Big Blue Wins Finale, 41-36 In Double Over Time
Jayson Keller rushed for a game-high 191 yards and scored four touchdowns – including two in overtime – to help Magnolia beat the Grafton Bearcats 41-36 in double overtime Nov. 4 in Grafton. The win also gave Magnolia Head Coach Mark Batton his 100th football victory.
Magnolia moved the chains twice on a15-yard run by Keller and a 15-yard pitch-and-catch from Tanner Hanna to Stephen Rogalski before their opening drive stalled and the Blue was forced to punt.
The Bearcats started their first series on their 25 yard line. Magnolia’s Bentley Knight dropped the Bearcat ball carrier for a loss of yards and the duo of Michael Jones and Kage Rohde corralled the Grafton quarterback for a sack and forced Grafton to punt.
Rogalski fair-caught the punt close to midfield and the Eagles would move the chains once on a Hanna-to-Rogalski pitch-and-catch before giving the ball back to Grafton.
On the Bearcats’ next drive, their quarterback picked up big yardage on the first play from scrimmage. Then the talented Bearcat quarterback would go the distance on a 17-yard TD run to take a 7-0 lead after the extra point kick with 2:58 left in period one.
The Eagles would answer. Keller returned the ensuing kick close to midfield and Rogalski and Drew Keller each picked up a first down on pass receptions from Hanna. Jayson Keller gained an eight yarder and got the ball inside the five yard line before knotting the game with a three-yard TD and a Jones PAT early into the second period of action.
In the second period of play, both Magnolia and Grafton combined to score 49 points. Grafton answered Jayson Keller’s TD with a 55-yard TD scamper. And, after a sensational TD catch by Rogalski, the Bearcats tacked on a 66-yard run and a 24-yard TD pass reception.
Rogalski’s catch tied him with Kenny Fisher for the most TD receptions in a career and was sandwiched between a Jayson Keller eight-yard run for a TD and a Nick Blatt four-yard TD reception that knotted the game at 28 heading into the locker room.
After the break, neither team scored, as both defensive squads held each other in check. The Bearcats had a wonderful opportunity to score when they were at the one yard line, but Magnolia’s defense stymied them again.
Key plays by the Eagles in the second half included several nice catches and near catches by Rogalski, and runs by Jayson Keller. Great special teams play forced Grafton to punt deep into their own territory, later leading to a touchdown.
Blue Eagle special teams player Grant Cain recovered a fumbled Grafton kick-return and Rogalski ran a Bearcat punt to the house. But, a roughing the kicker penalty neutralized the TD scamper. Drew Keller made several nice defensive plays that included pressuring the quarterback and stopping a pair of Grafton drives.
Also in the second half, Rohde made several nice tackles, including one for a loss of yardage off a fake punt. The Eagles had a chance to win in regulation, but Jones was a little short as the horn sounded. Magnolia moved the chains 21 times and was flagged six times for 64 yards.
It only took the Eagles two plays to score the go-ahead touchdown and it took Grafton only two plays to tie the game and force a second OT. Grafton went first in the second overtime and was nearing the goal when it appeared that Rogalski caused a fumble and Jones recovered it for Magnolia.
Needing any number of points to win the game, the Eagles went to their bread-and-butter guy, Jayson Keller, who bullied his way into gold for his fourth TD of the game and Magnolia’s fifth win of the season.
Jayson accounted for 191 yards and four TDs, including the game-winner to pace the Eagles. Rogalski, Rohde, and Hanna picked up yardage on the ground. Hanna was 17-25 for 229 yards and two TDs. Rogalski hauled in eight passes for 135 yards and a score, while Jayson and Drew Keller each accounted for 36 yards receiving. Rohde caught one pass for 27 yards, while Ryan Walton grabbed one pass for 11 yards and Blatt grabbed another aerial for four yards and a touchdown.
Jayson Keller ended the season as the all-time career TD and yardage leader. He had 2,527-yards and scored 37 TDs, while Rogalski tied for the most TDs in a career with 25. Rogalski needs only one more TD catch and 22 yards receiving to become the all-time scoring and receiving yardage leader.
Magnolia will lose six seniors to graduation this year: Jayson Keller, Nick Blatt, Caleb Seckman, Tyler Blizzard, Bentley Knight, and Michael Jones. Returning to the gridiron next year, however, will be the receiving crew of Stephen Rogalski, Gage Deem, and Grant Cain. Also returning will be signal-caller junior Tanner Hanna. In his first season as starting quarterback, Hanna passed for 1,559 yards and tossed 16 touchdowns. Running backs Kage Rohde, Drew Keller, and Andrew Smith also will return, as will starting linemen Sam Shreve, Jared Wright, Bandon Clegg, Cole Seckman, and Tyler Baker.