Amazing Eagles 10-0
The Magnolia Blue Eagles made history on a chilling evening at Alumni Field Nov. 5, becoming the first team in Magnolia history to have back-to-back 10-0 regular seasons, trashing the Grafton Bearcats 49-0. MHS also was the first team in Wetzel County to do so since the Valley Lumberjacks did it in 1993 and 1994.
Stephen Rogalski returned the opening kick to his own 33 yard line, where the Magnolia offense – led by senior Kennedy Award candidate, Justin “Tank” Fox- went right to work.
After a couple positive runs by Jayson Keller, Keller would break loose on a 31-yard run to put them into the Bearcat red zone. On the tenth play of the drive, Keller would follow the block of Matt Riggs into the end zone from three yards with 8:09 showing on the first quarter clock. Fox added the extra point to give the home team a 7-0 lead.
Fox’s ensuing kick was returned to the Bearcat 27. On the first play of the drive, the Bearcats fumbled and the Eagles’ Mark Winters was Johnny-on-the-spot for the recovery at the Bearcat 30.
Fox didn’t waste much time hitting Rogalski for a 15-yard gainer. Then, after a Magnolia timeout, Fox would lose five yards when he slipped. On the next play, he hooked up with Keller on a screen pass and Keller would bully his way to the three yard line. He then ran it in for his second touchdown of the night. Fox added the PAT and the Eagles led 14-0 with 6:10 left in the first period.
The Bearcats returned Magnolia’s kick to the 15 yard line. After a positive run on first down, Treah Keller picked off a misguided aerial after an MHS linemen put his paws on it and took it the distance for a TD. Fox would connect on the PAT for a 21-0 Eagle advantage with 5:19 still on the first period clock.
The Bearcats moved the ball down into the Magnolia red zone before the bend-but-don’t-break Eagle defense, led by two straight Mark Winters tackles for a loss, forced a fourth down. Then the Eagles’ Sam Shepherd sacked the Bearcat quarterback for a huge loss and Magnolia took over at their own 20.
Fox hit Cameron Benson on a 20-yard gainer, then hit Rogalski on a 27-yard pitch-and-catch. Brendan Kacor then carried the ball nine yards on a reverse to end the first quarter with the Eagles on top, 21-0.
After a sack, Fox hit Rogalski on two straight passes and then hooked up with Jayson Keller on a 17-yard pitch-and-catch to the Bearcat 26 yard line. Jayson Keller took the Fox handoff and scrambled to the 18 carrying numerous Bearcats. After completing his first eight passes, Fox misfired on a pass then made up for it on an 18-yard scoring strike to Rogalski in the back of the end zone on a nice reception. Fox added the PAT. Fox pinned the Bearcats inside the 10 yard line on the ensuing kick. After a positive run on first down, a bad snap took the ball back to the 10 yard line. Winters would then sack the Bearcat QB to force a punt.
On the return, Kacor brought the frozen Magnolia fans to life when he galloped 42 yards for the score. Fox added the PAT for a 35-0 Magnolia lead.
The Bearcats couldn’t gain much on the kickoff, as the Magnolia special teams was on the ball and tackled the Grafton ball carrier at the 10 yard line. The Bearcats moved the chains, but after a pair of incomplete passes, Grafton was forced to punt
The punt was shanked and Magnolia would be in good field position at the Bearcat 35 yard line. Fox connected with Benson on a six yarder, but misfired for the second time, setting up a fourth down at the 29 yard line, but didn’t get it.
Grafton took over and moved the ball all the way down to the Blue Eagle one yard line right before the half. But, the Eagles’ defense wanted a shutout and senior Treah Keller stopped the Grafton runner in the backfield for a two-yard loss. It appeared that the lane to the end zone was open, but the defensive front line, led by Justin “Tree” Wade, stuffed the run at the goal line. Benson would stop the Bearcat runner in the backfield for another two-yard loss, setting up a fourth and goal at the three yard line. On fourth down, Tanner Fluharty sacked the Grafton QB to force a turnover on downs at the 10 yard line. Fox took a knee to end the first half with Magnolia on top 35-0.
In the third period, Treah Keller scored his second touchdown of the night on a five-yard TD. Magnolia senior Timmy Shreve added an exclamation point late in the third with a tantalizing 53-yard touchdown run.
Jayson Keller lead the Eagle offense with 61 yards on 10 carries and didn’t play the second half, while Shreve added 56 yards on six touches and scored the final Eagle tally. Kage Rhode added 21 yards on six totes, while Kacor, Traeh Keller, Bill O’Neil, Drew Keller, and Matt Riggs each added positive yards rushing.
Fox hit 12-14 passes, including eight in a row for 143 yards and a touchdown. After getting shutout against Oak Glen, Rogalski hauled in eight passes for 96 yards and a touchdown, while Benson added 25 yards and Jayson Keller, 22 yards.
Defensively, the Eagles pitched their sixth shutout of the season, caused two fumbles, and had one interception. They also pinned Grafton inside the 20 three times on kickoffs.
“We don’t want to be contented on just being in the playoffs,” said Blue Eagle head Coach Mark Batton. “We need to stay focused and give everything we’ve got.” With the win, the Eagles clinched their second consecutive OVAC Class AAA Championship. They will enter the playoffs as the number two seed and will be at home all the way through the playoffs. Magnolia will host Tug Valley on Friday, Nov. 12, at Alumni Field with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m.
Advance tickets for this first round will be available at Magnolia High School on Nov. 10 and Nov. 11 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and on Nov. 12, from 8-10:30 a.m. There will be no advance tickets sold after 10:30 a.m., Nov. 12. Advance tickets for students are $5 and $7 for adults. All tickets at the gate will be $7.
Only WVSSAC passes will be accepted.