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All 84 inches of him

November 4, 2013
By MIKE MATHISON - Sports editor ( , The Herald-Star

Josh Martin, all 84 inches of him, has received some pretty nice national attention lately and it's all well deserved.

But, that meant nothing to him Friday night.

He only had two things on his mind as the undefeated Weirton Madonna football team traveled to Clarke Hinkle Field to take on Toronto in the final game of the Red Knights' season.

"We wanted to get the win," he said.


"No one was going to touch my quarterback."

The quarterback in question, Ross Comis, was coming off an injury suffered the week before in a come-from-behind win against rival Catholic Central.

And, going back a week, Comis was injured on the last play of the first quarter.

As the Dons exited the locker room for the third quarter, Josh Martin leaned over to Comis.

"I gave him a hug and told him I got his back," Martin said. "He has the biggest heart on that field and it's an honor to play with him.

"I love him."

One week later, Comis was under center, but was not going to run the ball and did not see the field on defense.

With that being the case, the Blue Dons worked all week on the pass and pass protection.

"My favorite thing to do is pass protect," the Weirton Madonna senior said after the Blue Dons scored 21 fourth-quarter points for a 41-20 victory to move to 9-0. "I like sitting back and just waiting for them to come at me. It's my favorite thing to do."

Comis finished the night 17-for-23 for 226 yards, two scores and an interception.

The senior is 65-for-102 (63.7 percent) for 1,123 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has also rushed for 1,000 yards.

"We knew we had to pass protect as well as we ever had," said Martin. "We knew we had to give it everything we had when we were out there for him.

"We didn't want him to get hurt again, like what happened on that extra point."

Martin, like head coach Doug Taylor, running back Eliott Nero and Comis really liked the effort of the offensive line.

"I think we did a pretty good job," said Martin. "We had a couple of slip-ups, but you're going to have that."

The Dons were averaging just under 10 passes per game in the 8-0 start and not all of those were by Comis.

"We're not used to pass protecting that much in a game," Martin said with a laugh.

"Our offensive line was huge tonight," Nero said. "Their pass protection was great. I can't say enough about our offensive line. They always show up to play."

The Blue Dons were coming off an emotional win against the Crusaders in getting ready for the Red Knights and now must do the same thing in preparing for Friday's trip to Clay-Battelle.

"That win over Central gave us a lot of confidence," said Martin. "We stuck together, worked really hard and pulled out that win when it wasn't always looking too great.

"We also knew it was going to be tough tonight. It was their senior night. Coach (Joe) Petrovich is over there - he was here my sophomore year. We all knew they wanted to beat us and they gave us their best."

Madonna will see another "best" this week.

The CeeBees are 8-0 after a 36-334 win over Clarksburg Notre Dame. Clay-Battelle had two open weeks.

Steubenville Big Red goes into the playoffs having lost three of four.

Steubenville Catholic Central enters having lost two in a row.

It doesn't matter.

Everyone is 0-0 - all 224 teams.

Nothing else matters, but from Sunday forward.

This is where looking through the windshield really comes into play and not the rear view mirror.

What happened the previous 10 weeks means absolutely nothing.

More than 650 high school football teams in Ohio have turned in pads, helmet and uniforms.

Not the Crusaders and not Big Red.

As Jack Lengyel said, "Play to the whistle."

Just curious if any father from Purdue filled out a bullying form on Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes?

I have seen some pathetically bad adult behavior in the previous 10 weeks and will talk about it next week.

Always remember how blessed we really are and how thankful we always should be.

Leave it to me to pick up Joe Flacco and not Nick Foles.

Football is not the only sport athletes where athletes get concussions.

Losing a game is OK. Not playing your hardest isn't.

Stop questioning the body language of a coach. That coach is around the team far more than anyone else.

Wonder how the parents are doing who now have an empty nest?

Major league kudos to the Big Red football program on how it finished Friday's game with Matt Firm. That was really good stuff by teammates for a teammate.

"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. - Matthew 7: 13-14

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at

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