Eagles Swat Yellowjackets, 48-21; Remain Unbeaten
The Magnolia Blue Eagles spotted the Williamstown Yellowjackets a 14-0 lead early in the first quarter and then ran off 48 unanswered points to win, going away 48-21, in front of a SRO crowd Friday.
It also was the night that Magnolia High School dedicated a new press box at Alumni Field and the gridiron victory made in 17 consecutive regular-season wins for the Blue.
The Eagles fumbled their first possession, giving Williamstown a golden opportunity deep in its own real estate. It took the ‘Jacks three plays to score when they connected on a 25-yard pass play to give the Wood County visitors a 7-0 lead after the PAT.
Moments later, Fox was intercepted and the ‘Jackets were in business once more, with the end result coming from 39-yards out on a running TD scamper to silence the Magnolia fans with a 14-0 lead.
However, the Eagles would turn the tables rather quickly when a flock of Eagles corralled the Williamstown quarterback and Timmy Shreve grabbed the loose pigskin and scrambled 54 yards to cut the Williamstown advantage in half after the extra point kick by Justin “Tank” Fox.
“What a nice hit to force that fumble,” said Magnolia Head Coach Mark Batton. “That took the wind out of their sails and all the momentum went our way. I have never seen things change that quickly.”
After the TD, Fox would then connect on three straight passes, including a 41-yard strike, to Stephen “Rogo” Rogalski. Four plays later, Fox connected with Kyle Elliott over the middle from five yards out for the Eagles’ second touchdown of the game. However, the point after kick was blocked and Williamstown still had the lead at 14-13.
Fox, the Kennedy Award front-runner, picked off the ‘Jackets on their next drive and then led his offense on a five play, 54-yard drive.
The effort finished with a nifty 25-yard touchdown run-after-catch by senior tight end Cameron “The Chosen One” Benson and the home team wrested the lead 20-14 with 3:05 still remaining in the first half.
The Eagles’ defense quickly stopped Williams-town on its next drive and gave Fox 1:30 to work his magic. Fox would connect with Rogalski on a 12-yard pass and a seven yarder to Brendan Kacor, before running out of bounds eight yards on a keeper.
Fox connected with Benson once more for 18 yards. Two plays later, Fox hit Rogalski again for an 18-yard pitch-and-catch to the Eagles’ two yard line.
Fox took it in from two yards out, finishing a picture-perfect drive in a little more than a minute to push the Eagle lead to 27-14 after his good point after kick.
Magnolia’s student body was on its feet from the opening kick and urged the Eagles to continue its domination in the second. And they did not disappoint.
The Blue added three more touchdowns before the Yellowjackets scored on the MHS reserves late in the fourth period.
In the third period, Jayson Keller added a 19-yard TD run for Magnolia and Benson hauled in his second TD catch. Sandwiched between the two TDs was a Benson-blocked punt that senior All-Stater Matt Riggs picked up and rambled 35 yards to pay-dirt for his very first varsity touchdown for the Blue and Gold.
After the first two quick Willamstown scores, the Blue Eagle defense held the highly-ranked Yellowjackets to 31 yards the rest of the first half.
The Blue Eagles’ final tally – and the bigger portion of their yardage – came late in the game against the reserves.
Fox paced the Eagles with 245 yards through the air, including three TDs and one more from the ground. He booted six extra point kicks, intercepted a pass, and just missed a 43-yard field goal.
Jayson Keller was the team’s leading ball carrier with 74 yards and a touchdown, while Kacor, Traeh Keller, and Kage Rohde combined for 63 yards on the ground.
Rogalski hit the century mark for the second consecutive game with 116-yards on four receptions. Benson hauled in three passes for 73 yards and two scores, while Elliott caught four passes for 33 yards and a TD. Kacor caught three passes for 24 yards.
Defensively, 19 different Eagles made tackles, with Tanner Fluharty leading the way with 12 stops, while Traeh Keller and Riggs each dropped nine ‘Jackets. Riggs also recovered a fumble, made a tackle for loss of yardage, and shared a quarterback sack with Sam Shepherd. Jayson Keller added eight tackles and Shepherd threw in seven stops.
Also contributing tackles were: Benson and Justin Wade, each with five; Fox, Elliott, Dillon Simmons, Mark Winters, and Rhode each added four tackles; Shreves, Bentley Knight, and Ryan Richmond each with three; Rogalski, Jesse Glow, and Lief Lallathin each recorded one tackle. Shreves also had a QB sack.
The Eagles will host Tyler Consolidated in a Thursday Night Special, Sept. 9, at 7:30 p.m.