Magnolia running-back Drew Keller accounted for 188 yards rushing and scored four touchdowns to help Magnolia secure a convincing 48-13 victory over the Oak Glen Golden Bears Nov. 2 at Golden Bear Stadium. Keller's season total yards rushing now stands at 1,020.
On its first series of play, Magnolia drove 71 yards, keyed by a Tanner Hanna-to-Keller 28-yard pitch-and-catch, capping the drive with a Hanna-to-Gage Deem four-yard TD reception to give the visitors a 7-0 lead after the Clemens Raitmayr PAT kick.
After holding the Golden Bears on defense, it took Magnolia only four plays to score on a Hanna-to-Ryan Walton 12-yard touchdown pass.
In the second period of play, Oak Glen forced a three-and-out and Magnolia punted. However, the Eagles buckled down and went to work on their next drive. After a pair of positive runs by Keller, Hanna spotted Stephen Rogalski open for a 14-yard gainer. But, the drive would later stall, and Magnolia again punted.
After stopping the Bears on their next drive, Magnolia went on a 56-yard drive that was highlighted by positive runs from Keller, Rogalski, and Rohde. Hanna completed passes to Keller, Rogalski, and Kyle Ritz then capped the drive with a Keller one-yard TD run and a 20-0 Blue Eagle advantage.
On Magnolia's second drive of the second half, Hanna spotted Rogalski open for a 24-yard pitch-and-catch, and Keller would break loose on a 15-yard TD scamper to extend the Blue Eagle lead to 27-0.
However, the hosts would tack on two straight touchdowns, one right before the third period ended; and a second one, minutes into the fourth period, off an onside kick by Oak Glen.
Rogalski moved up to the front line and caught the next Bear on-side kick. Then Keller ran five straight times to reach the Golden Bear 19 yard line, and Rohde would waltz in for another Magnolia tally.
On Magnolia's final scoring drive, Keller would carry a half dozen Bears on his way to positive yardage that gave him 1,000 yards for the season. He would cap off the drive with a nine-yard scamper for the Eagles' final TD.
Keller paced the Big Blue with 188 yards and four touchdowns. He also caught four passes for 45 yards and a total of 234 total yards on offense. Rohde rushed for 40 yards and a touchdown, while Rogalski and Tyler Anderson accounted for nine and seven yards, respectively.
Through the air, Hanna completed 11-17 passes for 147 yards and two TDs. Rogalski caught five passes for 72 yards, while Keller grabbed four for 45 yards. Ritz caught two passes, one while laying on the field, for 23 yards. Walton and Deem both caught six-point passes.
Defensively, Rohde made 15 tackles, one for loss, and a quarterback sack.
In its first season in Class-A, Magnolia finished as the second seed and will host all of their playoff games until the finale, starting with number 15 seed Williamstown, Friday, Nov. 9, at 7:30 p.m. on Alumni Field.
Advanced sale tickets for the first round Class-A football playoff game between Magnolia and Williamstown will be available at Magnolia High School on Thursday, Nov. 8, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and on Friday from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Advanced sale prices are $7 for adults and $5 for students. All tickets at the gate will be $7 and only WVSSAC passes will be accepted.
Eagles Grab Number Two Seed
For the Wetzel Chronicle
For the third time in the last four years, the Magnolia Blue Eagles have grabbed the number two seed for the football playoffs and are looking for their third trip in the last six years to the super six at Wheeling Island Stadium Dec. 1.
However, this is the Eagles' first journey into the Class-A postseason, having dropped from Class-AA last year because of declining student enrollment. Three teams that were left out of the playoffs last year earned their way into the top six teams this year: Magnolia, Tucker County, and St. Marys. Tucker and St. Marys were in Class-A and remain there this year.
As second seed, the Blue Eagles will continue to have home-field advantage as long as they keep winning. Magnolia's quest for the gold starts with a regular-season rematch with the Williamstown Yellowjackets at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 9.
Magnolia comes to that event with a 9-1 record - including a 24-7 defeat of the 'Jackets - while Williamstown is 6-4 and ranks 15th in Class-A.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Eagles have a two-headed monster in the ground game. Drew Keller and Kage Rhode have combined to rush for 1,721 yards and 24 TDs this season.
Keller cracked the 1,000 point threshold in the regular season finale against Oak Glen, as he carried the ball 23 times for 188 yards and four TDs. His season totals are 183 carries for 1,020 yards and 10 touchdowns, while Rohde has 90 carries for 701 yards with 14 TDs.
Keller is averaging over 100 yards on 18.3 carries and one TD per game, while Rohde is just above 70 yards a game on nine carries and 1.4 scores.
The Eagles have a good passing game, as well. Senior quarterback Tanner Hanna has completed 87-164 passes on the season for 1,269 yards and 12 TDs. Hanna has been intercepted only seven times and has intercepted opponents four times.
His favorite target has been Stephen Rogalski, Magnolia's all-time leading receiver in receptions, TD receptions, and yardage. Rogalski has caught 45 passes for 665 yards and five TDs; he also rushed the ball 22 times for 287 yards and five scores. In addition, he scored twice on punt returns.
The Eagles' offense comes in averaging 35.2 points per game, while the 'Jackets are scoring just 24.8 ppg. On the defensive side of the ball, the Eagles have given up 20 points or more just twice this year, while holding their opponents to single digits three times. They have given up 10-19 points five times and have had 121 points scored against them for an average of 12.1 ppg. Williamstown's D gave up 18.3 ppg on the season.
The only common opponent for the two teams was the Tyler Consolidated Silver Knights, whom the 'Jackets defeated 52-19, while the Eagles beat the Knights 41-13 in regular-season action.
Some big wins for the Eagles during the regular season were 24-7 over the 'Jackets; 17-13 over the Wheeling Central Maroon Knights; 35-15 over the Monroe Central Seminoles; and a 35-0 blanking of Steubenville Catholic Central.