WINTERSVILLE - Madonna picked up where it left off last year exploding for 22 first-quarter points and never looked back as it romped over Beallsville 63-8 Thursday night at Kettlewell Memorial in the nightcap of the annual OVAC Kickoff Classic.
The Blue Dons, who lost in the Class a state championship game last December by one point in overtime, rang a huge bell that has been acquired as the start of a new tradition when the football team wins. Taylor said the bell will travel with the Blue Dons in the bed of a pickup truck throughout the season.
Senior quarterback Ross Comis threw three touchdown passes and ran for another as the Blue Don starters played primarily in the first half.
HITTING PAYDIRT — Weirton Madonna senior Eliott Nero scored three touchdowns in Thursday’s 63-8 win over Beallsville at Indian Creek’s Kettlewell Stadium in the annial OVAC?Kickoff Classic.
-- Mike Mathison
Coach Doug Taylor said he welcomed the opportunity to play reserves for more than half of the game as the game Blue Devils struggled to mount a threat.
"The first drive we looked good and then we scored on a punt return, but they kind of screwed us up a little bit on our pass protection and we kind of sputtered for awhile," Taylor commented. "They were stunting inside. We got them into the locker room at halftime and made the adjustments to it. We protected the quarterback a lot better in the second half."
By the time he made the adjustments, Taylor's team was ahead 37-0 then coasted through the second half with the reserves.
Taylor said he was pleased with how his reserves performed.
Freshman Joey Ewusiak took over for Comis and wound up rushing for 98 yards with nine carries including an 11-yard touchdown run. He threw the ball three times and connected with two of them, one an 11-yard touchdown aerial to his older brother, Tyler.
"Ewusiak did a good job running our offense," Taylor explained. "I mean he's the guy that's probably going to fill Ross' shoes. He did very well. It was good to get the reserves in the game to get some experience. It'll improve our depth."
Junior Levi Shreve played running back as the replacement for starter Eliott Nero and lugged the football 10 times for 90 yards. He scored on a 23-yard scamper.
"Shreve is another one," Taylor said. "He just keeps getting better and better and by midseason he'll be seeing a lot more playing time."
Nero carried the ball six times, but scored on two of them, an 11-yard run and a 17-yarder.
Nero returned the opening kickoff from his 20 to the 40-yard line. Comis hit Marcello Biondillo with a 49-yard pass on the first offensive play of the game and Nero swept left end on the second play from 11 yards out to open the scoring. Comis scored the two-point conversion on a keeper to arm the Blue Dons with an early 8-0 lead.
They scored again a little more than two minutes later when Nero took in a Levi Phillips punt on his 38-yard line and raced 62 yards for the second score. Junior Matthew Green booted the extra point for the 15-0 lead.
Comis' first touchdown pass of the 2013 season to fellow senior Will Bowser came later in the first period. Bowser was wide open down the middle of the field in the 31-yard pass and run operation. Green's kick made it 22-0.
Nero was at the receiving end of a 16-yard Comis touchdown pass in the second quarter and the Ewusiak to Ewusiak aerial was the final score of the first half. Joey Ewusiak hit Grant Retton for the two-pointer that made the intermission score 37-0.
The Madonna starters played the first two series of the second half before calling it a night and added two more touchdowns.
Comis found Nero on a swing pass to the right and the shifty senior took it 59 yards for a touchdown and later Comis kept the ball and started to his right, but saw a crease to his left and weaved through the Blue Devil defense from 33 yards out to make the score 49-0 at the 5:36 mark of the third period.
Beallsville took the ensuing kickoff and drove 52 yards to the Blue Don 17 before relinquishing the pigskin on downs.
Shreve got into the scoring act as the Blue Dons drove the 83 yards in six plays.
He took the handoff and went outside to his left dashing 23 yards for the score. The Dons got the two-pointer on an Ewusiak keeper to make it 57-0.
The Blue Devils may have been down, but they rallied for their only score going 70 yards. The touchdown came when sophomore quarterback, Chase Mercer, hit junior Robert Valentine streaking behind the defense down the right sideline for a 59-yard pass and run scoring play. Mercer hit fellow sophomore Levi Phillips for the two-point conversion.
Madonna got one last touchdown on the next possession, an 11-yard Ewusiak run around the right side that capped a 52-yard, 7-play drive.
Weirton Madonna 63, Beallsville 8
Weirton Madonna 22 15 12 14 - 63
Beallsville 0 0 0 8 - 8
WM: Nero 10 run (Comis run)
WM: Nero 62 punt return (Green kick)
WM: Bowser 31 pass from Comis (Green kick)
WM: Nero 16 pass from Comis (Green kick)
WM: T. Ewusiak 14 pass from J. Ewusiak (Retton pass from J. Ewusiak)
WM: Nero 59 pass from Comis (kick blocked)
WM: Comis 33 run (bad snap)
WM: Shreve 23 run (J. Ewusiak run)
B: Valentine 60 pass from Mercer (Phillips pass from Mercer)
WM: J. Ewusiak 11 run (pass failed)
RUSHING: Weirton Madonna 36-259-4tds (J. Ewusiak 9-99-td, Shreve 10-93-td, Nero 6-37-td, Comis 7-34-td, Maus 3-3, Antinone 1-(-7). Beallsville 31-100 (Cunningham 11-73, K. Palmer 7-19, Sefert 4-5, Mercer 7-4, Raines 1-0, Brown 1-(-1).
PASSING: Weirton Madonna 8-10-218-4tds (Comis 6-7-199-3tds, J. Ewusiak 2-3-19-td). Beallsville 6-15-72-td-2ints (all by Mercer)
RECEIVING: Weirton Madonna 8-218-4tds (Nero 2-75-2tds, Biondillo 2-68, Bowser 2-56-td, T. Ewusiak 1-14-td, Guio 1-5). Beallsville 6-72-td (Sefert 2-4, Valentine 1-60-td, K. palmer 1-5, Daugherty 1-2, Phillips 1-1).
FIRST DOWNS: Weirton Madonna 20. Beallsville 7
PENALTIES: Weirton Madonna 6-45. Beallsville 2-17
FUMBLES: Weirton Madonna 3-1. Beallsville 0-0