WEIRTON - The Madonna football team opened the new era of playing home games at the new Jimmy Carey Stadium by rolling past visiting Valley 49-0 on Saturday night.
It was an awesome display of offense and defense. The Madonna defense held the Lumberjacks to 122 yards. 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,'' second-year Madonna coach Doug Taylor said. ''It was a good win for us. Weir High opened this stadium (Friday) night and we want to start our little tradition here, too. We really appreciate the opportunity to play here.''
Weirton Madonna’s Nick Ossman carries the ball Saturday at Jimmy Carey Stadium.
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 6 of 8 pass attempts for another 74 yards.
''Our special teams did a good job setting us up,'' Taylor said. ''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 wanted 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.
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 1.
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, who took over as the Valley head coach for his father, Tom West, who had surgery Saturday, knew going in that this would be a tough season opener.
''It always is and we weren't kidding ourselves,'' West 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 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. Mason got the call 23 times and rumbled for a total of 96 yards, which accounted for all but 7 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 5. 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.