Blue Eagles Ground Red Riders, 54-0
The Magnolia Blue Eagles improved to 6-0 after thumping the Weir Red Riders, 54-0 on a rain-soaked Alumni Field Oct. 9, Homecoming Night.
The dynamic duo of Dillon “Action” Jackson and Stingray Bates combined for 36 of the Blue Eagles points, including six of the eight Eagle touchdowns for 238 yards in the homecoming victory.
Bates got things going for the Blue Eagles by taking the opening kick and running it back deep in Weirton territory at the 37 yard line. Magnolia jumped on the Riders early. After moving the ball down to the six yard line, Jackson bullied his way into the end zone. MHS place-kicker Justin Fox split the uprights on the PAT for a Magnolia 7-0 lead, early in the first period.
Fox pinned the Riders deep in their own side of the field on the ensuing kick and the Blue Eagle defense did the rest. They held their turf sacred and made their guests punt from their own end zone. In great field position, Magnolia didn’t take too long to score, as Bates took his turn and rambled across the goal line from 26 yards out to push the Eagles in front 14-0 after Fox drilled his second extra point kick.
After the ensuing kick, the Eagles defense strapped down their helmets and went to work, forcing a fumble. Jackson didn’t take too much time to score his second touchdown of the quarter with a sizzling 25-yard run. Fox’s kick was off its mark, but Magnolia increased its lead to 20-0 right before the end of one period of play.
The outstanding field position was a key factor in the Eagles’ huge success in the first period.
Bates added touchdown runs of 10 and five yards in the second period to give the home-standing Eagles a 34-0 lead by the break.
Because of the horrid field conditions, the crowning of the 2009 MHS Homecoming queen was postponed until after the game in the Hammer Dome at Magnolia High School, where Lindsay Cain was crowned.
Before the third period ended, the MHS front line of Jake Potts, Drew Schmalz, Andy Huggins, Dillon Simmons, Matt Riggs, and Jared Blatt opened a gigantic hole that made it easy for Jackson to score from three yards out, as did Traeh Keller in the third period before sitting out the rest of the game.
The Eagles substitutes then played the rest of the game and held the mighty Riders in check and played well enough to score one more time. Midway through the fourth period, Billy O’Neil plunged over the goal line for a touchdown to the roar of cheers on the Blue Eagle sideline to complete the Magnolia scoring.
The Riders sustained their fifth straight defeat following a season opening victory, while the Eagles are still perfect at 6-0.
Magnolia wanted to come out and establish the run, control the line of scrimmage, and play good old fashioned defense. The muddy field condition likely would have hampered the Blue Eagle passing attack, but in fact it wasn’t needed.
The Blue Eagles spread the wealth on the ground as Jackson led the charge with 131 yards and three touchdowns, while Bates scampered for 107 yards and three scores. The duo became only the fourth since 1980 to eclipse the 100-yard mark. They were the first since Josh Sims and Billy Longwell did it in 2005. “It has been a goal of ours that we wanted to do this season,” said Jackson and Bates.
Keller and O’Neil each tallied 24 yards rushing, while Fox, Tanner Hanna, Zach Aarick, Timmy Shreve, and Ryan Richmond each added positive yardage for the good guys.
The air game wasn’t necessary, but Fox still completed three passes for 39 yards. Blatt, Jackson, and Cameron Benson each caught one pass.
Defensively, the Big Blue held the Weir Riders to zero yards offensively, while Magnolia tallied 353 yards. The Riders didn’t pick up a first down, while Magnolia moved the chains 12 times. However, the Eagles shot themselves in the foot by losing three of four fumbles, while the Riders lost two of three.
The Big Blue defense was paced by Zach Neff with six solo tackles and seven assists, while adding one tackle for loss of yardage, one quarterback sack, and caused one fumble. Davey “Hitman” Howell had three solo tackles and assisted on eight more, while making two tackles in the Riders backfield. Sam Shepherd and Dillon Jackson each recorded eight tackles. Shepherd also had a tackle for loss of yardage, one QB sack, and hauled in a Weir fumble. Traeh Keller added seven tackles, while Seth Pay added five tackles and had a quarterback sack. All told there were 19 different Blue Eagles with tackles, six different guys with quarterback sacks, and four others with tackles for loss of yardage. Tanner Fluharty, Nick Blatt, and Lief Lallathin each recorded sacks for the Blue Eagles off the bench, while Jared Blatt hauled in a Weir fumble.
If there were any negatives it was the Blue Eagles had 10 penalties thrown their way for a loss of 95 yards and lost three of four fumbles.
The Eagles take their fifth ranked team on the road for the next two weeks playing Lincoln and Barnesville Oct. 16 and Oct. 23, respectively, with 7:30 p.m. kickoffs.