St. Marys Spoils Magnolia Homecoming, 49-7
Dave Chapman was all too familiar with the performance. A feisty defense completely shuts down an opponent and a multi-faceted offense does pretty much anything it likes.
That’s exactly the way Magnolia looked in 2015 as it ran over one opponent after another enroute to a West Virginia Class A state championship. Friday night at Bill Stewart Stadium on Alumni Field, Chapman saw a lot of his old team in the form of St. Marys.
The Blue Devils (7-0) held the Blue Eagles (1-7) to 23 yards of offense – minus-101 on the ground – and scored on 7 of 9 possessions to pull away for a 49-7 victory that featured a running fourth-quarter clock.
“I’ve said that,” Chapman said of St. Marys being a mirror image of last season?s Magnolia squad. “You look at them up front and this is a line of scrimmage game, and they’ve got it.”
“They’ve got three quality backs and a great quarterback in (Will) Billeter.”
“St. Marys is as good as we’ve seen this year.”
The Blue Devils marched down the field on the game’s first drive, moving the ball 65 yards in 12 plays. It culminated in the first of two Jaiden Smith touchdown runs, this one from 12 yards out.
But to get an idea of how the night went for Magnolia, one need only look at its first possession. The Blue Eagles took over at their 16 with 6:44 left in the first quarter and ran 22 plays. But three consecutive sacks – QB Nick Priem was brought down seven times overall – and a bad snap on a punt gave the ball back to St. Marys at the Magnolia 35 with 9:16 before half.
“I don’t know that I have ever seen anything like that,” Chapman said while shaking his head.
It was about to get worse, because two plays later Smith, who ran for 144 yards on 15 carries, was in the end zone again from 28 yards away.
“We’ve got a good group of kids and a good staff,” Blue Devils coach Jodi Mote said. “I tell our kids to stay healthy and humble, and only one of those we can control. It’s been our focus every week.”
Smith returned a punt 42 yards to the Magnolia 19, and five plays later – all runs – Will Billeter took the ball in from the 6 to make it 21-0 with 1:44 remaining in the half.
Magnolia responded immediately as junior Brooks Parsons hauled in a kickoff at his 23, made one move inside and outran two defenders into the end zone for a 77-yard touchdown. On a night where everything seemed to go wrong, this was no different as the quick score permitted the Blue Devils to have 1:31 and three timeouts to work with before the half.
Smith gained eight yards on first down and a pair of passes rested the ball at midfield. Billeter then hit Braden Barnhart and Dylan Gray with consecutive nine-yard passes that took it to the Blue Eagles 6. Smith ran for 1 and following a spike picked up 4 more before St. Marys burned its final timeout. Billeter scored on a sneak from the 1 as time expired in the first half for a 28-7 cushion.
“We’re 6-0 and they’re 1-6, but because of their schedule their record, in my opinion is deceiving, because they play some tough teams,” Mote said. “They’re going to give you their best shot. You try to tell your kids that you’re going to have to give them your best shot, too.”
St. Marys tacked on three more touchdowns in the second half. First Billeter hit Gray (four catches, 108 yards) for an 82-yard score, before Barnhart (nine carries, 97 yards) went in from 28 and 6 yards, respectively.
“I told Jodi to go with the state championship because he’s got all the pieces in place,” Chapman said. “As far as we go, that?s how it is. We play a lot of young guys but it’s Game 8. We make strides and then we take strides back.”
Priem completed 16 of 28 for 124 yards. Leo Herrick caught four passes for 60 to lead the Blue Eagles, while Parsons hauled in five passes for 47 yards, and Chase Street three catches for 20 yards.
Defensively, Sebastian Stickler set down half of his 12 tackles by solo stops, while Drew LeMasters recorded four of his nine tackles as solo stops. Peau Halahingano had one of his best defensive outings, contributed nine tackles, one tackle for loss of yardage, and one quarterback sack.
In addition, Hunter Partridge recorded six of his seven tackles by solo tackles, that included two tackles for loss of yardage, while Leo Herrick made six solo tackles.
The Blue Eagles will take on Tyler Consolidated Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in their last home game of the season, on Senior Night.