Wahama wins first Class A championship
WHEELING -- Saturday night's Class A championship was so close that regulation couldn't even decide the victor.
In the end, Wahama made a gutsy call and used an off-sides penalty to precede Trenton Gibbs' conversion run to earn a 43-42 overtime win and the school's first Class A football state title.
"I thought we'd be better off letting 11 players try to do it rather than putting pressure on just a couple," Wahama coach Ed Cromley said. "We're really happy about it. The kids were fantastic and we wanted to thank everyone who supported us."
Prior to the conversion run, Madonna was called for an encroachment penalty that pushed the conversion to the 1-yard line.
The White Falcons had just scored on a 1-yard run behind power back Zack Wamsley in the overtime, and the entire Madonna defense flocked to him for the conversion. Gibbs walked into the end zone, setting off a celebration among those in attendance.
"They thought he would, especially after we had ran it in for that touchdown and just powered it in," Gibbs said. "We wouldn't have been in that spot without those linemen blocking all night for us."
In all, the White Falcons finished with 338 yards on the ground, led by Kane Roush's 170-yard three touchdown effort. All three of Roush's touchdowns came in the second half.
Wamsley also had three touchdowns to go with his 112 yards on 21 carries.
The effort was needed to overcome a superb single-game performance from Madonna's Ross Comis, who willed the Blue Dons to the overtime session.
Comis finished the game with 145 yards and five rushing touchdowns, which tied a Class A championship game record. He also finished 8-of-9 passing for 131 yards and a touchdown.
His fifth touchdown -- a 2-yard run -- opened the extra session after he had sent the game to overtime with a little heroics.
Comis hit teammate Garrett Hypes on a 4-yard reception on fourth-and-2 to extend a drive, then escaped pressure and found Marcelo Biondillo on a 21-yard scoring pass that helped send the game to overtime.
Madonna appeared as like they were going to go for two, but following a timeout, the Blue Dons were called for a delay of game after not having enough players on the field. They settled for a pressure-packed extra point from sophomore Matthew Green that sent the game to the extra session.
In all, the game featured six lead changes and two ties. There was plenty of action to go around for both teams. It was the highest-scoring Class A championship in history.
Madonna led 14-12 at the halftime behind a pair of Comis' runs of 17 and 2 yards. Wamsley matched it with runs of 9 yards and 1 yard.
Wahama's first appearance in the title game came in the 2010 game when the White Falcons lost to Wheeling Central, 28-14. Gibbs was the starting quarterback then as well.
"It was a heartbreaker in my mind and something we definitely hadn't forgotten," Gibbs said. "We've used that week-by-week to build off of, so we'd not have to go through that again."