Knights Rebound Against Eagles
After its first loss last week to Williamstown, Wheeling Central coach Mike Young knew what he wanted his squad to do.
On its first possession, Wheeling Central went down the field and scored on a Bray Price 19-yard run as it built a 37-6 halftime lead on Magnolia. The lead reached 50-6 before Young rested his starters for the majority of the second half and the Blue Eagles played with a never-say-die attitude scoring the last 22 points, as the Maroon Knights gained a 50-28 victory Friday night at Alumni Field.
“I’m just proud of how our kids came out with the intensity after a loss last week and knowing they can play better,” Young said. “They showed that. I know that Magnolia is banged up, but at the same time they have some good kids on that field.”
“Their receiver (Brooks Parsons) is a heck of a receiver and (Patrick) Mirandy did a tremendous job of throwing the ball to him and to (Chase Street).”
“But I was pleased with our kids and pleased with how they maintained their composure, but played hard and played good Wheeling Central football.”
Price also hauled in a pass from Isaac Rine and took it 66 yards to the house for the Maroon Knights (4-1) while Brother Jackson and Dom Stevenson each tallied two rushing touchdowns. Dawson Wear led the ground attack with 144 yards on seven attempts. Price finished with 98 receiving yards on three catches and 45 rushing.
The injury bug hit the Blue Eagles (0-5) as they were without some key players including quarterback Nick Priem, as sophomore Mirandy made his first varsity start against a vicious Maroon Knights defense.
“We put a package in for him this week,” Magnolia coach Dave Chapman said. “And he had three days of open practice. We put a package in for him that I felt he could do and he answered the bell.”
“I thought he played well for his varsity game against a team like that. I know Central’s coaches were really complimentary to him after the game.”
“For a sophomore, for what he did, that’s admirable. I’m real pleased.”
Mirandy went 13 of 20 for 187 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions, while also rushing for a score. Chase Street led the ground attack with 160 yards, 80 of them going for a score.
After Central scored on its opening possession, the defense came in big and registered a sack in the end zone with 5:46 left to play in the first to make it 9-0. With the free kick, the Maroon Knights got right back to business finishing off a drive when Stevenson found the end zone from 5 yards out.
The Maroon Knights increased the score to 23-0 as Rine completed his long pass of the night to Price. Price caught it quick, turned up field and saw no one in front of him as he went in for the score.
“The balance is terrific,” Young said of his offense. “We have a great balance and we’ve just got to continue getting better at blocking and tackling.”
Jackson had touchdown runs of 53 and 21 yards while Stevenson’s second scoring play came from 11 out. The last scoring play for the Maroon Knights came when Michael Niggemyer picked up a fumble and returned it to make the score at 50-6.
Also playing strong for the defense was John Burkhalter as he grabbed three interceptions. “He plays the ball as well as anybody both ways from offense and defense,” Young said. “He’s got that range of motion and great hands to make things happen. But credit to our kids and how they recovered from last week’s loss.”
The Blue Eagles got on the board when a bubble screen was called. Mirandy tossed it to Parsons, but the ball hit the ground. With no whistle blown, Parsons took it down the sideline for a 52-yard score.
Parsons also had another touchdown as he hauled in a 38-yard pass for the final score of the game. He finished with three catches for 113 yards. Leo Herrick also had a solid game on the receiving end, getting a team-high five grabs for 74 yards.
“Central is a really good football team,” Chapman said. “I told Coach Young after the game I have all the respect in the world for those guys. They’re the real deal. They have speed, size and are quick.”
“I’d be surprised if they weren’t on the island at the end of the year. They are who we thought they were. They are solid in all phases of the game and I have all the respect toward Coach Young.”
Mirandy was 13-20 for 160 yards and a touchdown threw the air, while Street rushed for 160 yards, including an 80 yard touchdown to lead the Blue Eagles offense. Parsons hauled in three catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns, while Leo Herrick added 80 yards on five smatches.
Defensively, Street made five tackles, while adding a sack and a tackle for loss of yardage. Gage Adams, Marco Smith and James Stillwagner each made four tackles, with Adams tacking on two tackles for loss of yardage and a made a fumble recovery, while James Stillwagner added a quarterback sack.
The Eagles will look to get their first win of the season Friday night when they tangle with Monroe Central at 7:30 p.m. in Woodsfield.