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.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 5-4 Boatwright, also the Cavaliers' quarterback, had nine tackles in the state championship game against Madonna and had 65 on the season along with 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."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 an 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 of Bishop Donahue (19 sacks) 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's Keyshawn Payne and Wheeling Central's C.J. Burch at running back.Second-team 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, Bradon Riggleman of Moorefield and Magnolia's Kyle Ritz join Gio on the second-team 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-team utility player and Justin Joy of Wirt County is the punter.