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Sports Talk

By Staff | Oct 13, 2010

Midway through the fall sports season, we have the Magnolia Blue Eagles as the only area undefeated football team. After this week’s game with Weirton, the Eagles look to finish their second consecutive undefeated season, which is a feat that has never happened at Magnolia High School.

The Eagles have won 21 straight regular season games and will finish with games against Class-AAA Robert C. Byrd and OVAC Class-AA Barnesville, Oct. 15 and Oct. 22, respectively at Alumni Field. They will go on to visit Class-AA Oak Glen Oct. 29 and stage their last home game, and last game of the season, against Grafton Nov. 5. Then start the playoffs.

I wish them all the best. There isn’t a group of young men that better deserve going all the way to the championship.

The Eagle quarterback, Justin Fox, has earned quite a few accolades so far this season. He has surpassed some great Magnolia quarterbacks of the past to become the Blue Eagles’ all-time quarterback in most completions, overtaking the great Aaron Cisar and Todd Morris.

He eclipsed the records of Morris and Derek Cisar for the most passing attempts and Aaron Cisar and Todd Morris once again in most passing yards. The only record as a quarterback that he hasn’t surpassed is Mark Cisar in the most touchdowns thrown. The way he has played this season, you could look for him to beat that record, also.

Mark Cisar won the Kennedy Award back in the day. Fox could – and should – join him as a the top football player in the state when the season is over. Fox just more than just a great quarterback. He is a terrific young man that works hard in everything he does.

He prepares for each game he plays and spreads the wealth around to all his teammates. He is the consummate, the ultimate player. He also is the team’s punter and kicker. He pins teams with his punts time after time and he blasts his kicks into the end zone most of the times.

He also plays defense quite well. He doesn’t make the tackles that the linebackers do, but opposing teams don’t throw his way in the secondary because he leads the team in interceptions with one every game. That, alone, is amazing. Many players don’t get four interceptions in a career.

On defense, he returns punts and kicks too. Although he isn’t the main returner, he has brought back the pigskin quite a few times during the season.

But, he is the first to tell you “It’s not just me. It’s my teammates.” He gives his receivers and lineman credit for catching the ball and for running interference to keep him out of Harm’s Way.

His front line of Dillon Simmons, Bentley Knight, Matt Riggs, Seth Findling and Sam Shepherd, along with tight end Cameron Benson, has kept him clean all season. Fox is the first one to say its the line that has made it possible for him to do all those great things for which he gets most of the credit.

But, don’t forget all the substitutions over the past four years that have also kept him clean. And, of course, don’t forget about the coaches – Mark Batton, Bob Ripley, Moke Riggs, Dave Grandstaff and Michael Findling.

Fox is my choice for the Kennedy Award. It is well-deserved. His consistent performances speak volumes and I hope other sports writers will agree when thee cast their ballots for this year’s winner.

Good luck to all area football teams to finish the season on a positive note. It has been a pleasure to cover the county’s four high school teams as best I can. I have tried to give all these schools the best coverage that I could.

*****

However, football isn’t the only fall sport. Soccer, volleyball and cross country are also priorities. Although they might not get as much attention as King Football, I still cover them. These athletes – all athletes – deserve recognition. But, if you don’t see your team’s story on the sports pages, there is a reason.

I can only put events in the paper for which I have received stats for. If you don’t a sporting event covered, it is most likely because I did not received stats on it. The only sport I haven’t been able to attend is cross country and I hope I can do that yet this season.

But, thanks to MHS Head Coach John Holliday, we still get cross country covered. John writes well. His copy is a pleasure to review and put on the pages for publication.

I hope I can catch the cross country squad at the Cameron Wet and Wild, but John tells me they might skip that meet. If they don’t go to Cameron, I hope to catch them at the regional and the state meet.

In soccer, Magnolia went coed this season. It might not have been fair, but it is numbers that count. At the end of the day, there was not a sufficient number of girls who consistently showed up to warrant a separate team and coach.

I was the soccer coach once upon a time and fell for not only the girls, but their parents. I hope the Magnolia girls get more of their classmates to turn out, consistently, next year.

Winter sports will be here before you know it. Parents, if your child wants to participate in them, he or she must have a physical exam. Coaches have to turn away a number of athletes every year because they failed to get a physical. If you want your kids to have the opportunity, see that they get their physicals – before a sport’s first practice.