on its next possession and added a total of 40 points before Beallsville scored again.
That second score came on a 28-yard pass from Ewusiak to senior Marquise Jeter.
Then, the Blue Dons added another score on the last play of the fourth quarter after a Beallsville punt as Ewusiak started right on a keeper, bounced off a couple of tacklers and reversed his field dashing to the left goal line pylon. That gave the Blue Dons a 19-6 lead going into the second stanza.
It was more of the same in the second quarter as the Blue Dons scored three more touchdowns.
Ewusiak found Shreve on a flare pass to his left for a 24-yard score, then hit pay dirt on another keeper from 38 yards out, and hit Retton down the middle of the field with a 47-yard pass.
By the time the smoke cleared, the Blue Dons held a 40-6 halftime lead.
Shreve got the final Blue Don score with a 34-yard jaunt through right tackle.
Beallsville went on a nine-play drive for a score early in the fourth quarter that ended with Mercer blasting into the end zone from a yard out. Tristan Palmer's boot made the final score 47-13.
"We had a couple of injuries early in the game and we had to begin subbing in and out," Beallsville coach Rick Meade said after the game. "That's what you get with the short numbers like we have. I don't want to say we were out-manned, we just didn't make the plays when we needed them. We're a lot better team than what we showed tonight."
The Madonna defense held the Blue Devils to zero yards on the ground.
"We knew going in that running the ball is a weakness," said Meade. "I think we're capable of a balanced attack, but Madonna stacked up on us defensively and created havoc with our blocking.
"Ewusiak is a very mobile quarterback. I believe he is only a sophomore. It is nice to have that kind of power. We'll just have to regroup and get ready for Strasburg next Friday in our home opener."
Madonna returns to the Jimmy Carey turf next Friday hosting Tusky Central Catholic.