Magnolia Ends St. Marys Streak
ST. MARYS – Tyler Anderson’s 30-yard interception return late in the fourth quarter was just icing on the cake Friday night for Magnolia, which knocked off host St. Marys, 35-15, and ended its state-best 34-game regular-season winning streak.
West Virginia Class A No. 3 Magnolia (8-0) grabbed the lead for good on its first possession when Nick Priem hit Brooks Parsons for a 64-yard touchdown pass.
“That was huge to get the momentum rolling and get the jitters out,” Magnolia coach Josh Sims said.
Chase Street had the first of three Blue Eagles interceptions when he ended St. Marys’ ensuing drive with a pick of Wes Billeter, who went 14 of 37 for 265 yards. Although the Blue Devils forced a punt, coach Jodi Mote’s team turned the ball over on downs when Bret Fetty was tackled by Carter Seckman for a loss of 2 yards on a fourth-and-1 play from the Magnolia.
Anderson, who finished with game-highs of 26 carries and 165 yards, then scored on a 45-yard run where he stiff-armed a Blue Devils defender at the 25 and made a cutback. After Troy Boughner’s second extra point, the Blue Eagles led 14-0 at 10:40 of the second.
A Kyle Ritz sack forced a St. Marys punt, but the No. 5 Blue Devils (6-1) finally got things going on their next drive. Billeter hooked up with Dylan Gray on a 43-yard completion and Fetty raced in from 11 yards out. A bad snap on the conversion was picked up by Braden Barnhart and he found Wesley Parsons for the conversion pass to cut the deficit to one score.
With 1:26 left in the half, Magnolia went 74 yards on four plays to get a key score and push its advantage to 21-8 at the break. Anderson ripped off a 39-yard run, Priem hit Peau Halahingano on a 32-yard pass and then Priem scored on a quarterback sneak on second-and-goal at the 2.
St. Marys, which was held to 47 yards rushing on 29 attempts, opened the second half on defense. Parsons came up with a key 46-yard reception when he caught the ball just above the helmet of Blue Devils defender. The Blue Devils defense nearly held, but on a fourth-and-7 play from the 13, a Priem pass was tipped at the line and Blue Eagle Todd Lemasters was able to adjust and make a diving catch for an 8-yard gain. Anderson’s 2-yard plunge made it 28-8 with 7:13 left in the third.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Paden McConaughey had a strip-sack on Billeter and Zach Haught recovered. However, the Blue Eagles drive stalled in the red zone following an incompletion on fourth down.
St. Marys got new life one play later when Ty Lemley hooked up with Billeter on an 81-yard bomb. Lemley’s kick had the hosts within two scores and 7:48 was still left to be played.
Magnolia fumbled on the next play from scrimmage, but St. Marys was unable to take advantage. Lemley nearly had another touchdown reception, but couldn’t quite haul it in and Joe Ledergerber’s sack ended the Blue Devils drive.
Anderson strolled untouched into the end zone for the final score with 4:51 remaining.
“It was right to me. I just jumped the route and it was unbelievable,” Anderson said of his interception return. “We couldn’t have done anything without our line. They just held them up so we could get through those holes and pass the ball.”
Priem finished 7 of 13 for 190 yards and Parsons had three receptions for 148.
Fetty rushed 11 times for 51 yards and Gray had five catches for 89 yards. Barnhart also had five receptions for 54 yards.
“The defense did a great job stopping the run,” added Sims, whose program became the first to beat St. Marys since Wirt County accomplished the feat Aug. 31 of 2012 by a 35-22 score.
“We’ve got some things to work on in the secondary, but offensively the big plays is what got it (done) for us.”