Eagles Top Central, 20-7, to Stay Perfect
WHEELING – Josh Sims and Magnolia had a game plan in place that they thought could beat Wheeling Central.
The Blue Eagles worked the plan to perfection by running the ball 57 times for 276 yards and not allowing the Maroon Knights to run many plays in the second half on their way to a 20-7 victory on the campus of Wheeling Jesuit University.
“Wheeling Central has so much speed on the defensive side of the ball,” Sims said. “They contain and control the edges so well that coming into this we wanted to pound it right up the gut and test their resolve and ours at the same time. That was the game plan all along and we are happy it worked out for us.”
Magnolia (5-0) jumped out to an early 7-0 lead when Tyler Anderson ran the ball in the end zone from 4 yards out with 10:13 left in the first quarter. The Blue Eagles forced a fumble on Wheeling Central’s first play from scrimmage that was recovered by Paden McConaughey. The Maroon Knights (4-1) put the ball on the turf five times, losing two of them.
“You can’t turn the ball over like that and expect to win against a good team,” Wheeling Central coach Mike Young said. “Magnolia played well and they are well coached. They won and now we have to get ready for Linsly. We can’t dwell, pout and worry because it’s a long season. We lost to a better team but we are going to be OK.”
The Blue Eagles took the 7-0 lead into halftime and made sure the Maroon Knights offense didn’t see the ball early in the third quarter. Magnolia opened up the second half with a 14-play, 61-yard drive that lasted 7:19 and resulted in a Nick Priem 1-yard touchdown on a quarterback sneak.
Anderson and Chase Street received the majority of carries on the drive, with Anderson finishing with 172 rushing yards on 29 carries while Street had 92 yards on 19 carries.
“This win feels really good,” Sims said. “To beat a team like that and a coaching staff life that is a huge confidence builder for our team. At the same time we are staying humble and hungry and we will be preparing for next week starting (today).
“Wheeling Central did a great job of containing our big plays and they didn’t give us an opportunity to show what we can do in the open field and on the turf. That is credit to Central.”
The Maroon Knights fumbled the ball away on their first play of their second drive of the second half and Magnolia made them pay. With 4:31 left in the fourth quarter Priem scored on another quarterback sneak from 1 yard out to make it 20-0. Priem threw the ball four times, completing two for 42 yards.
Wheeling Central kept fighting down 20-0 with less than three minutes to play as Issac Rine found Brother Jackson for a 22-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 20-7. Rine threw the ball five times, completing three for 33 yards. Kevin Keane finished with 90 rushing yards on six attempts for the Maroon Knights.
“Our backs ran hard and our kids can know they can play with a good team,” Young said. “(Losing) 20-7 I am not embarrassed by any means, because Magnolia has beaten most of the teams they have played pretty solidly. If we don’t turn the ball over it’s a lot closer game and a lot different.
”If we don’t turn the ball over they have a different mindset and are forced to throw the ball more. I am proud with how hard we played throughout the entire game and our kids never quit and didn’t die. We will be back next week.”