MOUNDSVILLE - There has always been a rivalry when Madonna and Bishop Donahue get together to play football. Both are small parochial schools in the Northern Panhandle and both teams are on a roll and vying for playoff positions in the West Virginia Class A rankings.
Madonna blitzed Bridgeport last week for the third straight win while the Bishops manhandled Hundred by 61-8 for its fourth straight. The two teams are ranked together at 13 and 14 among Class A schools.
Madonna goes into Friday's game with a record of 4-1 while the Bishops are 5-1. The game will be played at Monarch Stadium with a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.
"Bishop Donahue is a well coached team with a lot of good athletes and they are on a roll winning four in a row," said Madonna coach Doug Taylor. "They obviously have a lot of confidence. They definitely are a pretty good football team."
Taylor said the Bishops are led by Jordan Bonar, who was near the 1,000 mark in rushing yards a year ago and earned himself second team All-State honors.
"While they want to get the ball into Bonar's hands, they also have other weapons in Saquan Hill, Jesse Padlow and Lavonte Hampton," Taylor continued. "They run mostly from an I formation and move those guys around."
Padlow is a sophomore quarterback in his first year as the signal caller. Taylor said he is a good runner and can throw when needed.
He said Hampton, who generally is a wide receiver, will go into the backfield with the spread formation in what has become known as the "wildcat" offense.
"They have some good athletes and try to get the ball in their hands in a lot of different ways," said Taylor. "I told the kids that we can't worry about where the Bishop Donahue players are at. We just want to stop their offense and we will stop the players."
Taylor said the Bishops and Blue Dons match up well in size on the lines and with speed among the skill players.
"I told them, too, that we are playing well as a team, but I know we can play better. Our philosophy is that if we work hard every practice and every game, we will get better and better," Taylor said.
Madonna tops the 11 teams in this newspaper's coverage area as far as team defense is concerned yielding 938 total yards in five games. The Blue Dons also rank fourth in the area in team offense with 2,001 total yards. The statistics show Madonna junior quarterback, Ross Comis, has 1,180 total yards in five games, 575 rushing and 605 passing.
The only common opponent to date is Cameron. The Bishops beat the Dragons 41-26 in the season opener while Madonna drubbed them 60-14 two weeks ago.
Both teams have scored a lot of points. Madonna has 235 points in five games and the Bishops have scored 254 points in six. The Blue Dons hold the edge defensively yielding 48 points in five games to 100 given up by Bishop Donahue in six games.
"We have had 10 players score touchdowns thus far," Taylor explained. "We have so many athletes that we have a different star in just about every game. Now that we're healthy, we have all these weapons that make us hard to stop.
"We have talked with the kids about the fact it is not who scores the most or who gets the most yardage. All that matters during the season is that we play as a team and win games. When the season's over we can look at the statistics.
"I also told them in practice that we're halfway through the season and on the downhill stretch.
"The last five games will determine our fate. We just have to take them one game at a time."