Eagles Swat Yellowjackets In Playoff Opener, 34-7
Tanner Hanna and Drew Keller accounted for 288 of the 341 total yards and four touchdowns to lead Magnolia to a convincing 34-7 victory over the Yellowjackets in the opener of the West Virginia Class-A High School Football Playoffs at Alumni Field in New Martinsville, Friday, Nov. 9.
Stephen “Rogo” Rogalski ran back the opening kickoff 99 yards to paydirt, giving the Blue Eagles a quick 7-0 lead after the Clemens Raitmayr conversion kick with only 15 seconds off the clock.
“It’s nice to look up and see 15 seconds off the clock and you have the lead. You will take that every week. It was a total team effort,” stated Magnolia Head Coach Mark Batton.
There was no scoring the rest of the first period, but on the first play of the second period, Rogalski went high in the air and pulled down a Hanna pass in the back of the end zone to extend the Eagle advantage to 13-0.
The Eagles’ next scoring drive started on defense, as Gage Deem stepped in front of a Yellowjacket receiver for an interception, returning it to the visitors’ 24 yard line. Two plays later, it was like watching the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Wallace as they capped off a drive and went juking and jiving into the end zone for a touchdown.
Instead, it was Hanna finding a wide-open Deem, who would scamper through and around Yellowjacket defenders for a 21-yard pitch-and-catch that pushed the Eagles’ advantage to 20-0.
However, Hanna wasn’t done. He found freshman Todd Lemasters open in the back of the end zone and was on target with his third TD pass in the first half – and the 15th such pass this season. It also was Lemasters’ first varsity TD reception.
Williamstown opened the third quarter with a long drive, but missed a 29-yard field goal attempt, wide right.
Keller, who rushed for 122 yards in the first half, showed the same determination in the second half, breaking numerous Williamstown tackles and ultimately scoring the Eagles’ final tally from one yard out in the fourth frame.
The Yellowjackets, who came into the game as one of the hottest Class-A teams in the last few weeks, finally got on the scoreboard late in the game with a six-yard touchdown reception to break up the shutout.
Keller pounded the Yellowjackets with 201 yards rushing and a touchown, while Hanna converted 9-11 passes for 81 yards and threw three TDs, Kage Rohde tacked on 41 yards on only five rushes, while Hanna gained five yards rushing. Rogalski totaled 10 yards rushing and 31 yards receiving that included a touchdown, and added a 99 yard kick return for another MHS?TD. Deem hauled in one pass for 22 yards and a score, while Walton and Kyle Ritz each hauled in one pass for 11 yards. Lemasters caught one pass for six yards and a TD.
Williamstown had a single penalty for five yards, while the Eagles were guilty of six infractions, losing 65 yards. Magnolia lost one fumble, while the ‘Jackets turned it over once on a fine interception by Deem.
With the win, Magnolia will host the East Hardy Cougars Saturday, Nov. 17, at 7:30 p.m. at Alumni Field in New Martinsville.