Eagles Feast On Silver Knights In 57-0 Shutout
The Magnolia Blue Eagles, ranked second in the West Virginia Class AA, won its 18th straight regular season victory when they gave their adjacent-county rival Tyler Consolidated, a 57-0 pounding on a Thursday night game Sept. 9 at Alumni Field.
With the win, Magnolia’s four-year starter Justin “Tank” Fox – the front runner to the Kennedy Award as the best high school football player in West Virginia – moved into second place as the school’s top TD passer when he tossed for four TDs to eclipse Todd Morris. Fox now has 49 and needs 16 more to move past Mark Cisar, who has 64. Fox also moved into third place in attempts (602), fourth in completions (298), and fourth in aerial yardage (4,860) with his performances early in the season.
After a booming Fox kick, the Knights would gain a couple yards on the ground to open the first quarter. Eagle defensive end Tanner Fluharty drilled the Knight runningback for negative yardage, then pressed Tyler’s quarterback into coughing up the ball and forcing the Knights to punt.
Brendan Kacor ran the Silver Knight punt back 15 yards to the 45-yard line. Fox connected with Steve “Rogo” Rogalski on two straight short passes before connecting with Cameron “The Chosen One” Benson on an 11-yard completion. It was the first of 15 times the Eagles would make Rich Erlewine, Dave Benson, Bill Stuart, and Mike McVicker move the chains.
Fox would hit Kacor on another short gainer before Traeh and Jayson Keller picked up another Eagles first down to the Knights 20 yard line. Fox would connect for the first of four TDs to Rogalski for the game’s first tally. After the successful PAT kick by Fox, he would again kick it into the end zone for a touchback.
The second straight three-and-out had the Knights punting once again. But Benson bullied his way through the Knight line to block his third punt of the season and put Magnolia in business at the visitor’s five yard line.
Later, junior runningback Jayson Keller fumbled a Fox handoff, but composed himself and darted into the end zone for the Eagles’ second tally of the game. After the Fox conversion kick, Magnolia led 14-0 with 5:30 left in period one.
Fox drilled the kick into the end zone for the third straight time and Tyler took over at its own 20 yard line. The Eagles defense, led by Timmy Shreve, forced the Silver Knight quarterback to throw the ball away and incur a 15-yard penalty for intentional grounding. A few plays later, the visiting Knights punted. This time, Benson just missed the block and the punt went high in the air and fell into Kacor’s possession. Darting past several defenders, Kacor scampered about 15 yards to midfield and gave the Eagle offense excellent field position.
It took Fox only one play to get his troops to the promise land, a 48-yard pass to Kacor, who outraced his defenders for an easy TD. Once more, Fox split the uprights to give Magnolia a 21-0 advantage with 4:28 remaining in the opening period.
This time, however, Fox’s kick went out of bounds and the Knights had their best field position of the game. But that didn’t last long, when Magnolia’s Mark Winters and Sam Shepherd sacked the Tyler quarterback.
Fox would swipe the next Knight aerial and would later hit Rogalski in stride for a large gainer. After a few Blue Eagle penalties, Fox would reward his speedy receiver with a seven-yard TD pass. With 43 ticks remaining in the first quarter, Magnolia now held a 28 point advantage.
The powerful Magnolia defensive unit held Consolidated to another three-and- out and Magnolia took over at the 23 yard line. On the snap, Fox couldn’t find an open receiver and ran the ball nine yards. He then connected with Rogalski for a 45-yard strike that gave Magnolia a 35-0 advantage, after the good PAT.
On the kickoff, the Knights ran the ball back to their own 31 yard line. Fluharty was at his old tricks and broke through the line to force the Knight quarterback to throw the ball before he wanted to. Traeh Keller would later recover a fumble to give Magnolia another golden opportunity. However, the men in stripes handed the Eagles several penalties that pushed them back to midfield.
Magnolia moved the ball to the one yard line then creamed Tyler’s line to allow the eldest Keller brother, Traeh, to gallop into the end zone for a Magnolia 42-0 lead, after Fox’s good PAT kick.
Fox must have eaten his Wheaties before the game as he blasted the ensuing kick just short of Moundsville right before the half.
After a spectacular halftime show by both Tyler Consolidated and the Magnolia Blue Eagle marching bands, the second half got under way.
In the third period, both teams punted. On the Knights’ second series, a Blue Eagle partially blocked a Tyler punt and Magnolia’s Seth Findling recovered it at the 12 yard line.
A few plays later, Traeh Keller picked up his second straight TD run to give the Eagles a 49-0 lead. In the fourth period, the Eagles’ Kage Rohde scampered 84 yards to paydirt for the final Magnolia touchdown. Zack Arrick bullied his way into the end zone for the two-point conversion run and the game’s final points.
The Eagles second and third team defense held the Knights in check and almost got a safety and a couple tackles for loss of yardage. But each time the Knights found some running room to stay out of trouble.
Magnolia accumulated 445 yards of offense, with 255 of them coming on the ground and 190 yards in the air. In the rushing department, Rohde led the way with his first 100-yard game. He rushed for 110 yards, including a TD, on only six totes. Traeh Keller scampered for 74 yards and scored a pair of TDs on nine chances, while brother Jayson accounted for 37 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Fox ran for 18 yards on two carries, while Arrick accumulated 11 yards and Shreve claimed five-yards. Both Fluharty and Drew Keller added positive yardage for the Magnolia ground game.
In the passing department, Fox connected with Rogalski six times for 119 yards and three TDs. It was the third time Rogalski has passed the century mark this young season.
Kacor caught two Fox passes for 49 yards and a touchdown. Benson was held to one catch after reeling in three TDs for 11 yards in the last game. Traeh Keller, meanwhile, hauled in one pass for six yards.
The Knights’ offense was held in check by a tenacious Magnolia defense. Tyler ran the ball 30 times and gained only 20 yards, while its air game was limited to one reception in 10 attempts for three yards.
The Eagle defense had 33 solo tackles and 40 assists on the night, including four tackles for loss of yardage and one quarterback sack. Magnolia also had two interceptions and recovered two Silver Knight fumbles.
The Blue Eagles will visit the River Pilots this Friday for a 7:30 p.m. match.