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Senior champs were super for Madonna

December 14, 2013 - Matthew Peaslee
For fifteen guys, the jubilation was was already there. They just needed a grand stage to let it all burst out.

The Weirton Madonna football team, West Virginia Class A champions, capped off its undefeated season with a 24-14 win over Greenbrier West on Dec. 7. This win, and the 13 that preceded the victory at Wheeling Island Stadium, were a byproduct of years of hard work by 15 seniors.

"I love each and every one of my players," said Blue Dons senior Tyler Ewusiak. "We did a great job. I'm proud of all of them, it was a great experience."

Many of the Madonna seniors have played together since the sixth grade. The joy and childhood wonder of those first days of playing football may have been more evident following the state title game than when they were little tikes.

Parents likely lined the midget league fields filming their 11-year olds' every move. As 17 and 18-year olds, on an ice cold turf field in a 6,000-seat stadium, the parents were back out with their cameras as their kids, not so little anymore, were claming it up with the state title trophy in tow.

"It's amazing," said quarterback Ross Comis. "It's really indescribable right now. This was our goal and to finally reach it makes the hard work all season, and all four years, worth it. It's the best way to go out."

Even sweeter, Comis was named MVP of the championship game, captain of the all-state team, Metronews Player of the Year and second place in Kennedy Award voting.

After scoring six touchdowns in the 2012 state championship game, Comis didn't reach the end zone, but he threw for two scores.

"It doesn't matter about the scoring and everybody on the team knows that," Comis said. "We all worked together to get this win."

Though, in a way, it's bittersweet.

It could be the last football game a lot of these guys ever play. Some Division II and III schools are looking at a handful of kids like Comis, Eliott Nero and 7-foot lineman Josh Martin. But the next level won't quite be the same.

"It's a little tough with this being our last game at Madonna," said Will Bowser, who will likely play baseball in college. "But this is the best way to go out."

This senior class was special. For the past few years, it was easily the biggest in the football program (there were only four seniors in 2012). Large, yes, but the Blue Dons class of 2014 was as close-knit as it comes.

"I've been so blessed to be here at Madonna," said head coach Doug Taylor. "These seniors, I've had since they were sophomores, and they've just been a great group. They've een really respectful to me. They really bought in to what we were trying to do and here they are as state champs. Having them take it home as seniors is special."

Ross Comis, Anthony Antinone, Nate Guio, Will Bowser, Marcello Biondillo, Stevie Maus, Eliott Nero, Tyler Ewusiak, Josh Martin, Garrett Beaver, Travis Brown, Austin Bell, Adam Robertson, Gabe Hypes and Shain Livada have made their mark in school, city and state history. No matter where they go in life, they'll always look back at their Blue Dons days with pride.

So will their parents, Madonna fans and a lucky new to the area reporter who had the privilege of covering them.

 
 

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