Eagles Stun Weir
Senior Night is always a special evening but Kyle Ritz and the 14 other seniors on Magnolia’s football team will certainly never forget what happened on theirs.
Down 28-21 with 33 seconds on the clock and no timeouts remaining, Nick Priem found Ritz down the seam for a 30-yard touchdown to cut the lead to one, and the two hooked up again on a fade route for the 2-point conversion to give Magnolia a 29-28 victory against Weir on Friday night inside Bill Stewart Memorial Stadium at Alumni Field.
“The whole thing feels great,” Ritz said. “We went back and forth with them. A lot of people would have said it was virtually over with with a minute left down seven and no timeouts. We went out and made plays. Peau (Halahingano) and Nick had a great connection on the first play of the game-winning drive. The 2-point conversion we thought back to the Williamstown game where we ran the same play from the same yard line. It worked well there so we went back to it again and it worked out great.
Photo by Parsons Photography / Magnolia’s Kyle Ritz hauls in a 2-point conversion from Nick Priem in the final seconds of his team’s victory against Weir on Friday night.
“Us seniors have almost all been playing since third grade together. We all grew up playing backyard football, we all live on the same block. We all have a great time together on and off the field and we won’t forget this.”
Weir (5-2) forced Magnolia (7-0) to punt down 28-21 with three minutes left but failed to put the game away. Kameron Davis ran 85 yards to the end zone with 1:28 left but the run was called back on a holding penalty and the Red Riders was forced to punt and give the Blue Eagles one more chance.
Priem hit Peau Halahingano for a 27-yard play that set up the Blue Eagles with a first down from Weir’s 30 with 33 seconds left. That is when Priem found Ritz on a play-action fake for six points and then again for two.
“These seniors have done nothing but show us a lot of guts,” Magnolia coach Josh Sims said. “When it comes down to that at the end of the game, I think they deserved a little trust from their coaching staff. We made our decision and put trust in our players.
“We knew coming in this was a big game points-wise. This was our Senior Night and we are a senior-laden team with a group of kids that are all high-character guys. We were all going out to win for them and we weren’t going out to win for points.”
Davis had a big night on the ground for Weir, finishing with 142 yards and two scores on 18 carries. The Red Riders’ first score came down 6-0, when Davis shot right up the middle for a 59-yard run. Davis scored on a 54-yard run on the first play of the second half to put Weir up 21-14.
“(This) was just two good football teams playing hard,” Weir coach Tony Filberto said. “They made a play at the end and I commend them for it. We didn’t make that play at the end. Whoever was going to make that play there in the last minute was going to win this football game and it was them.
“We ran the ball very well and had some big plays. Couple times we didn’t generate first downs when we needed to, but I am pleased with the way we played. I am pleased with our effort more than anything else.”
Weir’s Cody Enrietti scored twice on the ground, finishing with 37 rushing yards on 13 carries while catching one pass for 43 yards. The Red Riders finished with 186 yards on the ground but only 41 passing.
Senior tailback Tyler Anderson led Magnolia in rushing with 89 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, including the Blue Eagles’ first two scores. Magnolia tied the game at 21-21 with 4:27 left in the third quarter when Ritz recovered a Zach Haught blocked punt in the end zone. Ritz caught four passes for 46 yards and Priem threw for 83 yards.
Anderson sealed things with an interception with just a few seconds remaining.