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Madonna looks to add to win streak

TACKLING — Evan Daniels and the Madonna football team welcome Beallsville for a Saturday night showdown. (Photo by Joe Catullo)

WEIRTON — The Madonna Blue Dons are riding a three-game home winning streak that has catapulted them into playoff contention at No. 16 in the West Virginia Class A ratings and will try to make it four in a row Saturday at Jimmy Carey Stadium. It will the final home game for eight Blue Don seniors and they will be honored before the game in ceremonies that begin at 6:15 p.m.

The Blue Dons entertain Beallsville, which comes into the stadium with a 1-4 record. The Dons now are 4-2.

The Blue Devils have had a tough go of it this year with the abrupt resignation of their head coach two weeks ago and the transfer of their leading rusher, according to Madonna first-year head coach Dan Rovira.

“They haven’t been very successful, but they give us a lot to prepare for with a bunch of different formations,” he said. “Their coach resigned two weeks ago, but I have to give them credit. Their kids have hung in there and did some good things last week against Southern.”

The Blue Devils lost to Southern by a score of 57-25, but they had three interceptions on defense, one returned for a long touchdown by junior Brandon Louden. He also raced 60 yards to pay dirt with a kickoff return. Dakota Phillips caught touchdown passes of 36 and 63 yards.

Rovira said the Blue Devils use a balance between run and pass, but they try to get the ball outside to Louden and Phillips.

He said the key for the Blue Don defense will be knowing where the tight end is lined up. He said that tells his defense where the strong side is, and that is where the Blue Devils want to go.

“Like last week, we just have to take care of ourselves and we’ll be fine,” Rovira said.

Madonna and Beallsville have played two common opponents in Conotton Valley and Hundred. Both lost to Conotton Valley and each won its game with Hundred. The Blue Dons romped over Hundred, 63-0, last week, while the Blue Devils scored the only win with a 42-8 decision. Madonna lost to Conoitton Valley 48-0, and the Blue Devils lost to them 41-0.

The eight seniors that will be honored are Lucky Pulice, Anthony Sessi, Tyler Starvaggi, Ethan Rowing, Mason Smith, Jacob Bonner and Joe Soos.

Junior quarterback Santino Arlia continues to hold down the second spot among area passers, having completed 68 of 137 aerials for 1,148 yards and 15 touchdowns but has seven interceptions.

Senior Lucky Pulice is second among receivers in the area, snagging 27 of Arlia’s passes for 339 yards and three scores.

Fellow senior Thomas Sessi is the leading ground gainer with 471 yards on 49 carries, including five touchdowns.

Also holding down second place in the area is the Blue Don defense, which has allowed 1,351 yards or an average of 225.17 per game. The Madonna offense has gained a total of 1,717 yards for an average of 286.17 a game.

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