Eagles Blank Riders, 31-0
The Magnolia Blue Eagles routed the fifth-ranked Weir Red Riders 31-0 at Jimmy Carey Stadium Oct. 10 to keep their W.Va. Class AA playoff hopes alive.
The Eagles took the opening kickoff, but didn’t do any damage and were forced to punt. The Riders didn’t get untracked either, as Treah Keller sacked the quarterback for a two-yard loss to help force a Rider punt.
On the Eagles’ second possession, Stingray Bates, subbing for the injured Dillon Jackson, took the ball to his own 35 for a Magnolia first down. The Big Blue’s Justin Fox hit Jason Utt for a first down at the Riders’ 45, but a pass interference call put the ball at the Rider 35.
Fox would then hit Bates for an 11-yard pick up on a screen to the Riders’ 24 that set up a Fox-to-Utt 20 yard touchdown pitch and catch. Fox drilled the extra point kick and Magnolia dented the scoreboard first. The drive ate up about 5:26 of the clock that covered 81-yards on 13 plays.
After holding the Riders to a three and out, the Eagles wasted very little time in picking up touchdown number two.
Bates ran back the Weir punt to midfield and on the second play from scrimmage, Fox hit Utt for a 34-yard gainer to the Weirton’s two yard line where Keller bullied his way in for another Blue Eagle tally. Fox drilled the PAT and Magnolia forged to a commanding 14-0 lead after one period of play.
The highly motivated Magnolia defense forced the Riders to punt. Utt scored his second touchdown of the night on Magnolia’s second play from scrimmage in the second period. It was a 23-yard lob to the back of the end zone.
The Riders finally got a first down, but the drive came to a squeaking halt when senior lineman Tyler Hanna stepped in front of a screen pass and rambled into the end zone from 40 yards out. However, the play was called back by a penalty, with Magnolia still in possession.
The Eagles were in business, as Fox hit Keller for Continued from page 1B
another Big Blue first down and Bates took the ball for another first down. The drive would stall at the five yard line and Fox would split the uprights on a 23 yard field goal to give Magnolia a 24-0 lead.
The Eagles had a chance to score just before the half, after holding the Riders and forcing them to punt. On a hurry-up offense, Fox connected with Bates in the end zone. But, the ball came out as he hit the turf and was ruled an incomplete pass and the Eagles took a 24-0 advantage into the locker room.
On their first possession in the second half, the Riders moved the ball to Magnolia’s 24, but turned it over on downs. Bates picked up a quick first down, rambling 16 yards to the Eagles’ 38. He got another first down into Rider territory at the 45. After a couple of Fox quarterback sneaks, the ball was on the Rider five yard line. Bates took it in from there to extend the Blue advantage to 31-0, late in the third. The scoring drive accumulated 78 yards on 11 plays.
Fox was 8-16 for 166 yards and tossed a pair of touchdowns. Bates had a career game with 133 yards rushing on 29 carries and a score.
“Bates stepped up in the absence Dillon and Justin Fox and Jason Utt worked very well together tonight,” said MHS Head Football Coach Mark Batton.
“This was a great team effort on both sides of the ball. I thought our offensive coordinator, Dave Chapman, called a great game.”
Utt caught five Fox passes for a season-high 110 yards and two scores, while intercepting a pass on defense.
Magnolia’s defense played a huge role in shutting out the Riders. They gave up only 21 yards rushing and 141 total yards of offense, with most of that coming late in the game.
Keller had 11 stops for the Eagles, with two of them going for loss of yardage. Cole Mullett finished with 10 tackles and Davey Howell chipped in with seven tackles, two of them for negative yardage in the must-win shut out of Weir High.
The Big Blue will return home for the first time since week three of the season for a homecoming match up against the Barnesville Shamrocks, Friday at 7:30 p.m.