Magnolia Thrashes Tug Valley, 62-0
Magnolia’s Justin “Tank” Fox exceeded 6,000 career passing yards Nov. 12, completing 5-5 passes for 114 yards and two TDs to lead the Blue Eagles to a 62-0 shutout over the Tug Valley Panthers Nov. 12 at New Martinsville’s Alumni Field. Fox also rushed for 47 yards in the first round of the Class AA playoffs.
The Panthers won the toss and elected to kickoff and Magnolia took over at its own 37 yard line. Fox gained eight yards on the first play from scrimmage and then hit Stephen Rogalski twice for big gainers. However, each time the Eagles were guilty of holding and a block in the back, respectively.
Now faced with a second and very long, Fox connected once more to Rogalski, but this time no yellow flags where tossed their way. Fox would then hit Brendan Kacor on a fly pattern, hitting his stride on a 60-yard bomb to take a quick 7-0 lead after Fox’s first of seven conversion kicks.
Fox’s ensuing kickoff went into the end zone for a touchback and the Panthers took over at the 20 yard line. The Panther runningback was rudely greeted by the Eagles’ Traeh Keller for a one yard gain.
Seeing that they couldn’t get anywhere on the ground, the Panthers went to the air on the next play. However, they got into aerial trouble also, when Tanner Fluharty hurried the pass and it fell harmlessly to the ground. MHS lineman Seth Findling would force the Panthers to punt with a tackle for loss of yardage. On the punt, the snap sailed over the the punter’s head and Mark Winters was there for the recovery at the 13 yard line.
It took only one play as the Eagles’ front line of Findling, Dillon Simmons, Sam Shepherd, Bentley Knight, and Matthew Riggs opened a hole big enough for two mack trucks to run through and Jayson Keller walked in untouched for the score, giving the home team a 14-0 lead after the Fox point after.
Cameron “The Chosen One” Benson put the ‘hurtins’ on the Panther kick returner at the Panther 14 yard line. From there, Tug Valley rushed for a few yards before the Panther quarterback scrambled for his life and gained a first down. Tug then connected on its first pass play, but Fox would stick hold the opponents to only a two-yard gain.
On the next play, Fox got his paw on the pigskin and knocked it away, setting up a third and long for the Panthers. Fluharty sacked Tug’s quarterback, who coughed up the ball.
Blue Eagle Tim Shreve reeled it in and ran it back to the five yard line, setting a five-yard TD run by Jayson Keller. That pushed Magnolia’s lead to 21-0 with 4:58 still remaining in the first quarter of play.
Fox’s ensuing kick went into the end zone for a touchback. The Magnolia front line stopped Tug Valley at the line for no gain and the duo of Riggs and Justin “Tree” Wade was there for a one yard loss. On the next play, Traeh Keller intercepted a Panther pass and returned it all the way to the 19 yard line. Fox hit Winters at the two on a nice pass play, but, again, the Eagles were guilty of an infraction that pushed the ball back to the 24-yard line. Fox would then hook up with Rogalski on a 21-yard reception and Fox would score on a quarterback sneak for a 28-0 Magnolia lead.
On the ensuing kick, Kage Rhode would give the Panther kick returner a headache with a nasty tackle at the Panther 15 yard line. Tug Valley threw a backward pass that was fumbled all the way back to the two yard line. But, the Panthers completed a 23 yard pass to get out of harm’s way. However, on the next play, Tug was guilty of its first infraction that pushed them back to the 20 yard line. After a 19-yard gainer, Fluharty and Shepherd hurried the Panther quarterback on two straight incomplete passes, forcing a fourth and one to end period one.
Tug Valley used some razzle-dazzle and picked up a first down on a fake punt, all the way to midfield. After a five-yard Panther penalty, Shepherd would get his fourth sack of the season. The Eagle front line, led by Riggs, added a tackle for loss of yardage and set up another Panther punt. Benson just missed his fifth blocked punt of the season and Magnolia would take over at the 31 yard line.
Fox looked to pass, but pulled it in and rushed for 11 yards, then topped it off with a 25-yard run on the next play. Jayson Keller picked up two straight Magnolia first downs on a pair of pitch-and-catches.
Tug Valley interfered with a sure Rogalski TD and Drew Fruner hauled in his first TD of the season. But, it was wiped away by a procedure call against Magnolia. Jayson Keller would then waltz in for the score from 13 yards out, giving the Blue Eagles a 35-0 advantage.
After a Fluharty tackle on the ensuing kick, Wade would answer with a sack of his own. Faced with a third and 19, the Eagles’ Dillon Simmons recorded his first sack of the season to force a Tug punt. The punt proved costly, as the snap bounced around and Benson recovered it at the 10 yard line.
Jayson Keller followed Riggs’ block to the four yard line and then walked in for a TD with 4:19 remaining in the half to give Magnolia a 42-0 lead, after the PAT.
Fox’s kick went into the end zone for another touchback. After a four-yard run, Wade drilled a Panther ball carrier for loss of yardage. The Panther punter ran for his life and picked up another first down on an MHS horse-collar tackle. The Magnolia defense held and forced a punt that rolled dead at the 25 yard line.
The Eagles would take a knee a couple times and go into the locker room with a huge 42-0 advantage.
The Eagles second half kick went out of bounds and Tug Valley took over at the 35 yard line. On their first play, Jayson Keller would make a tackle on a swing pass for a four yard loss. The Eagle front line, led by Wade and Winters, stopped the visitors with a one-yard loss to force a punt.
The punt rolled dead, but an Eagle personal foul backed them up to the 25 yard line. Jayson Keller then scrambled for big yardage and Rhode moved the chains once again on two carries. After a Drew Keller two-yard gainer, Billy O’Neil would push the score to 49-0 with a nine-yard TD run.
Rhode would make his second huge hit on the kickoff at the Panther 19 yard line and Jesse Glow recorded the Eagles’ fourth sack of the night to force a three-and-out. Rhode would add the final points in the third with a five-yard run and Zack Arrick would kick the PAT.
The game would be shortened to eight minutes because of the score. However, O’Neil would add a 31-yard TD run and threatened to score again. Both the Eagles and Panthers took a knee to end the game 62-0.
The Eagle defense limited Tug Valley to 12 yards of total offense to establish a new Class AA Playoff record, eclipsing the one set in 2004 by Clay County against Shady Spring. Magnolia racked up 234 yards on the ground and seven touchdowns, while Fox competed 5-5 for 114 yards and two touchdowns.
Jayson Keller rushed for 87 yards on seven carries and three touchdowns, while O’Neil added 52 yards and a pair of TDs. Fox scrambled for 47 yards and one TD.
Rhode netted 28 yards on five carries, while Arrick, Eric Smith, and Drew Keller each added positive yards on the ground.
Rogalski caught two passes for 32 yards, while Kacor hauled in one for a 60-yard TD. Traeh and Jayson Keller each hauled in one Fox pass for positive yardage.
The Eagle defense, while limiting Tug Valley to 12 yards of offense, recorded four quarterback sacks and 14 tackles for loss of yardage. They also added two fumble recoveries and had one interception.
Riggs led the defense with 10 tackles and two tackles for loss of yardage, while Winters and Wade added eight stops and several tackles for loss of yardage.
Wade, Simmons, Shepherd, and Glow each added a QB sack. Smith and Shreve each hauled in a fumble recovery, while Traeh Keller added an interception.
Magnolia will host Chapmanville Friday, Nov. 19, at 7:30 p.m. in round two of the West Virginia Class AA Playoffs.