WHEELING, W.Va. - It wasn't exactly a Lou Gehrig speech, but there is no doubt Madonna coach Doug Taylor considers himself a lucky man. He may not be the luckiest man in the world, but he certainly would be up there with the luckiest among his West Virginia coaching colleagues.
If ever a coach and a quarterback were meant for each other it is Taylor and his senior quarterback Ross Comis.
"You know, Madonna was always known as a smash-mouth, run-it-up-the-gut, physical team, pound the ball," Taylor said. "I joke with Ross all the time. I tell him I don't know if it was lucky for him that I came here and brought this offense or if it's lucky for me that I found a quarterback like him here.
"Honestly, I think I am the lucky one."
No doubt Comis has benefited from Taylor's offensive philosophy.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound quarterback rushed for 2,037 yards - a state record for quarterback rushing yards - and 35 touchdowns. Comis also passed for 1,731 yards and 22 scores.
Comis, a utility selection because of his versatility, was named captain of the Class A all-state team released today by the West Virginia Sportswriters Association, two days after the Blue Dons' 24-14 victory against Greenbrier West in the Class A championship game at Wheeling Island Stadium,
Comis, the first-team quarterback last year, finished his career with 4,839 yards rushing and 71 touchdowns, state records in both categories, and passed for 4,416 yards and 49 touchdowns.
His 9,255 total offensive yards leads all active players, as do his 121 touchdowns overall (rush, pass, interception return).
"It's nice to be named to the first team again, and to be named the captain makes it even better," Comis said. "It's a credit to all these guys and what we've been through, trying to get back to the state championship. To win it is more than I can describe. To be honored like that is because of my teammates."
Comis was joined on the first team by teammates Eliott Nero (running back), Josh Martin (offensive line) and Will Bowser (defensive back).
Nero rushed for 1,858 yards and 27 touchdowns (and scored 36 overall), Martin made headlines as a 7-foot-2 two-way lineman and Bowser had two touchdown receptions and five tackles in the state championship game.
Bishop Donahue's Jesse Padlow was named the quarterback of the first team after leading the state in passing yards with 2,468 (completing 153 of 264 passes) with 24 touchdowns and five interceptions while leading the Bishops to the second round of the playoffs.
Other running backs selected were Meadow Bridge's Jake Parker (283 carries, 2,505 yards and 33 touchdowns), who led the state in rushing for the second year in a row, and Magnolia's Drew Keller (283-1,832-22), who led his team to the Class A semifinals, where it lost to Greenbrier West.
Along with Martin, first-team offensive linemen were Noah Schultz of St. Marys, Cole Seckman of Magnolia, Isaac Britton of Doddridge County and Wesley Harrison of Wahama.
The wide receivers were Gilmer County's Austin Ratliff (68 catches, 875 yards, six touchdowns) and Bishop Donahue's Lavonte Hampton (45-723-11)
Garrett Furr of St. Marys was the kicker. Furr kicked a game-winning field goal against Magnolia and was 31 of 37 on extra points this season.