Eagles Lose Season Opener, 25-21, To ‘Jackets
Down 21-10 with less than eight game minutes remaining, the Williamstown Yellowjackets scored 15 unanswered points to spoil first-year Head Coach Josh Sims’ debut, 25-21 Friday night at Bill Stewart Memorial Stadium.
The Blue Eagle defense, led by Carter Seckman and Zach Haught, held the powerful Yellowjacket offense to 65 total yards in the first half. It also squashed ‘Jacket quarterback Beck Watson to minus 19 yards up until the eight-minute mark of the fourth period. Watson would run for his life in his last four carries and ended the game with 100 yards and the game-winning touchdown.
The ‘Jackets started their come-back midway through the final period. On a second down and long, Watson hit his fullback on a screen, who got away from a flock of Eagles for a 40-yard pitch and catch. But, the Eagle defense held strong and Williamstown would have to settle for a 33-yard field goal.
Williamstown forced Magnolia on a three and out and it took the ‘Jackets only four plays to go 80 yards, with Watson getting loose on a 30-yard TD run with five minutes remaining.
The Williamstown defense held Magnolia once again. But the Eagles’ Oscar Celedon would pin the ‘Jackets inside the 10 yard line. Once again, Watson got loose, this time for a 53-yard gain. The Magnolia defense held Williamstown to a fourth down. But, Watson would connect with his receiver down the sidelines on a 23-yard gain that set up the Watson clincher.
Magnolia would get on the board first period when Seckman blocked a Williamstown punt and Hunter Parsons scooped it up and took it in five yards for a touchdown. Eagle quarterback Nick Priem would score the team’s only offensive score of the night on a two-yard keeper in the second period. Seckman later came up with a third-period fumble recovery and took it to the house on a 45-yard return to give Magnolia a 21-10 advantage.
The Eagles’ Tyler Anderson had 15 carries for 82 yards to lead the Eagle ground game, while Chase Street added 56 yards on 15 carries. Priem added a two-yard TD, while Parsons netted five yards on his one carry.
Passing, Priem was 5-16 for 70 yards, with Caleb Nice snatching two for 33 yards, Anderson hauled in two for 30 yards and Brandon Mason caught one for seven yards.
Defensively, the Blue Eagles’ Zach Haught had one quarterback sack, seven tackles, two for lost yardage. Seckman made four solo tackles, five assists, four tackles for loss of yardage, while blocking a punt and recovering a fumble for a touchdown.
Joey Ledergerber made seven tackles, two for loss of yardage, while Peau Halahingano made eight tackles and Caleb Nice made nine tackles. Meanwhile, Brooks Parsons returned a blocked punt for a touchdown.
Sims stated after the game, “Our line is the core of this team. Through three plus quarters, they dominated the game. But, there in the fourth quarter, Williamstown was able to catch their second wind and we didn’t. It was a tough loss.”
It doesn’t get any easier for the Big Blue. Losing Kyle Ritz, Jared Kacor and others to injuries to open one of the toughest Class-A schedule, the Eagles will now play at the defending Class-A runner-up Greenbrier West, Saturday at 1:30 p.m.