A Season to Remember – Part I
Editor’s Note: This is part one of a two part series. Enjoy week one!
The Magnolia Blue Eagles were on a quest from day one, when the season was about to start.
Having missed making the playoffs four years in a row, including the 10-0 team in 1961, there was no doubt in folks’ minds that that team would have been state champs, if given a chance. A playoff bid this season would do a lot in healing process of years past.
After losing their first three of four games to start the 1964 season, it didn’t look like Magnolia would have a championship season.
However, the Blue and Gold Blue Eagles went through the rest of the regular season unbeaten, shutting out five straight to make it to the Class-AA championship after beating St. Marys, 26-14.
It all started with a 13-6 loss to Weston in their lid-lifter. Magnolia out-played and out-hustled their counterparts in every way but the score-board, as they lost seven fumbles, while out-gaining the Minutemen, 231 to 113 yards. The Eagles’ Stanley Shreve led the way offensively with 113 yards rushing, and scored the teams only touchdown by a pass from Jim Gilbert from 29 yards out.
The Eagles’ second game was a lot better as the Blue and Gold nipped the Follansbee Blue Wave, 6-0. With nobody scoring in the first quarter, the Big Blue Eagles’ Mike Barnes recovered a fumble in the second stanza, and would move 54 yards with Shreve and Dave Bohrer hammering it right down the Blue Wave wall, with Bohrer finding the end-zone from one yard out to finish the 13-play drive to even their record at 1-1.
In the third tilt, the Triadelphia Little Reds clipped the Eagles, 12-9. Neither team scored in the opening period, but Allen “Emo” Schubach kicked a 19-yard field goal to give the Eagles a 3-0 advantage.
However, Triadelphia would bounce back and score on a one yard run, and a 30-yard catch-and-run to go up 12-3.
The Blue and Gold would go on a 71-yard drive, capped off by a Jim Gilbert to Allan Smith touchdown for the final points of the game, and the Eagles’ second loss in three games.
In the Eagles’ game four against the Bellaire Big Reds, the Eagles would gain 256 yards, but three costly fumbles inside the red-zone, with two golden opportunities inside the 10-yard line, resulted in three Big Red touchdowns to win 19-0, which was the first home loss at Alumni Field since 1959, and their third loss in the first four games.
Knowing they would need to run the tables with a shot of making the playoffs, the Eagles would win their next five games, starting with 13-0 victory over Ravenswood to have that opportunity.
Shreve started the scoring with a 18-yard touchdown scamper, while Tommy Haught added a 32-yard jaunt late in the second half, keyed by a fourth and 14 run by Bohrer.
Jim Starkey and Schubach were ‘Tigers on defense.
The wins kept on coming as the Blue and Gold put it to the St Clairsville Saints, 28-0, for their second straight shutout. The defensive unit of Schubach, Starkey, Gilbert, John Brookover, John Zohn, Noel Lasure, Keith Ritz and Dave Nally only allowed five first downs the entire night.
After Schubach blocked a Saint punt, he picked it up and ran it into the end-zone from 11 yards out for the opening score. He also connected on his first of four PAT chances.
Tommy Haught ran back a punt to the St. Clairsville 15 yard-line, and after a few first downs, Gilbert connected with Schubach for their second touchdown.
After a Schubach interception, Gilbert hit Jack Grandstaff for their third score, and went into the locker-room up, 21-0.
In the second half, the Big Blue let two golden opportunities escape them with a pair turnovers.
After a Schubach interception, Gilbert tossed a TD pass to Jack Grandstaff for their final tally.
In the Blue Eagles game with the Shadyside Tigers, Gilbert connected with Schubach in the first quarter for a nice 21-yard TD, while Bohrer ran in the two-point conversion attempt.
Five minutes later, Stan “The Man” Shreve dashed into the end -zone for a 24-yard touchdown with Gilbert connecting with Shreve, catching the two point conversion. Dave Grandstaff tallied a 40-yard scamper to give Magnolia a 28-0 lead.
The Eagles poured salt in the Tigers’ wound, as the Magnolia substitutes dented the scoreboard on a Ken Morris touchdown, while Larry Showalter suffered a season-ending leg compound fracture on the conversion attempt to win 34-0.
In Magnolia’s next game with Moundsville, the Eagles could do no wrong, as the Blue and Gold passing by Gilbert, compiling with the running of Tommy Haught’s ground game, pacing Magnolia to a 40-0 victory.
Gilbert tossed three touchdowns, along with a pair of conversion tries, while Haught scored twice and gained more yards than the entire Moundsville team, en-route to their fourth straight shutout victory.
The Eagles’ Dave Nalley recovered a fumble, to set up an Alan Smith one-yard touchdown run, and shortly afterward, Haught broke loose on a 40-yard scamper to the Orange and Black 7-yard line. Three plays later, Shreve scored, with Schubach adding the two-point conversion run off the shot-gun formation.
The first play of the second stanza, Shreve high-jacked a Trogan pass and rambled 53-yards to pay-dirt behind the blocking by Jack Grandstaff and Jack Starkey.
Later on, Gilbert found Smith on a 14-yard scoring strike, while Mike Barnes connected with Schubach, with Gilbert hooking up with Schubach for the PAT.
There was no more scoring until the first play in the fourth period when Haught, behind the blocking of Nally, Steve Newman and Bruce Jackson, took a screen pass from Gilbert and dashed untouched 37-yards to the promised land. Gilbert connected with Schubach once more on the conversion try. The same duo set up an earlier 33-yarder in the drive.
Later in the game, Starkey fell on a fumble out of a punt formation, and the reserves filled in nicely with a Scott Richter 11-yard sweep for the final points of the game.