Blue Eagles’ Season Ends In Semi-Finals, 10-7
The Magnolia Blue Eagles’ quest for the Super Six ended at Alumni Field Nov. 24 when the Wahama White Falcons split the uprights on a 27-yard field goal late in the game for a 10-7 win that will send them to state championship contention.
Stephen Rogalski coughed up the pigskin on an end-around on the Blue Eagles’ first play from scrimmage at their own 31 yard line.
Wahama picked up seven yards on its first offensive down before Kage Rohde dropped a Falcon ball carrier for loss of yardage. However, Wahama would move the chains on a nice run the very next play.
The Eagle front line stood its ground and teamed for another tackle with loss of yardage before Carter Seckman ended the Falcon drive with a quarterback sack and Magnolia took over at its own 36 yard line.
Four nice runs by Drew Keller moved the chains to the Wahama 31 yard line, where Rohde broke off what appeared to be a Magnolia touchdown. But, a block in the back nullified the touchdown and the Eagles couldn’t stick it in.
With the help of a pair of Magnolia fumbles, the Falcons took over at their own 35 yard line. The Magnolia defense stiffened and forced a punt. Rogalski ran the punt back to the Eagles’ 35 yard line where he took a late hit, adding 15 penalty yards to his progress. That brought the football to midfield to start the next drive.
The combination of Rohde and Keller and a Wahama face-mask penalty worked the ball inside the Falcons’ 11 yard line before the first period ended.
Keller moved the ball to the six yard line for a new set of downs. And, after a Rohde five-yard scamper, Tanner Hanna pushed it for a Magnolia touchdown. After the Clemens Raitmayr PAT kick, the Eagles went up 7-0 early in the second period.
Wahama returned the ensuing kick to the 44 yard line. On the first play, the Eagle defense sacked the Falcons’ quarterback, but was guilty of a personal foul that negated the nice defensive effort. After another monster tackle for loss by Rohde, Wahama moved the chains, but Rohde would back them up with another quarterback sack. The Eagles would make a stand and took over at their own 19 yard line with 5:46 left in the first half.
Right before the break, the Blue Eagle crowd would become quiet when Rogalski laid motionless on the turf after being hit by a pair of Falcon defenders. But, he shook off the cobwebs and returned in the second half.
The Eagle defense held the White Falcons to negative yards in the first half, but after the Raitmayr second half kickoff, Wahama caught the Blue Eagle defense napping and went to the air for their first pass of the night. The pass — a 10-yard pitch-and-catch — continued 54 yards into the end zone for a Falcon touchdown that would knot the game at seven points after its conversion kick.
Magnolia’s opening drive of the second half started at their own 36 yard line. Positive runs by Keller and Rohde had the Eagles sitting pretty at the 41 yard line. However, Hanna dropped back to pass and was intercepted. But, the Eagle defense held Wahama and forced a punt that rolled dead at the one-yard line.
From this point, the combination of Keller and Rohde moved the chains. Hanna would then hook up with Rogalski on a fine catch for a 15-yard pickup and another first down. Hanna was then sacked for an eight-yard loss. On a third and long, Hanna connected with Rogalski once more to move the chains. However, a run for no gain, a penalty, and a sack backed the Eagles up. Hanna’s pass was tipped and intercepted.
But, a short time later, Rogalski would force a Wahama fumble and recovered it at the Magnolia 41 yard line. Keller picked up three yards — with at least four Falcons riding him piggyback — to end the third period with the game knotted at seven points.
Rohde added a four-yard run. However, on third and three, Hanna couldn’t find a receiver downfield and ran the ball himself for a one-yard gain and set up a fourth and short.
Rather than go for it, Magnolia punted. A short time later, Keller recovered a fumble and Magnolia was back in business at the White Falcon 41 yard line.
Rohde galloped down to the Eagles’ 29 yard line. But, a holding call backed the Eagles up to the 43 yard line, where Rohde coughed it up while trying to extend the play and Wahama recovered.
The Falcons would then march down the field to the Eagle 10 yard line. But Magnolia’s Jared Wright made a sack that pushed the visitors back to the 22 yard line. Facing a third and long, Wahama picked up 12 yards that positioned them for a field goal and a 10-7 lead with 25 second remaining in the game.
The Falcons wouldn’t let Magnolia beat them with a kick return and executed a perfect on-side kick, recovered the ball, and ran out the clock to punch their ticket to the Super Six Class-A Championship this Saturday on Wheeling Island.
Magnolia Head Coach Mark Batton said after the game, “I don’t know if words can describe how heartbreaking this loss was. I just feel bad for my seniors. What a tremendous effort they put forth and what they mean to this program and this high school and this community. But that’s how it goes sometimes.
“Wahama is a nice football team. They are very physical, hard-nosed, and bounced back when they were down. We didn’t capitalize on a few of their mistakes, and that is the game of football.”
The Wahama offense moved the chains eight times, but rushed for only 88 yards on 39 touches, while completing two passes for 63 yards that included a 54-yard TD catch-and-run, for 147 total yards of offense. Magnolia racked up 12 first downs, 139 yards rushing, and completed 7-11 passes for 91 yards. The Blue Eagles were intercepted twice.
The Eagles had seven fumbles, but only lost two, and were picked off twice for a total of four turnovers. Wahama lost two of five fumbles. Both teams had five penalties.
Keller rushed for 75 yards, Rohde for 62 yards, and Rogalski netted two yards. Rogalski caught two Hanna passes for 84 yards, while Keller grabbed two passes for 10 yards and Jacob Brill made one catch for negative yardage.
For his career, Rogalski hauled in 193 passes for 3,646 yards and 31 TDs, while Hanna completed 248 of 419 passes for 3,143 yards and 31 TDs. Hanna was intercepted 19 times in his career.
For the season, Keller rushed for 1,374 yards on 251 carries and scored 12 TDs, while hauling in 26 catches for 358 yards and one touchdown. Rohde added 855 yards on 126 touches and scored 15 times.
In addition to Rogalski and Hanna, the Blue Eagles will lose seniors Ryan Walton, Zach Arrick, Gage Deem, Hunter McAdams, Sam Shreve, Jared Wright, Robert Walker and exchange student Clemens Raitmayr.