MHS-Monroe Game Previewed
On Saturday, Sept. 28, the Magnolia Blue Eagles will take their 2-2 record to Wheeling Island Stadium to take on the 3-1 Wheeling Central Maroon Knights.
After back-to-back painful losses to Linsly (14-7) and to Williamstown (15-14), the Big Blue is back on track, thanks to a 40-7 victory over Tyler Consolidated in week three and a 48-14 victory over the River Pilots last week.
Central, on the other hand, got off to a 2-0 start before falling to the Weirton Madonna Blue Dons 42-7 in week three, then rebounded last week with a 26-21 win over Linsly.
The Big Blue offenses this season have been paced by a four-header senior monster in QB Jake Brill, wide out Eric Smith and the duo of Kage Rhode and Drew Keller in the backfield.
Brill is 27-47 for 494 yards throwing that includes six TDs and four interceptions.
Smith has exceeded 100 yards receiving in two games and he is one of the top receivers in the state.
On the season, Smith has caught 17 passes for 379 yards and four scores. Keller has carried the ball 50 times for 355 yards and two scores; Rhode has 25 carries for 210 yards and three scores; and tight end Kyle Ritz has caught six passes for 81 yards just in the last two games.
Magnolia’s offense is averaging 27.25 PPG while the D is only allowing 12.5 PPG.
That compares with the Central offense, which is averaging 18.75 PPG and giving up 20.75 PPG. However, that 42-7 loss to Madonna in week three could be very deceiving as the Knights turned the ball over five times during the game.
Central entered the season as the number-one ranked team in the state in Class-A.
Last year, both schools made the Class-A playoffs with the Maroon bowing to East Hardy in the first round. The Eagles beat Williamstown in the first round and East Hardy in the quarters before falling to eventual state champion Wahama in the semis 10-7.
The Eagles and Maroon Knights met up in a thriller last year at Alumni Field in week five, with the Eagles coming out on top 17-13. Whichever team wins this game could use it as a launching pad for a big second half of the season, especially the Eagles, who still have unbeaten St. Marys and Steubenville Catholic Central on the schedule.
That, in addition to 2-2 Monroe Central in week six and two Hancock County schools, 1-3 Weir High and 0-4 Oak Glen.
While the Knights have unbeaten Shadyside and Ohio state-ranked Bishop Rosecrans and The Kiski school in Pennsylvania. Central ends the season with games against rival and once beaten Bishop Donahue and a new Class-AAA school, Spring Mills over in the Eastern Panhandle.
Needless to say, whoever wins the Big Blue vs. Maroon Knight game could put themselves in good position to make a push for the playoffs.
In the second half of the season. The game will be rebroadcast on WTOV-9 on Sunday, Sept. 29 at noon as one of the games of the week.