Eagles Shut Out Rebels In Season Opener, 53-0
Magnolia four-year starter Justin “Tank” Fox – the front runner in the Kennedy Award sweepstakes – connected with sophomore speedster Stephen Rogalski for 101 yards and three scores in three quarters of play, en route to a convincing 53-0 shutout over the Tolsia Rebels Aug. 27 in Fort Guy.
The Eagles’ Brendan Kacor returned the opening kickoff to the 36 yard line. Nice runs by Timmy Shreves and Traeh Keller set up the game’s first tally – a 53-yard strike from Fox to Rogalski. Fox booted the PAT to bring the score to 7-0 after two minutes of play.
The Magnolia defense, led by Keller & Co., held the running Rebels to three and out, forcing the game’s first punt.
After the punt, Fox connected with Keller on a screen that had the Eagles at the 46 yard line. Magnolia marched down the field and finished the drive with a 12-yard TD from Fox to Rogalski. After another point after by Fox, Magnolia lead 14-0 midway through the opening quarter.
The Blue Eagle defense forced the Rebels to punt once again. In return, the Blue moved the ball down the field with nice runs by Keller. And, after a personal foul by the Rebels, the Eagles were in business at the 24 yard line after the first quarter of play.
On the first play of the second period, Kacor took a pitch from Fox on a end-around for a Magnolia touchdown. Fox’s kick missed its mark and the score stood 20-0, one play into the second period.
After the kick, the Rebels moved the ball down the field, but the Eagle defense quickly would halt the drive to force their hosts to punt once again.
The Rebel defense held Magnolia in check during the next drive and forced Magnolia’s first punt of the game.
Late in the second period, Fox and Rogalski connected on a 36-yard TD pass, followed by another successful point after kick by Fox, to extend the MHS advantage to 27-0 right before the break.
After returning the kick, the Rebels got to within 25 yards of the goal line before the Eagles’ Jayson Keller stepped in front of a Tolsia pass for an interception to end the half, with the Eagles in the lead.
After outstanding performances by both the Rebel and Blue Eagle marching bands, Fox nailed the second half kick deep to force the Rebels to start their opening series inside the 20 yard line.
Tolsia must have made some adjustments at the break, as they moved the chains all the way to the Magnolia 21 yard line, where the MHS defense stood tall to force the Rebels on downs.
Afterwards, the Brothers Keller went to work. Before you knew it, the Eagles were at the five, where Traeh took it in unscathed to push the Eagles’ advantage to 34-0 after the Fox PAT kick.
The Rebels moved the chains until they reached the Blue Eagle 41 yard line. Rogalski would step in front of a Rebel pass for an interception and the Magnolia offense moved the ball to mid-field. Fox hit Kyle Elliott on a large gainer to set up a Jayson Keller 35-yard touchdown scamper to push the Eagles’ total to 34-0.
The Eagles halted the next Tolsia drive with a Kacor interception to end the third period of play.
At this point in the action, MHS Head Coach Mark Batton sent in the reserves. Tolsia held them in the first series, but so did the Eagles’ second unit defense. With Tanner Hanna at the helm for the Eagles, the Big Blue offense would march down the field with positive runs by a flock of Eagles. Freshman Kage Rohde took his very first varsity run to the house from 13 yards out for a 47-0 Magnolia lead.
Nick Blatt came up big for the Blue defense when he scooped up a Tolsia fumble and Zach Arrick would end the 53-0 drubbing with a 21 yard TD.
Defensively, Tanner Fluharty, Traeh Keller, and Matt Riggs were very busy. Fluharty had five solo tackles, five assists, three tackles for a loss in yardage, and one quarterback sack.
Keller contributed four solo tackles and assisted on four other tackles, while Riggs added three solo tackles, six assists, and one tackle that led to loss of yardage. As a team, the Big Blue Defense had 32 solo tackles, 41 assists, 10 tackles that went for loss of yardage, and five quarterback sacks, with 18 different players recording tackles: Cameron Benson, Sam Shepherd, Kacor, Timmy Shreve, Rohde, Jayson Keller, Dillon Simmons, Rogalski, Mark Winters, Jesse Glow, Ian Cain, Arrick, Willy Wilkinson, Tanner Hanna, and Ryan Richmond.
Jayson Keller, Rogalski, and Kacor each recorded an interception, while Drew Keller and Nick Blatt each hauled in a fumble recovery.
Tolsia moved the chains seven times, while the Eagles converted 18. The Eagles had 237 yards on the ground, while Fox connected for 188 yards and three tallies, for 425 total yards of offense. Traeh Keller caught three passes for 48 yards, Kyle Elliott caught two passes for 25 yards, and Benson caught one pass for 14 yards.
The Keller brothers, that also included freshman Drew Keller, accounted for 132 yards on the ground, while Rogalski caught three TD passes for 101 yards. Tolsia had six penalties that resulted in 45 yards of lost turf, while the Eagles were flagged 12 times for 99 yards of lost real-estate.
Magnolia will host Williamstown Friday at 7:30 p.m.