Blue Eagle quarterback Tanner Hanna scored two rushing touchdowns, completed 10 passes for 101 yards, and made an interception to lead Magnolia to a 19-14 victory over the East Hardy Cougars Saturday at Alumni Field. The win moves the Blue Eagles into the final four in the West Virginia Class-A football Playoffs.
East Hardy won the toss and elected to take the ball first in the second half. The Blue Eagles opened the game at their own 35 yard line on the opening possession. After three straight runs, the Eagles were at midfield, but would cough up the ball to the Cougars at the Eagle 35 yard line.
However, the Magnolia defense - led by a pair of quarterback sacks by Drew Keller and Kage Rohde - forced the Cougars to punt and the Eagles started all over again at the 35 yard line. But this time, the ending was a little different.
After a 23-yard run by Rohde and a 38-yard pitch-and-catch by Hanna to Jacob Brill, The Boys in Blue were knocking at the door from the East Hardy four-yard line. Three plays later, Hanna would sneak it in for the game's first touchdown and Magnolia led 7-0 after Clemens Raitmayr's point-after boot.
On the ensuing kick, the Eagles' Carter Seckman buried the East Hardy kick returner at the 12 yard line. The Cougars moved the chains after a 20-yard run, but after Kyle Ritz hauled down a Cougar ball carrier for a loss of yardage, the visitors would need to punt once more.
Starting at its own 21 yard line, Magnolia would make its way all the way down to the Cougar 13 yard line. To open the Eagles' next drive, Rohde picked up close to 40 yards, but a holding call negated the run and the Eagles were pinned down to the 13 yard line.
The Eagles then went on an 18-play drive that was highlighted by a pair of drop passes in the end zone, four completions to Rogalski, a Rohde first-down scamper, and a Keller run that mowed over three Cougar defenders, before Magnolia was turned away by East Hardy on downs.
However, Hanna would haul in an East Hardy pass for an interception at the Cougar 31 yard line. He then hooked up with Ryan Walton for six yards. Then, after five straight runs by Keller to the one yard line, Hanna would cap off the drive with his second touchdown of the night to give the Blue a 13-0 advantage after the missed conversion kick and 4:51 remaining in the first half.
After the conversion kick, the Cougars misfired on a pair of long passes before Ritz ended the drive with a tackle for loss to give the hosts one more shot to add to their total. But, Hardy would halt the Eagles' drive with a nice defensive stand and took over on downs at the 30 yard line.
The Cougars threw the dice on a long pass that looked to be picked off, but two MHS defenders collided going for the pick and the Cougar receiver hauled it in and scooted 72 yards for a touchdown. The two-point conversion pass fell incomplete and the score stood 13-6.
East Hardy tried a short kick, but Walton grabbed it and ran to the visitors' 18 yard line with 24 seconds remaining to give Magnolia a golden opportunity to get the score back. However, after a holding call that pushed Magnolia back to the 28 yard line, Hanna would get picked off in the end zone to end the first half.
East Hardy opened the second half with a three-and-out and the Blue Eagles regained their momentum with a three-play drive that was capped off by a 10-yard Rohde touchdown run to extend the Blue's advantage to 19-6.
But, the Cougars struck back with a nine-play, 85-yard drive that was culminated by a quarterback sneak into the Promise Land. The two-point conversion pass made it 19-14 with 5:53 left in the third period.
It narrowed the gap for East Hardy, but it was all the scoring that would be done on this night. The visitors had it within the Eagles' Red Zone midway into the fourth period, but a pair of incompleted passes and a tackle for loss of yardage stopped that drive.
Magnolia moved the ball somewhat before Hanna executed a perfect pooch punt that was down at the one yard line. Two plays later, Rogalski ended the threat with an interception. With six seconds remaining, Hardy had one last chance. But Rogalski came up with a fumble recovery to close out this chapter.
Keller and Rohde each compiled 71 yards rushing, while Hanna and Rogalski combined for 40 yards. Hanna completed 10 passes to five different receivers for 101 yards. Rogalski hauled in six, while Brill, Ritz, Walton, and Keller caught the other four.
The Blue Eagle defense held the potent East Hardy squad that just last week had tallied 60 points and more than 300 yards passing against Wheeling Central. Each team lost a fumble, while the Eagles had one fewer penalties than East Hardy, who had five. The Eagles moved the chains 13 times, while Hardy moved them eight times.
The leading tacklers for Magnolia was Rohde with seven solo tackles, four assists, three tackles for loss of yardage, and a pair of quarterback sacks. Ritz added six solo tackles, two assists, three tackles for loss of yardage, and a pair of quarterback sacks. Keller and Arrick each added quarterback sacks, while Rogalski and Hanna each made an interception.
The Eagles will host the Wahama White Falcons Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. at Alumni Field for the right to play next Saturday at 7 p.m. at Wheeling Island for the Class-A Championship.