Dons cruise past Irish
WEIRTON – Madonna’s dynamic senior duo of Eliott Nero and Ross Comis got loose on the carpet at Jimmy Carey Stadium on Saturday night.
With a lot of help from their friends, the Blue Dons pasted a 75-16 loss on Clarksburg Notre Dame.
In piling up what could be a school record of 75 points, Madonna scored 11 touchdowns – seven times on runs from scrimmage, twice on passes, once on a pass interception and once on a kickoff return.
The No. 2 ranked Blue Dons rolled up 550 yards of offense to 163 for the Fighting Irish, who went into the game ranked as the No. 11 West Virginia Class A team.
“We played well in all facets of the game – offense, defense, special teams. That was a pretty complete performance tonight by our guys,” Madonna head coach Doug Taylor said.
Asked if it was his team’s best performance of the year, Taylor hedged a little bit.
“I would hope we’re getting better and better,” he said. “Taking care of the No. 11 team in the state the way we did makes a coach sleep a lot easier.
“You know we’ve got another big one coming up next week. We’ll enjoy this tonight and get ready for Steubenville Central next week.”
The unbeaten Blue Dons have a red letter date next Saturday at Jimmy Carey Stadium with unbeaten and also state-ranked Steubenville Catholic Central. Taylor said the Crusaders could be the best team his club will face all year.
Saturday, though, Nero and Comis ran wild on the turf. Nero carried the ball only 10 times, but rolled up 204 yards and had rushing touchdowns of 60, 61 and 62 yards. That puts him seven yards shy of the 1,000 mark in seven games thus far.
Nero also scored on an 89-yard kickoff return late in the fourth quarter and earlier had a long kickoff return called back by a penalty.
“We were trying to get our jayvees in and I had no idea they had put our varsity starting kickoff return team in that situation (Madonna was already ahead 69-16),” Taylor admitted. “Nero should have not been back there, but it just happened. I feel bad about that. It wasn’t supposed to happen. I can only imagine what that score felt like. I’m sure I’ll pay for it somewhere down the road.”
Comis, the All-State senior quarterback, put up 111 rushing yards and had touchdown runs of nine and one yard. Then, he picked off a Tyler McKinsey pass on the last play of the first half and ran it back 42 yards for a touchdown.
The offensive numbers give Comis 908 rushing yards with 105 totes and 19 touchdowns on the year.
Then, Comis passed 15 times for 133 more yards and two touchdowns. He had a 19-yard scoring aerial to sophomore Dillon Shaw and another 19-yarder to senior Will Bowser. That gives Comis 43 completions in 69 attempts for 808 yards and nine touchdowns.
He has accumulated 1,716 total yards thus far. In 2012, Comis had more than 2,200 total offensive yards.
“Nero ran the ball extremely well and we threw the ball a little more tonight but after we got the big lead I didn’t want to pass quite as much,” Taylor said. “The kids played well and the coaching staff did a good job getting them prepared for this and we expect to do the same for next week.”
Nero’s first score came the first time he touched the football as the Blue Dons received the opening kickoff. Comis opened with a 17 yard pass to Bowser that got the Blue Dons a first down (they had 16 first downs in the game) at their own 40. Nero weaved his way through the Notre Dame defense and ran to daylight down the right sideline for the touchdown.
Bowser was Comis’ favorite target snaring six passes for 90 yards and a touchdown giving him 20 catches for 378 yards and three scores.
After Madonna made the score 15-0 with the 19-yard Comis to Dillon Shaw pass, the Fighting Irish got on the scoreboard. They started the scoring drive at their own 33 and drove the 67 yards in 7 plays.
Junior running back Santino Cava blasted into the end zone from a yard out and Adam McMunn booted the extra point that narrowed the Blue Don lead to 15-7 and gave indication that the game would be competitive as expected.
However, that wasn’t the case as the Blue Dons scored 41 unanswered points with two more first quarter touchdowns, two in the second quarter and two again in the third before Notre Dame junior Spencer Harlow hauled in a Adam Robertson kickoff and dashed 93 yards for the second Irish score.
It appeared that Nero would match that kickoff return with McMunn’s ensuing kickoff, but a Madonna block in the back near midfield nullified the scamper.
McMunn got the Irish on the scoreboard one more time with a 32-yard field goal midway through the fourth period.