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Blue Eagles Move to Quarters

By Staff | Nov 19, 2015

Magnolia’s Brandon Mason rips away a pass from a Van defender for his second of two touchdown receptions on the night. Photo by Jack Chang

NEW MARTINSVILLE – Josh Sims isn’t one to tinker with anything if it’s working at optimal efficiency.

So when his top-rated Magnolia Blue Eagles opened West Virginia Class A playoff action Saturday night against No. 16 Van, he danced with those who brought him.

”We wanted to get off to a fast start and not give them a chance to get any kind of a thought into their head that they could come in here and win,” he said. ”We wanted to get started early and we did. From there, the rest went our way.”

Indeed it did.

Chase Street rushed for 190 yards and two touchdowns and Tyler Anderson added 167 yards and two scores as Magnolia piled up nearly 600 yards of total offense in blasting the Bulldogs, 54-22, on Alumni Field at Bill Stewart Memorial Stadium.

The Blue Eagles will welcome No. 8 and rival Williamstown to Wetzel County next week for a quarterfinal matchup on a day that will be decided today at SSAC headquarters.

The Yellowjackets topped Pocahontas County, 21-14, also Saturday night.

”We’re happy to have them at home,” said Sims, who watched his team defeat Williamstown on the road, 21-14, in Week 2. ”Williamstown is a tough team and it’s tough to beat a team twice in one season.

”We’re going to take them very seriously, like we do every opponent, and hopefully, we’ll be smiling and celebrating next week like we are (Saturday).”

Magnolia scored the first eight times it had the ball, including the first two which helped it build a 14-0 lead after the first quarter.

With the 1-2 running punch of Anderson and Street as a catalyst, the Blue Eagles (11-0) set the tone early, marching 68 yards on eight plays on their opening drive. The effort culminated with a 3-yard pass from Nick Priem to Kyle Ritz. The first of five Troy Boughner extra-point kicks made the score 7-0.

Later in the quarter, a 16-yard jaunt by Brooks Parsons gave the hosts a two-touchdown lead.

The Bulldogs (7-4) were unable to stop almost anything Magnolia’s first-team offense threw at them. Whether on the ground or through the air, the Blue Eagles were proficient, with the run anchoring everything.

”Absolutely,” Sims said. ”We always want to come in and establish the run and take control of teams and, if we have to, throw the football over their heads when they stack the box.

”I think our running game helps our passing game a lot. It gets the defense so worried and they stack everyone up in the box and then we get good matchups on the outside.”

That was the case time and again, as Priem found receivers over the middle and along the edges.

He finished 9 of 11 for 191 yards and three touchdowns. Two of those scoring tosses came in the second quarter, and both went to Brandon Mason on tosses of 55 and 9 yards.

Those scores, along with short TD runs by Anderson and Street earlier in the quarter, helped give Magnolia a 40-0 halftime lead and put the game out of reach.

Anderson and Street each scored again in the third, helping make the score 54-8 through three quarters.

All told, Magnolia racked up 401 yards on the ground.

”The offensive line has been tremendous all year,” Sims said. ”It’s not one or two guys, it’s all five.

“The group has been tremendously physical and tremendously coached by Coach (Moke) Riggs.”

Van finished with 163 yards rushing, most of which was gained in the fourth quarter, after Magnolia’s starters had departed.