Blue Eagles to Battle For Championship
NEW MARTINSVILLE – Magnolia’s defense has been stout all season and when the team needed their defense the most, it stood tall.
Todd Lemasters intercepted a pass as time expired to clinch the 13-7 Magnolia victory over No. 4 Moorefield in the Class A semifinals on a rainy and muddy Alumni Field at Bill Stewart Memorial Stadium. The No. 1 Blue Eagles (13-0) will face East Hardy Saturday night at 7 for the Class A state championship in the Super Six.
East Hardy defeated St. Marys, 36-19 in the other Class A?semifinal game.
“It was definitely fitting that our defense ended this thing,” Magnolia coach Josh Sims said. “They have played great for us all year and I am really proud of the kids. Everybody really contributed today like we have done all year. We had to weather the elements here and I thought the kids showed great toughness and I expected that from them with the way they performed this year.”
Trailing 13-0 heading into the fourth quarter, Moorefield (11-2) got on the board 83 seconds into the quarter. Wil Schoonover went 55 yards to pay dirt on a 4th-and-1 to make it a one score game as he finished with 157 rushing yards on 31 carries. The Yellowjackets then forced the Blue Eagles to turn it over on downs with 6:40 remaining in the game but the Blue Eagles quickly got the ball back when Brandon Mason landed on a Moorefield fumble on the next play with 6:31 left.
Moorefield forced Magnolia to a 3-and-out and got one last chance to tie the game with 4:17 left. The heavy Yellowjackets rushing attack got the ball from their own 9-yard line to Magnolia’s 20 with 24 seconds left before the Yellowjackets put the ball in the air. Moorefield was called for an intentional grounding to set up a 4th down from Magnolia’s 34 with under 10 seconds remaining before Lemasters sealed it with the interception.
“That was just two great football teams going at it,” Moorefield coach Josh See said. “It was a tale of two halves. We played like crap in the first half, we fumbled the ball a few times, we gave up the big return which gave them two scoring opportunities. Other than that we shut them down but they did a good job of shutting us down. We haven’t been held to seven points this year and they did an awesome job on Schoonover. Hats off to them and I hope they win the whole thing.
“Time wise nothing was working for us on that final drive. We can’t throw the ball, every ball we had was wet and we were out of towels. When I got the opportunity it was my bigs against their bigs and I believe in our guys but we just ran out of time. You give us another minute on the clock and maybe we score and maybe we don’t but we just ran out of time.”
Magnolia drew first blood on its opening drive set up by a Jared Kacor 59-yard opening kick off return. Nick Priem scored a 2-yard quarterback draw to make the score 6-0 with 10:33 left in the first quarter. Priem scored on 1-yard quarterback sneak in the second quarter to put the Blue Eagles ahead two scores after Carter Seckman recovered a fumble deep in Moorefield territory. The Yellowjackets fumbled the ball five times, losing two while Magnolia fumbled it once as the rain picked up as the game went on.
The Yellowjackets totaled 212 rushing yards on 49 attempts while the Blue Eagles had 167 rushing yards on 36 carries including 163 yards on 14 carries by Tyler Anderson. Moorefield’s Shane Myers went 3-of-11 through the air with 35 yards and one interception while Priem completed 2-of-6 passes for 30 yards. Moorefield committed 10 penalties for 84 yards compared to three penalties totaling 30 yards by Magnolia.
“A good team finds a way to win and that is what we did (Saturday) ,” Sims said. “Moorefield showed great fight and that is a great coaching staff and great group of kids over there and it was just a fun game. I think with how tough our schedule has been has prepared us for these tough games down the stretch.
“We have one more game and these kids have worked so hard for this. The characters of these kids is something else and I couldn’t feel more proud of them.”