Magnolia Buries Shamrocks In The Mud, 14-7
Eight down and two to go for a perfect season for the Magnolia Blue Eagles after they defeated the Barnesville Shamrocks in a 14-7 nail-biter Oct. 27 on a muddy Shamrock Field.
MHS running back Dillon “Action” Jackson paced the second-ranked Eagles with 69 yards rushing and scored two touchdowns, adding a two-point conversion on the last one. He also recorded five tackles and picked off a ‘Rock pass to put the game away in the closing minutes.
The muddy field played havoc on both teams’ running attack, but Barnesville scored its only touchdown on the only Blue Eagle fumble, midway through the second period at the Shamrock 44. After taking over on the Eagle fumble, Barnesville marched down the field on 12 plays, picking up 56 yards and capping off a fourth-down run with a three-yard TD pass.
Barnesville held the potent Blue Eagle-offense to 42 yards on 28 plays in the first half and took a 7-0 lead with them into the locker room. It was the first time all season that the Eagles had to play from behind at the break. After the break, the Eagle defense forced Barnesville to punt, which the Eagles hauled in at their 28 yard line.
With runs by Jackson and Stingray Bates, the Magnolia offense would take their first possession of the second half, keyed by a 24-yard Bates scamper and a Justin Fox quarterback run, to the Shamrock 20.
Three plays later, Jackson would high-step it into the end zone untouched with excellent blocking from his linemen. On the play, Barnesville was penalized for unsportsman-like conduct and the Eagles went from kicking the extra point in the mud, to going for the lead at the four-and-a-half line.
Magnolia went for a quarterback sneak, which was met head-on by the Barnesville line to stop the two-point conversion run and remain on top, 7-6.
After the ensuing kick, Magnolia would hold once more and force a punt. The Eagles moved the ball down the field, but their quest for the go-ahead points was halted. Instead of going for it on fourth down, Eagle Head Coach Mark Batton put faith in his defense to stop the Shamrocks. Fox nailed a coffin-corner punt at the seven yard line and Barnesville took over.
Traeh Keller sacked the Shamrock quarterback for a three-yard loss. That pushed the hosts back to the four yard line, stopped their running game, and again forced them to punt from their end zone.
Magnolia took over at the Barnesville 30-yard line and proceeded to the game-winner when Jackson bullied his way into the end zone from two yards out. Jackson also tallied the two-point conversion run to double up the Shamrocks 14-7 and Magnolia’s first lead of the game with less than six minutes remaining. The drive was aided by a second unsportsmanlike penalty.
After the ensuing kick, the Eagle defense held and forced another punt. Magnolia moved the ball to the Rock 36-yard line on a combination of runs by Bates and Jackson, with Keller leading.
Following a Magnolia time out with 2:34 left to play, Batton again put the game in the hands of his talented defensive unit and punted the ball. But, the punt was short and Barnesville took over at the 20-yard line, with 2:27 remaining in this barn-burner.
Jackson picked off the Shamrock ball carrier and the game was well in hand. Keller rushed for eight yards and Fox got the first down and finished the game by taking a knee to come out of Barnesville with a 14-7 win.
Magnolia improved to 8-0 on the season, with two games left in regular season, while Barnesville dropped to 5-4.
Magnolia rushed for 156 yards on 44 carries, with Jackson leading the way with 70 yards and two touchdowns, while adding a two-point conversion run. He needs only 78 yards to reach 2,000 yards for his career. Bates chipped in with 61 yards, while Fox and Keller netted 14 and 11 yards, respectively.
The field conditions limited both teams’ passing games. However, Fox was 4-10 for 40 yards, while his counterpart was 8-16 for 68 yards. Magnolia moved the chains 12 times, while the ‘Rocks moved them only six times.
Defensively, the Eagles bent, but didn’t break, giving up 90 yards on the ground and 68 yards through the air. Keller paced the Big Blue defense with 11 tackles, including one for loss of yardage and a quarterback sack. Zach Neff was one short of Keller with 10, but his included two tackles for loss of yardage and a pair of quarterback sacks.
Davey “Hit man” Howell finished the night with nine tackles, while Jackson and Cole Mullett each added seven stops, that included a tackle for loss of yardage for Mullett and an interception for Jackson.
Other notable Eagles that put down Shamrocks in the mud included Sam Shepherd with six, Bates with five, and Fox with a pair of interceptions.
Magnolia will be going for nine in a row Oct. 30 at home against the Oak Glen Golden Bears. It will be the Eagles’ senior night when they honor all their fall senior athletes and band members. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.