WHEELING, W.Va. - The offensive successes of Madonna quarterback Ross Comis have been well chronicled throughout the Blue Dons' run to the Class A state championship that culminated in a 24-14 win over Greenbrier West Saturday night.
While the senior all-stater lived up to expectations as a rare Class A Kennedy Award candidate against the Cavaliers, it was commonly the work of two of his classmates that helped close out the title run at a frigid Wheeling Island Stadium.
Senior defensive ends Nate Guio (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) and Tyler Ewusiak (6-3, 225) combined for 12 tackles, figuring heavily in the Blue Dons' ability to slow West senior Malik Boatwright. The Cavaliers' 5-foot-4 quarterback had 38 rushing yards on 25 carries and completed just 1 of 8 passes for 6 yards.
"He's tough, man. He's real slick, I like to say," Guio said. "We kept trying to wrap him up but he just kept spinning and spinning. When it came down to it, we just had to wrap up. That was the difference."
Boatwright had 45 rushing yards on 13 carries in the first half as Madonna (14-0) clung to a 7-0 lead. Though his 1-yard sneak into the end zone with 10:03 left in the game closed the gap to 21-14, it was the last real scoring threat the Cavaliers (12-2) presented.
On numerous occasions, particularly in the first half, Boatwright was able to elude tackles. When he did run into obstacles, the state wrestling champion bowled over defenders to pick up extra yards. At times he carried upward of four Madonna defenders on his back before hitting the turf.
"He's a little kid but he can run hard," said Ewusiak, who led the Blue Dons with 61/2 total tackles and 21/2 tackles for loss. "He's a good player, and they're a good team.
"We knew he was a key player for their team. We shut him down behind the line quite a few times. I think we had a bunch of great big plays that turned the game around."