CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The Class A state championship will feature two very hungry teams.
Top-ranked Madonna (13-0), which finished runner-up last year, will take on No. 7 Greenbrier West (12-1), which hasn't made it this far since 1991, at 7 tonight in the Super Six at Wheeling Island Stadium.
The Blue Dons lost to Wahama 43-42 in overtime in the state title game in 2012. Madonna has marched back to this year's title tilt with wins over No. 16 Tucker County (52-0), No. 8 Wahama (70-55) and No. 4 Williamstown (42-28).
"It's so hard to get there,'' said Madonna coach Doug Taylor. "The fact that we were there last year with a younger group, it's a testimony to our kids.
"We knew we had the personnel to get back, but it's so tough. Two years in a row doesn't guarantee you a win, either. They're going to be extremely hungry and want that win as bad as we do.''
On the flip side, the Cavaliers advanced to the title game for the first time since losing 31-22 to Spencer in the Class AA championship 22 years ago. Greenbrier West is also the lowest seed to move on to the Class A championship since 2008 when No. 7 Madonna fell to Williamstown 23-7 and the lowest overall in the Super Six since No. 8 Magnolia played for it all, also in 2008 in AA.
"The community is really excited,'' said Greenbrier West 12th-year coach Lewis McClung, whose team has won eight in a row. "It's been a long drought. There's a lot of buzz around town. We thought we had a pretty good football team.
"We've gotten on a little hot streak. You've got to have a little bit of luck along the way. Sometimes you have a pretty good football team that doesn't catch any breaks. I don't know that you ever sit down and say you're going to the state championship game.''
Madonna has turned in a dominating season, bouncing between No. 1 or No. 2 for most of the year before finishing on top of the state rankings. The Blue Dons' offense averages 48.7 points per game while their defense hasn't budged, surrendering 11.4 points with two shutouts.
Blue Dons quarterback Ross Comis has turned in 3,348 total yards with 50 touchdowns. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior has passed for 1,551 yards and 19 scores against only five interceptions while rushing for 1,797 yards and 31 TDs.
Madonna tailback Eliott Nero has added 1,725 yards and 27 scores while also hauling in 26 passes for 311 yards and five TDs. The 5-10, 200-pound senior has also returned three punts for scores and one kickoff for a TD. The Blue Dons also rely heavily on Josh Martin, a 7-foot-1 offensive tackle-nose guard.
Greenbrier West's McClung said he sees why Madonna is No. 1.