Eagles Smack RCB In Homecoming Tilt
The Magnolia Blue Eagles limited the Class-AAA Robert C. Byrd Eagles to negative yardage until the last RCB series, while churning out 216 yards on the ground and 138 yards through the air, enroute to a convincing 35-7 victory on the Eagles Homecoming Night, Oct. 15 at Alumni Field.
After the opening kick, Magnolia went three-and-out and was forced to punt. However, the Eagle defense, led by a Tanner Fluharty knock-away, returned the favor and RCB went three-and-out.
Magnolia’s Kennedy Award Candidate Justin “Tank” Fox returned the RCB punt to the Eagles’ 43 yard line. It didn’t look good at this point as RCB scooped up a loose Magnolia fumble and were in business at the Eagles 42. Again, it was Fluharty who came up big in the series with a tackle for loss of yardage.
For some reason, there was a do-over after a positive RCB pass play and the Eagle defense held and took over at the 29 after the punt, with 5:29 left in the opening period and a score of 0-0.
Two straight positive runs by Blue Eagle Jayson Keller moved the chains to the 42 yard line, where Fox connected with his speedy receiver, Brendan Kacor, in stride to the five yard line on a long gainer. Fox tucked it in and scored the game’s first points with a one-yard touchdown run. However, his point-after attempt hit the uprights and bounced the wrong way, leaving Magnolia still ahead 6-0 in period one.
The RCB Eagles returned the ensuing kick to the RCB 38. But, before the first offensive play, RCB made an illegal substitution that backed them up five yards. RCB must have watched WVU in the UNLV game and tried their own version of the pitch-and-lateral. But, the Big Big Blue defense stood its ground and stopped the play to force another Byrd punt.Kacor, returned the punt to the RCB 36 yard line. After a bad snap that sailed over the head of Fox for a loss of 11 yards, Fox connected with Stephen “Rogo” Rogalski on two straight passes, with the second one moving the chains down the the RCB 24 yard line.
Keller gave an RCB Eagle a piggy-back ride on his way to another MHS first down and then followed up with a three-yard TD. After Fox split the uprights with the PAT, the Eagles jumped out o a 13-0 lead. Magnolia missed out on a field goal attempt and neither team scored the remainder of the half.
During the half time ceremonies, Magnolia crowned Lacey Jackson its 2011 Homecoming Queen. Chase Cain escorted the new queen.
The Eagles of RCB returned the second half kick to its 29 yard line. After a two-yard loss of yardage by Mark Winters, Fluharty and Matthew Riggs became acquainted with the Eagles quarterback for another loss of yardage, forcing the visitors to punt. On the punt, Magnolia’s Cameron Benson pressured the kicker, causing a very short punt and Magnolia took over at the RCB 48 yard line.
Magnolia repeatedly gave the ball to Jason Keller, who scrambled all the way down to the 21 yard line. After a Magnolia holding call, Kacor picked up 17 yards on an end-around. After being hit at the line, Keller would move the chains with a nice second effort. RCB wasn’t too happy on the play and grabbed Keller’s facemask to give the home team a first and goal at the five yard line.
On the next play from scrimmage, Fox did a little magic of his own and disappeared into the end zone on a nifty now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t touchdown run from three yards out to give Magnolia a 19-0 advantage.
Kacor downed the RCB kick returner at the 28 yard line. The visitors didn’t gain much on its possession, thanks to a Timmy Shreves quarterback sack that forced a punt from the RCB end zone. The snap went over the head of the punter with the 6’6″ Mark Winters in hot pursuit of the pigskin. But, the punter quickly kicked it out of bounds for a safety that gave the home team a 21-0 lead with 4:49 left in period three.
Rogalski ran the optional RCB punt back to the RCB 36, whereupon Kyle Elliott hauled in a nice pass by Fox for a first down at the 17 yard line. Keller then went the distance to give Magnolia a commanding 28-0 lead with 3:31 left in the third period.
Keller would add a six-yard touchdown run right before the end of the third period for a 35-0 lead after the Fox PAT.
With mostly substitutes in the game in the second half, the Magnolia defense didn’t miss a beat until the last two plays of the game that accounted for 80 yards and a touchdown.
Robert C. Byrd had a negative 10 yards on the ground on 18 attempts, while gaining 83 yards in the air on 6-14 passes.
Benson had an interception and Seth Findling recovered a fumble to lead the Blue Eagle defense. Fluharty, Winters, Shreves, Billy O’Neil and Jesse Glow each recorded a quarterback sack. Fluharty led the way with three solo tackles, four assists and two tackles for loss of yardage, while Winters followed with three solos and three assists, including a tackle for loss of yardage. Sam Shepherd had six tackles, including one for loss of yardage, while Riggs added six tackles, two of which went for loss of yardage.
Jayson Keller paced the Blue Eagle ground game with 111 yards rushing and three touchdowns, while Kage Rhode added 34 yards on four carries. Shreve and Fox evenly split 42 yards, while Kacor netted 20 yards. Zach Arrick, O’Neil and Jacob Brill each added positive yards.
In the air, Fox broke the attempts and completions all-time school record held by Todd Morris. He now has 348 completions on 685 attempts. The only record he has left to break is the most touchdowns. Fox has 56 career touchdown passes, while Mark Cisar tops the list with 64. With three games remaining and playoff games to come, Fox has the chance to become the all-time quarterback at Magnolia.
Jayson Keller caught seven passes for 40 yards, while Kacor hauled in two for 54 yards. Rogalski snatched three passes for 19 yards, while Elliott caught one for 18 yards and Benson one for seven yards.
The Blue Eagles will look to keep its perfect season intact when they host the tough Barnesville Shamrocks Oct. 22 at 7:30 p.m.