Eagles Prevail, 54-13; Earns Post Season Spot
Magnolia’s Drew Keller rushed for 152 yards and scored four touchdowns to lead the host Eagles to a 54-13 win over Oak Glen Nov. 8, Senior Night, at the newly-named Bill Stewart Memorial Stadium on Alumni Field.
The Eagles recovered an Oak Glen fumble on the opening kick that led to a Keller 15-yard touchdown, which also set a new school record for rushing, set by Keller’s brother, Jayson. The drive included an Eric Smith end around and the Eagles’ lone reception of the night – a one-yard pass from Jacob Brill to Kyle Ritz.
Magnolia scored on its first eight drives and kept the Golden Bears from anything offensively. Smith scored the game’s second touchdown on a nice 28-yard run, which was followed by a Keller score and successful extra point kicks by Oscar Celedon to put the Blue Eagles up 20-0 at the end of one.
Early in the second stanza, Keller scored again on a 20-yard scamper, while Yale Wetzel tacked on a six-yard touchdown run of his own. Andrew Smith scored on an 11-yard run to give Magnolia a 40-0 lead at halftime.
During the break, the school officially christened Bill Stewart Memorial Stadium in honor of New Martinsville’s native son, former West Virginia University Head Football Coach and MHS standout. Fans heard an audio tape of Stewart’s famous and inspirational “Leave No Doubt” speech prior to the Fiesta Bowl and ended with the playing of John Denver’s “Country Roads” that had many in attendance teary-eyed.
Included in the halftime ceremonies were addresses by Stewart’s son, Blaine; Mountaineer great Owen Schmitt; MHS Assistant Coach Josh Sims; and MHS Band Director Thomas Myers, who was in the WVU band when Stewart was the head coach.
Others to speak were MHS Principal Kathi Schmalz, Wetzel County Superintendent Dennis Albright, and Sen. Larry Edgell, and Board of Education President Mike Blair, who presented Stewart’s son and widow, Karen, a plaque that memorialized the event.
Additionally, MHS Head Coach Mark Batton said, “Coach Stewart was one of the greatest men I’ve known. We’ve modeled our program after his program. We don’t talk to our kids about being great football players. We talk to them about being great citizens and about being great men and great fathers when they get there. That’s what is important,” added Batton, whose team remained in the field during the halftime ceremonies.
In the second half, Keller scored on a 16-yard TD run up the gut and finished the night with outstanding numbers. The rest of the game was played by the reserves, where freshmen Nick Priem took over the helm behind the center. Classmate Chase Streets and sophomores Tyler Anderson and Jared Kacor took over the running game.
Streets scored the last Blue Eagle touchdown in the game from one yard out and Celedon kicked his sixth PAT of the night.
Oak Glen finally found the endzone in the fourth period on TD scampers of nine and 14 yards.
Eric Smith rushed for 63 yards and a touchdown, while twin brother Andrew Smith tacked on 43 yards. Wetzel rambled for a season-high 70 yards, while Anderson chipped in with 48 yards rushing and Streets netted 35 yards and a score. Kage Rohde saw action in the backfield, rushing for 15 yards on two carries. Jacob Brill netted 19 yards, while Priem, Kacor, Peau Halahingano, and Drew LeMasters each rushed the ball on the ground. In all, the Eagles accounted for 453 yards on the ground, while their defensive unit limited Oak Glen to 83 total yards.
With the win, the #14 ranked 6-4 Blue Eagles punched their ticket to the WVSSAC Class-A playoffs where they will face the undefeated and third ranked Valley Fayette Greyhounds, Saturday, Nov. 16, at 1:30 p.m. on Laidley Field in Charleston.