NM Eagles Beat Pilots And Knights In Thrillers
O’Neil Rushes For 150 Yards On Pilots; Rogalski Scores Three TDs vs Knights
The New Martinsville Eagles finished their season with a pair of huge wins against rivals River and Tyler Consolidated.
Against River at Magnolia’s Alumni Field on Oct. 9 the Eagles crushed the Pilots 43-28 as Bill O’Neil led the way with three touchdowns and accumulated 150 yards on the ground, while Grant Cain followed with 75 yards. Stephen Rogalski scored two TDs, while Zach Aarick, Gage Deem, Tanner Hanna, and Jacob Brill each found the end zone once for the young Eagles.
Defensively, the Eagles forced five Pilot fumbles and had one interception.
In the Eagles’ finale, they put up 30 first half points, and held on for a 36-30 victory with a touchdown reception by Rogalski with only four seconds remaining in the game.
The Knights where heading into the finale with a perfect 6-0 record, while the Eagles had only defeated River the week before. But, you couldn’t tell in the first half that New Martinsville had only won one game in the season.
They took the kickoff and scored quickly, as the hookup between Hanna and Rogalski was the first of three TDS the pair would have on the night, including the game winner.
However, it just wasn’t just the three passing TDs that helped the Eagles, it was all the other large gainers they hooked up on too. But, it wasn’t just a Hanna to Rogalski show either. Hanna found Ryan Walton six times for 95 yards and O’Neil rushed for a touchdown and rambled 105 yards on an interception return for a score.
The Knights answered the first two Eagle TDs with two of their own, all coming in the first quarter. However, after each team scored twice in the first period, the Knights would stop the drought when they picked off Hanna on the Eagles’ third possession, their first in the second period. But, the Eagles held off the Knights and scored two more times before the half to extend their lead to the undefeated Knights at 30-16.
Tyler licked their wounds and came back firing on all cylinders and scored twice in the third, tying it up 11 seconds into the final period. With the score now knotted at 30 apiece, the New Martinsville Eagles would set out on a 65-yard drive that took 7:45 minutes off the clock.
The final drive was very exciting three times on fourth situations. The first was on a Hanna quarterback sneak. The second was on a fourth and 17 yards following a Knight quarterback sack; the Eagles’ Hanna teamed with Walton for a 20-yard completion to the 11 yard line. Then after two unsuccessful run plays, Hanna hooked up with Rogalski in the end zone for a touchdown, but it was overturned due to an offensive pass interference call in the end zone.
With the ball now spotted on the 26 yard line, the Knights would get to Hanna again on another quarterback sack with the ball now spotted on the 42-yard line. New Martinsville Coach Joe Sturgill called in a play with the clock clicking down from 28 seconds remaining. Hanna got to the line with seconds remaining and threw a strike to the fleet-footed Rogalski. The Tyler Knight defense neglected to cover Rogalski as they thought the game was over and Rogalski hauled in the game-winner with four ticks left on the clock.
The two-point conversion attempt was stopped and all the Eagles had to do was get a nice squib kick off, then make a tackle. That would send the New Martinsville team into a frenzy. They did just that as Eric Smith laid down the whipping stick and hauled down the Knights’ ball returner.
The clock expired and the Eagles pulled off a successful attempt to knock off the undefeated Knights. Ball control kept the Knights from getting the ball in the final stanza, letting the Knights have the ball for only two offensive plays.
The Eagles finished the season 2-4, but barring injuries the Eagles could have easily have been 4-2, while the Silver and Black finished the season with an outstanding 6-1 record.