Tug Valley will make the long trip to the northern panhandle of the Mountain State to take on the Blue Dons of Weirton Madonna Saturday afternoon.
The Panthers, who dropped back down to Class A this season, have a fine 8-2 record and finished the season ranked No. 13. Madonna is 9-1 and ranked No. 4 in Single-A.
Tug Valley has never won a playoff game in football and this year’s squad hopes that it will be the first in the history of the school to pull out a post season win.
The Blue Dons are winners of eight straight games. Their only loss came to Wheeling Central in the second game of the season. Tug Valley has a three game winning streak. Their only two losses were to highly ranked Meadow Bridge on the road early in the season and a narrow 34-30 defeat on the road at Westside.
Tug Valley, under head coach Tony Clusky, closed its season with a 16-8 victory over Clay County. The Panthers have had a balanced offense all season long led by senior quarterback Mikey Newsome. Going into the Clay County game, he had thrown for 1,210 yards and 17 touchdowns. He has thrown only two interceptions in 10 games.
“They work hard, have a great attitude and we have fun,” Clusky said of his squad. “Now they get to experience the second season of high school football. We will approach the playoffs like any other game. We all understand that it is a one game season to advance. I know we will play hard for four quarters.”
“We have a tall task ahead, but I feel if we can control the clock and play ball control it would be to our advantage,” Clusky, who returned to the sidelines this season, after not coaching the last few years. “Turnovers will be important. Last week we had none – playing in the mud and forced two. Madonna has a very good football team, they are well coached with a great scheme. I know it’s a long trip but it would be nice if our fans would get behind these boys.”
“They deserve all the support they can get. After all, they have laid it on the line all season and have fought through adversity several times. We don’t want to be satisfied with just making the playoffs, our team wants to win and advance,” Clusky concluded.
The rushing attack is led by junior David Runyon along with seniors Aaron Muncy and Jesse Mays. Through nine games, Runyon had run for 475 yards on 95 carries. Aaron Muncy has 104 carries for 498 yards and five TDs, Jesse Mays carried the pigskin 69 times for 316 yards and four TDs, Justin Baisden has 61 carries for 230 yards and three TDs and Tyler Conley 32 totes for 35 yards and one TD.
Tight end Corey Dillon leads the team in receptions and had seven TDs.
On defense Isaac Parsley has 85 tackles, Thomas Baisden 54, Tyler Conley 54, Ryan Preece 46, Dillon 38 and Muncy 35.
The Blue Dons closed their regular season with an easy 40-2 victory over previously unbeaten Clay-Battelle. Madonna finished with three backs rushing for more than 100 yards.
Ross Comis led the way with 150 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He also had a perfect game from his quarterback spot, hitting on five of five passes for 38 yards and two more scores. For the season, the junior has rushed for 1,277 yards and thrown for 982.
Elliott Nero toted the ball 12 times for 106 and Nick Ossman added 105 on 15 tries for a balanced Madonna offense.
Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. at the new Jimmy Carey Stadium.
Saturday’s winner will face the survivor of Friday’s battle between No. 5 St. Mary’s and 12th seeded Wirt County.