WHEELING - 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.
The Inter-Mountain file photo
Tucker County’s Austin Zirk is a second-team selection on the Class A All-State team.
"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 and 35 touchdowns, which is a state record for quarterback rushing yards. Comis has also passed for 1,731 yards and 22 touchdowns.
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, which is the state record in both of those categories and passed for 4,416 yards and 49 touchdowns in his career.
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 ismore 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 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 unit.
Padlow led the state in passing yards with 2,468 (completing 153 of 264 passes) with 24 touchdowns and five interceptions in 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 (283-11,832-22) , 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 (68-875-6) and Bishop Donahue's Lavonte Hampton (45-723-11)
Garrett Furr of St. Marys was the kicker. Furr kicked the game-winning field goal against Magnolia and was 31 of 37 PATs this season.
Greenbrier West's Malik Boatwright, a two-way standout, was selected as a defensive back and was named captain of the defense. He was the first-team all-state defensive utility player last season.
The 5-foot-4 Boatwright (also the team's quarterback) had nine tackles in the state championship game against Madonna and had 65 on the season, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and three passes broken up.
He was joined on the all-state defense by his brother, and teammate, Marquis Frazier. The 6-1, 191-pound junior had 11 tackles in the championship game and finished the season with 95 tackles, 22 sacks and 24.5 tackles for a loss of yardage.
"No doubt they were both a big part of our success this season," Greenbrier West coach Lewis McClung said. "Malik has been a playmaker for us the last two seasons. On offense and defense, he just continued to make plays when we needed him."
"It's an honor to be named, especially since I didn't get to finish the season last year," said Frazier, who broke in ankle in week eight last season. "We had a great run this season, we just came up a bit short in the final game."
Other first team defensive linemen were Tyler Davis of St. Marys (84 tackles), Chris Vani (19 sacks) of Bishop Donahue and Colton Neal of Wahama.
Linebackers include Magnolia's Kage Rodge, a repeat first-team performer from last season, Wil Schoonover from Moorefield and Joe John from Wheeling Central.
Williamstown's Jake Tracewell, Madonna's Bowser, and Wahama's Hunter Bradley join Boatwright at defensive back while Kane Roush of Wahama is the defensive utility player and Pocahontas County's Devin Rose is the punter.
Clay-Battelle'sTristan Haught (1,332 yards passing and 18 touchdowns) was named captain of the second team offense and Madonna defensive lineman Matt Guio was named captain of the second team defense.
Austin Cunningham is quarterback of the second team with Notre Dame's Santana Cava, Valley-Fayette's Keyshawn Payne and Wheeling Central's C.J. Burch at running back.
Offensive linemen are Fayetteville's Hunter Pullen, Clay Battelle's Hunter Six, Williamstown's D.J. Kerns , Madonna's Garret Bever and Moorefield's Seth Stickley. Man's Trace Jones and East Hardy's Tyler Smith are the receivers with Trace Elder of Williamstown at kicker.
On defense, Corey Cox of Greenbrier West, Brandon Riggleman of Moorefield and Magnolia's Kyle Ritz join Gio on the defensive line.
Linebackers are Doddridge County's Wyatt Ford, Tyler Consolidated's Jacob Hughley, Williamstown's Dakota Watson and St. Marys David Gray.
Defensive backs are Valley-Fayette's Rawshawn Breckenridge, Buffalo's Jordan Tucker and Austin Zirk of Tucker County.
Clay-Battelle's Tanner Bragg is the second-utility player and Justin Joy of Wirt County is the punter.
Class A All-State Teams
QB - Jesse Padlow, Bishop Donahue, jr., 6-foot-1, 175 pounds
RB - Jake Parker, Meadow Bridge, sr., 6-0, 198
RB - Eliott Nero, Madonna, sr., 5-10, 200
RB - Drew Keller, Magnolia, sr., 5-9, 180
OL - Noah Shultz, St. Marys, sr., 6-0, 256
OL - Josh Martin, Madonna, sr., 7-2, 295
OL - Cole Seckman, Magnolia, sr., 6-1, 310
OL - Isaac Britton, Doddridge County, sr., 5-11, 250
OL - Wesley Harrison, Wahama, sr., 5-10, 180
WR - Austin Ratliff, Gilmer County, jr., 6-0, 171
WR - Lavonte Hampton, Bishop Donahue, sr., 6-2, 185
Utility - Ross Comis, Madonna, sr., 6-2, 215 (Captain)
K - Garrett Furr, St. Marys, sr., 5-7, 151
DL - Marquis Frazier, Greenbrier West, jr., 6-1, 191
DL - Tyler Davis, St.Marys, sr., 6-0, 254
DL - Chris Vani, Bishop Donahue, sr., 5-10, 235
DL - Colton Neal, Wahama, sr., 6-0, 190
LB - Kage Rohde, Magnolia, sr., 5-9, 180
LB - Wil Schoonover, Moorefield, jr., 5-10, 195
LB - Joe John, Wheeling Central, sr., 6-0, 180
DB - Jake Tracewell, Williamstown, sr., 6-1, 170
DB - Will Bowser, Madonna, sr., 6-1, 185
DB - Hunter Bradley, Wahama, sr., 6-3, 180
DB - Malik Boatwright, Greenbrier West, sr., 5-4, 172 (Captain)
Utility - Kane Roush, Wahama, sr., 5-10, 170
P - Devin Rose, Pocahontas County, sr., 6-0, 218
QB - Austin Cunningham, Gilmer County, sr. , 6-2, 177
RB - Santino Cava, Notre Dame, jr., 5-7, 195
RB - Keyshawn Payne, Valley (Fayette), sr., 5-8, 178
RB - C.J. Burch, Wheeling Central, sr., 5-10, 185
OL - Hunter Pullens, Fayetteville, sr., 5-11, 200
OL - Hunter Six, Clay-Battelle, sr., 6-0, 305
OL - D.J. Kerns, Williamstown, jr., 5-7, 215
OL - Garret Bever, Madonna, sr., 5-11, 260
OL - Seth Stickley, Moorefield, sr., 5-9, 250
WR - Tracy Jones, Man, sr., 5-10, 155
WR - Tyler Smith, East Hardy, jr., 5-8, 150
Utility - Tristan Haught, Clay-Battelle, sr., 6-2, 170 (Captain)
K - Trace Elder, Williamstown, sr., 5-8, 128
DL - Brandon Riggleman, Moorefield, sr., 5-11, 215
DL - Nate Guio, Madonna, sr., 6-3, 215 (Captain)
DL - Corey Cox, Greenbrier West, sr., 5-10, 168
DL - Kyle Ritz, Magnolia, so., 6-1, 215
LB - Wyatt Ford, Doddridge County, jr., 5-11, 185
LB - Jacob Highley, Tyler Consolidated, sr., 5-11, 205
LB - Dakota Watson, Williamstown, jr., 5-9, 180
LB - David Gray, St. Marys, sr., 5-9, 205
DB - Austin Zirk, Tucker County, sr., 5-10, 165
DB - Jordan Tucker, Buffalo, jr., 5-7, 150
DB - Raeshawn Breckenridge, Valley (Fayette), sr., 6-0, 175
Utility - Tanner Bragg, Clay-Battelle, sr., 5-10, 175
P - Justin Joy, Wirt County, sr., 6-3, 180
Michael Adams, Richwood; Noah Bellew, Williamstown; Kyle Bronski, Parkersburg Catholic; Logan Brown, Greenbrier West; Cole Collier, East Hardy; Aaron Copley, Tug Valley; Brandon Cross, Paden City; Dillon Dunkle, Pendleton County; Mikey Goddard, Greenbrier West; Jason Grose, Montcalm; Logan Hamilton, Clay-Battelle; Spencer Harlow, Notre Dame; David Hasting, Williamstown; Zach Heasley, Paden City; John Thomas Keffer, Man; Kyle Killen, Meadow Bridge; Daniel McCue, Wirt County; Cayce Mullins, Man; Logan Moore, Calhoun County; Stevie Mitchell, Valley (Fayette); Shane Myers, Moorefield; Jeremy Pratt, St. Marys; David Runyon, Tug Valley; Jarrod Sandy, Doddridge County; Noah Spitzer, St. Marys; Eric Smith, Magnolia; Casey Stewart, Valley (Fayette); Payton Sturm, Parkersburg Catholic; Shane Williams, Cameron; Luke Yocum, Pendleton County
Nathan Allison, Gilmer County; Jeremiah Beavers, Man; Jacob Brill, Magnolia; Josh Buffington, Sherman; John Burkhalter, Wheeling Central; Teddy Cassell, East Hardy; Luke Cooper, Paden City; Matt Dolan, Moorefield; Jordan Dove, East Hardy; Ben Duplaga, Wheeling Central; Brandon Elswick, Van; Matt Green, Madonna; Jesse Grimes, South Harrison; Cory Hanlin, Tucker County; Brandon Hamons, Pocahontas County; Parker Henry, Wheeling Central; C.J. Huff, Bishop Donahue; Tristan Johnson, Hannan; David Lipscomb, Doddridge County; Todd McClanahan, Meadow Bridge; Dallas Miller, Midland Trail; Jordan Miller, Notre Dame; Steven Mitchell, Valley (Fayette); Neil Mullins, Man; Bernie Northrup, St. Marys; Evan O'Dell, Midland Trail; Isaac Rine, Wheeling Central; Isaiah Robinson, Buffalo; Tasheem Saunders, Fayetteville; Wakem Simon, Notre Dame; Cody Smith, Williamstown; Jacoby Steele, Clay-Battelle; Kendell Stewart, Tyler Consolidated; Trey Streets, Valley (Wetzel); Dakota Toth, Man; Derrick Villarico, Tygarts Valley; Dakota Vetter, Moorefield; Matt Vucelik, Bishop Donahue; Troy Watson, Tyler Consolidated; Hunter Yoders, Cameron