Magnolia Eagles Claim 14-12 Thriller Over Williamstown Yellowjackets
The Magnolia Blue Eagle defense forced three turnovers that sealed a 14-12 victory over the Williamstown Yellowjackets Sept. 4 in Yellowjacket territory.
The game wasn’t decided until 1:10 left in the game, as Blue Eagle defensive end Davey Howell sacked the Williamstown quarterback, which forced a fumble that teammate Cole Mullett fell on to clinch the victory.
The Eagles took the opening kick-off and went right to work. MHS quarterback Justin Fox, on third and short, gave the Eagles a new fresh of downs to the 34 yard line. Fox connected with Derek Frunner to move the chains once again and Stingray Bates picked up another first down to the Jackets 14 yard line.
Dillon Jackson’s eight-yard gallop into the end zone put the finishing touches on a successful long drive that took 6:52 off the clock. Fox was true on the point after to give MHS a 7-0 lead.
The Big Blue defense stymied the ‘Jackets offense and forced a punt. Fox connected with Frunner once more to move the chains and then spotted the fleet-footed Stephen Rogalski for a big pass that took the ball to the Williamstown’s 37. However, the drive was stopped when Fox was picked off deep in Williamstown territory.
Fox quickly made up for his mistake as he picked off a pass at the Yellowjacket 30 and took it to the barn for a 14-0 Magnolia advantage after his point after sailed between the goal post.
Williamstown moved the ball against the stingy Eagle defense and later scored on a one yard plunge to narrow the gap to 14-6 after an unsuccessful point after kick.
After the half time ceremonies, the ‘Jackets returned the kick-off close to mid-field. Later in the drive, Fox intercepted a Yellowjacket pass and returned it to the ‘Jackets 40. However, the drive stalled and the Blue was forced to try a 32-yard field goal that just missed.
The two teams exchanged punts for the rest of the quarter with the score still 14-6, Magnolia. The Eagles then drove the ball to the ‘Jackets 38. From there, Fox hit Jared Blatt to take the ball to the 49 yard line. Bates moved the ball to the 38 yard line and then toted the ball to the Jackets 22. But, after two huge penalties , Magnolia was backed up to the 37 yard line. Once again, Magnolia threatened, but another major infraction move the ball back forcing another punt.
Two Williamstown first downs and a personal foul took the ball to the Eagles’ 35 yard line. Williamstown, with the help of the yellow flag, scored on a short gainer, but the conversion pass to deadlock the game failed and Magnolia was still holding the lead at 14-12.
The Eagles recovered an onside kick, but were forced to punt the ball away with 1:47 showing on the clock. Then came the biggest play of the game. Yellowjacket quarterback Adam Kerns dropped back to pass, but was blind-sided by Davey “Hitman” Howell, jarring the football loose for a Blue Eagle recovery that sealed the win.
Bates carried the ball 22 times for 81 yards to lead the Magnolia ground game, while Jackson tallied 13 yards and a TD. In the air, Fox was 6-9 for 130 yards. Frunner caught three passes for 66 yards, while Rogalski snatched one catch for 37 yards. Blatt hauled in two Fox passes for 27 big yards.
Magnolia had 10 penalties for more than 100 yards while the host team had only four flags thrown their way for 35 yards.
Defensively, Cole Mullett led the way with 18 tackles and recovered a fumble, while Howell ended the night with 14 stops and forced the game-changing fumble with his quarterback sack.
The Eagles will hit the road again this Friday to take on the Tyler Consolidated Silver Knights before returning home next Friday to play the rival River Pilots Sept. 18 at 7:30 p.m.