MOV players dot first teams

From staff reports

WHEELING – There may not have been a team from the Mid-Ohio Valley in Saturday night’s Class A championship game at Wheeling Island Stadium, but that doesn’t mean the area didn’t place its fair share of athletes on this year’s West Virginia Sports Writers Association’s Class A all state football team.

Wahama (10-2), which got knocked out of the playoffs in the quarterfinal round by Madonna, led the way with four selections while St. Marys and Magnolia placed three players apiece. Williamstown, Gilmer County and Doddridge County each placed one representative on the first team.

Earning repeat selections for the White Falcons were running back Kane Roush and quarterback/defensive back Hunter Bradley-who was a first team, Class AA pick last season when he was a member of the Roane County Raiders-while linemen Wesley Harrison (offense) and Colton Neal (defense) round out the quartet of talented players.

St. Marys, which saw its perfect season end with an 18-0 loss to Greenbrier West in the quarterfinals, is represented by seniors Noah Shultz (offensive line), Garrett Furr (placekicker) and Tyler Davis (defensive line) while seniors Drew Keller (running back), Cole Seckman (offensive line) and Kage Rhode (linebacker) were selected from the Blue Eagles.

Rounding out the list of locals is Doddridge County senior Isaac Britton on the offensive front, Gilmer County junior Austin Ratliff at wide receiver and Williamstown senior Jake Tracewell at defensive back.

If ever a coach and a quarterback were meant for each other it is Madonna’s Doug 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 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 Monday 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).

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, 2505 yards and 33 touchdowns) , who led the state in rushing for the second year in a row and Magnolia’s Keller (283-11,832-22) , who led his team to the Class A semifinals.

The wide receivers were Ratliff (68-875-6) and Bishop Donahue’s Lavonte Hampton (45-723-11) while Furr, who kicked the game-winning field goal in an 11-9 win over Magnolia, was the kicker.

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.

Other first team defensive linemen were Davis of St. Marys (84 tackles), Chris Vani (19 sacks) of Bishop Donahue and Neal of Wahama.

Linebackers include Rhode, a repeat first-team performer from last season, Wil Schoonover from Moorefield and Joe John from Wheeling Central. Williamstown’s Tracewell, Madonna’s Bowser, and Wahama’s Bradley join Boatwright at defensive back while Roush of Wahama is the defensive utility player and Pocahontas County’s Devin Rose is the punter.

Clay-Battelle’s Tristan 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, Bradon 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.