Eagles See The Pot Of Gold At End Of Rainbow
Magnolia inched closer to its second consecutive undefeated season and recorded their 23rd consecutive regular season victory after handing the Barnesville Shamrocks a 40-0 shutout Oct. 22 in the Cheer Against Cancer game on Alumni Field.
The Eagles’ Brendan Kacor received the opening kick and ran it back to the Eagles’ 33 yard line to start the game. After an MHS reverse that lost seven yards, the Eagles’ Jayson Keller broke off a huge run to the Shamrocks’ 40-yard line, to set up a Justin Fox to Stephen Rogalski 37-yard pitch and catch that went the distance to give Magnolia a 7-0 Eagle lead.
The Shamrocks received the ensuing kick and returned it to their own 22 yard line. Sam Shepherd rudely greeted a Shamrock ballcarrier in the backfield for a loss of yardage. The ‘Rocks were forced to three and out and the Eagles returned the punt to their own 49-yard line.
After an incomplete pass, Fox hit Rogalski on a short gainer, and one play later punted. Fox’s punt pinned the Shamrocks at their own 13. After two positive runs, the ‘Rocks punted. The Eagles took over at the Shamrocks’ 48 yard line.
Keller was stopped at the line, but on the next play he took the ball to the 33 yard line. After a MHS holding call and an incomplete pass, Fox would hook up with Kacor on a nifty 45-yard touchdown pass. After the Fox kick, Magnolia led, 14-0 midway through the first quarter.
Fox’s ensuing kick went out of bounds and the Shamrocks took over at their own 35 yard line. The ‘Rocks moved the chains for the first time to their own 47. However, Traeh Keller sacked the Shamrock QB in the backfield for an eight-yard loss. Two plays later they punted.
Both teams’ defensive units forced a pair of three and outs that ended with the ‘Rocks taking possession of the ball at their own 29 yard line.
Magnolia defensive end Nick Blatt made a spectacular tackle in the ‘Rock backfield for a loss of 10 yards to the 18 yard line to end the first quarter.
After a four-yard pickup, Barnesville punted. Magnolia took over at the ‘Rocks 43. After Fox was drilled in the backfield for loss of yardage, Fox hit Kyle Elliot on a screen. On the play, Barnesville was guilty of a personal foul that took the ball to the 24 yard line. After an incomplete pass, Magnolia lost precious yards on a bad snap that forced them to punt.
The punted ball hit a Shamrock player in the back of the leg, but luck was on the Irish side as they recovered the slippery pigskin at their own 20 yard line.
After a short gainer, Tanner Fluharty sacked the Barnesville quarterback, but was guilty of an unsportsman like penalty that gave them a first down at the 38 yard line.
The Big Blue defense held their turf and dropped the Shamrocks twice for negative yardage, but after an apparent competed pass, Fox separated the ball from the receiver to force a punt.
Kacor returned the punt to the Eagles’ 40 yard line. Jayson Keller picked up big yardage only to see it called back by a holding call. Fox escaped a Barnesville rush and hooked up with Cameron Benson on a nice gainer. However, Barnesville was guilty of a late hit and 15 more yards was tacked on. A few plays later Jayson Keller galloped in for a 13-yard TD run. Fox’s PAT was off the mark and the Eagles extended its lead to 20-0 with 2:58 to go in the second quarter. The TD run capped off an eight-play 60-yard drive.
After the ensuing kick, the Shamrocks could not find any room to run against the Eagles’ front line and would try their luck through the air. But, Rogalski would break up a pass on third down to force a punt.
After the punt, Fox hit Elliott twice and Kacor once to move the ball to the ‘Rocks 25 yard line. After a Magnolia time-out, Jayson Keller bullied his way to the 12 yard line. After a Fox incomplete pass, Fox hooked up with Elliott once more to the one yard line. Senior all-state lineman Matt Riggs came in and scored on a one-yard plunge for his first offensive touchdown of the season to give the home-standing Eagles a 26-0 lead at the break.
The Shamrocks came out firing in the second half and moved the ball well, however most of the yardage occurred when their QB was chased out of the pocket.
The Eagles scored on a Fox one-yard plunge and a Gage Rhode four-yard TD run to put the finishing touches on a chilly evening at Alumni Field.
The undefeated and top rated OVAC Class AAA and third ranked Class AA Eagles, according to the West Virginia Secondary Schools Athletic Commission Computer Rankings, have now won their 23rd straight regular season victory. They have scored 337 points so far this season, while their defense has limited eight teams to only 42 points. No team has scored on Magnolia in the third period all season and Fox has improved his win-loss total to 39-8. The Barnesville loss dropped them to 5-4 on the season and took them out of the Division V, Region 19 playoff picture.
Fox and Jayson Keller accounted for 431 of the 501 offensive yards for Magnolia. Jayson picked up his second straight 100 yard game with 165 yards and a touchdown, while Fox connected with five different receivers for 266 yards and two touchdown passes. He also scored one on a keeper.
In limited action, Rhode accumulated 44 yards and a TD, while Traeh Keller, Billy O’Neil, Zach Arrick, Riggs, and Kacor each had positive yardage on the ground.
Kacor hauled in four of Fox’s passes for 96 yards, while Rogalski caught four passes for 76 yards and a TD. Elliott caught four passes for 40 yards, while Cameron Benson added 35 yards on two receptions; and Jayson Keller caught one pass for 19 yards.
The Eagles moved the chains 22 times, while the Shamrocks moved them seven times.
Defensively, the Eagles had 18 different players make tackles. Mark Winters, Traeh Keller, and Riggs each accounted for 10 tackles to lead the way, including one tackle each for loss of yardage. Traeh had the only sack for the Blue Eagles, while Grant Cain and Kacor each had an interception. Tanner Fluharty.
Benson and Fox each had a tackle for loss of yardage, while Sam Shepherd added two.
The Eagles look to keep their undefeated season intact when they take on playoff contenders Oak Glen Oct. 29 at 7:30 p.m. in New Cumberland, W.Va.