’Jackets Ground Eagles
WILLIAMSTOWN – For the first time in more than four decades, Magnolia suffered a season-opening shutout as the Blue Eagles offense never got untracked Friday night, falling 27-0 to host Williamstown.
Coach Terry Smith’s Yellowjackets (1-1) led 14-0 after one and 21-0 at intermission as the Blue Eagles were held without a first down until their opening drive of the second half.
Williamstown got the only score it ended up needing at 2:57 of the first when Brayden Modesitt connected with Mason Deem for a 30-yard touchdown pass. Isaac Joy’s extra point made it 7-0.
On the next Yellowjackets possession, Eric Brown hauled in a 19-yard slant pass on first down to get things going. Modesitt, who was 12 of 13 for 164 yards in the first half, then found an open Nick Bondi, who hauled in the aerial, made a spin move around the 5 and waltzed into the end zone for a 14-0 cushion following Joy’s boot with 16.9 ticks left in the first.
Despite having minus-6 yards on a trio of three-and-outs, Magnolia nearly got a first down on its fourth drive. However, Magnolia coach Dave Chapman watched quarterback Caden Cisar’s pass to Silas McKeever get broken up by Logan Richards.
Williamstown ended up losing a fumble on its ensuing drive when Deem caught a pass, but was stripped by McKeever. Facing a fourth-and-3 at the Yellowjackets 39, Cisar’s pass fell incomplete as Josh Ingram knocked it down at the line of scrimmage.
A 26-yard pass down the sideline to Bondi allowed the hosts to convert a third-and-13 at the Blue Eagles 40. Three plays later, Modesitt bulled in from the 4 and it was 21-0 with 2:10 remaining in the half.
“Obviously, our defense is good. I’d like to see our offense do better,” said Smith, whose squad tacked on their final TD via a 26-yard strike with 2:13 left in the third from Modesitt to Deem, who had five grabs for 67 yards.
“(Mike) Hamrick just dominated the line up front there. He’s so big. It seems like we’d like to do better on offense, who wouldn’t? We’ll take it. It’s Magnolia and we don’t beat Magnolia very often.”
Williamstown relied more on its running attack after the break as Jarrett Frazier finished with game-highs of 21 rushes for 91 yards. Backfield mate Ty Moore toted 15 times for 41 yards. Modesitt finished 14 of 17 for 197 yards. Brown (4-49) and Bondi (5-81) had the other receptions.
“Sometimes the other team has a lot to do with how you look,” Chapman said, which was the first time Magnolia had a season-opening loss via shutout since a 3-0 setback in 1978 to John Marshall at Monarch Stadium.
“The longer I get into coaching, I don’t blame this, this or that. Sometimes you are playing a quality opponent. They got a nice team and are just dominant up front, but Hamrick has worked his butt off and to watch the effort he kept giving.”
The Blue Eagles amassed just a pair of first downs and lost the total yards battle, 340-43. On the ground, Magnolia had 19 attempts for minus-7 yards.
Cisar finished 5 of 17 for 50 yards and Jason Beisel led the rushers with 11 attempts for 28 yards.
Defensively, James Stillwagner recorded 14-tackles, while Hamrick dropped 13, including 4-tackles for loss of yardage, while sacking the QB 3-times, and teamed for another. Logan Beegle alco had double-digit tackles with 11, while Silas McKeever and Jason Beisel each made 8-tackles. In addition, McKeever stripped a Lellowjacket fumble and recovered it too. Gavin Postlethwait made 5-tackles, that included 3-sacks.
Magnolia faces another stern test at 7 p.m. next Friday when Shadyside invades Alumni Field.
(Bruce Crawford added to the story)