Eagles’ Storybrook 2015 Season Revisisted
(This is the first part of a 2-part story on the Magnolia Blue Eagles quest to a perfect 14-game WVSSAC Class-1A Championship)
It was five years ago the Magnolia Blue Eagles won a state football championship. After moving down to WVSSAC Class-A from Class-2A it was still a struggle to get back to the championship, with teams like Wheeling Central, Williamstown, St Marys, Greenbrier West, Van, Moorefield and East Hardy all in their way to claim their third state title in school history. Add to those the likes of Weir, River, Shadyside, Linsly, Monroe Central and Tyler Consolidated, going undefeated would be an up-hill battle just to get to the playoffs let alone a state championship, and a perfect season, just didn’t seem real.
But, to Magnolia second year Head Coach Josh Sims, his staff, and a group of 18 seniors anything was possible. The season prior, the Eagles went 4-6 and missed out on making the play-offs. However, the MHS staff of Offensive Coordinator Dave “Doc” Chapman, Defensive Coordinator John Smith, Moke Riggs, Kent Pilant and Travis Emch worked hard to get the group ready.
Returning seniors back from the previous season were starting running backs Chase Street and Tyler Anderson; quarterback Nick Priem; ends Jared Kacor, Brandon Mason, Peau Halahingano and Todd LeMasters; linemen Carter Seckman, Zach Haught, Joe Ledergerber, Garrett Price, Paden McConhery and Hunter Brill and tight-end Kyle Ritz who sat out the entire 2014 season with an injury. Kicker Troy Boughner and reserves Kyrell Wilson, Jared Seavy, Daryan Ingold and, Jacob Young, gave the team capable underclassmen players to fill in with players lost to graduation. From the start of the season you could fill the energy in the air.
Magnolia 40, Shadyside 0
The home-opener was against Shadyside who was coming in with a 32-regular season winning streak. The Blue Eagles would have their hands full, but, with the entire backfield back, along with a veteran front line, the offense looked to be a team that could put up some good numbers and was ready for the test.
Returning quarterback Nick Priem opened the scoring with a 1-yard quarterback sneak, to give Magnolia a quick 7-0 lead after the PAT kick by Troy Boughner. The Big Blue Special Teams play would make their presence felt a short time later when Kyell Wilson blocked a Tiger punt and a few plays later Tyler Anderson scored on a 4-yard touchdown run and the rout was on.
The Big Blue would open their quest for an undefeated and perfect season with a 40-0 win. Case Street would ramble for a game-high 75-yards on 12-carry’s and 2-TDs, while Anderson tacked on 68-yards and 2-touchdowns to lead the way. Besides the touchdown scamper Priem connected with Brandon Mason with an 18-yard TD. Sophomore speedster Brooks Parsons made his presents felt too, with a 94-yard touchdown scamper.
The defense held the Tigers to 106-total yards with Carter Seckman leading the way with 8-solo stops, 3-assists, 2-tackles for loss and a quarterback sack. Hunter Brill followed with 9-tackles, while Parsons grabbed 8-Tigers by the tail, and Paden McConaughey ended with 5-solo, 2-assists and 2-sacks. Anderson recorded 7-tackles, while Zach Haught made 3-tackles and blocked a punt. Kyle Ritz who didn’t play a down a down last season with a foot injury recorded 2-QB sacks, 4-solo tackles and forced 2-fumbles.
Magnolia 21, Williamstown 14
In the Eagles second game of the season they would face a very talented ball club in the Williamstown Yellow-Jackets a team they would have trouble with twice in their quest to a 14-0 season.
The Blue Eagles jumped out to a 7-0 lead on a Priem to Ritz 6-yard pitch and catch, but the ‘Jackets knotted things up at 7-7 in the third quarter. Magnolia would go on to add a Priem to Ritz 20-yard TD to grab a 14-7 advantage.
Williamstown would not go down without a fight. With Magnolia ready to make it a double-digit advantage on a third and goal at the 3-yard line, the Yellowjacket defense would pick up a Magnolia fumble and ran it back to midfield before anyone could hear an official whistle blow the ball dead and bring it back at the one yard line.
What could have been a 14-14 game, turned out to be a 21-7 Magnolia lead. Williamstown would score a late touchdown to make it a 21-14 Blue Eagle win at Williamstown Sept. 4.
Priem was 9-13 passing for 191-yards passing and 2-touchdowns to lead the Blue Eagle offense. Parsons caught passes of 55 and 60-yards, while the dynamic duo of Anderson and Street accounted for 101 and 78-yards, respectively.
The Blue Eagle defense had a hard time containing the Williamstown quarterback Trent Tallman, as he rushed for 133-yards and connected with Darren Hastings on a 37-yard TD pass reception.
Greenbrier West 0
With Magnolia back home on Alumni Field, the Blue Eagles would leave-no-doubt and send Greenbrier West packing, 48-0 Sept 12 on a beautiful afternoon inside Bill Stewart Stadium.
Magnolia senior speedster Jared Kacor would get the Eagles off to a great start with a 86-yard kick-off return for a 7-0 lead, and Magnolia quickly added a Priem to Ritz 51 yard scoring strike and a 24-yard TD reception to senior Peau Halamhano for a 21-0 lead. The Eagles were on a roll and scored all 48-points in the first half.
Anderson paced the Magnolia offense with 3-TDs, while rushing for 60-yards on 7-carry’s, and adding 74-yards on 2-catches. Street was solid, leading all rushers with 74-yards on only 5-carries and a TD. Priem was 7-10 for 191-yards and 3-touchdowns, with Ritz catching 2-passes for 80-yards.
The Eagle defense limited West to only 1-first down and 7-yards of total offense and forcing the Cavaliers on 3-interceptions and recording the same amount on quarterback sacks.
Magnolia 40, River 12
Both Magnolia and River came into this game undefeated and with both teams coming in on a roll they were ready to get it on.
The dynamic running-backs of Anderson and Street would be to much for the Pilots as they combined for 285-yards and 5-touchdowns leading the Big Blue to a crushing 40-12 victory Sept. 18 at Alumni Field.
The Pilots struck first as running-back Lukas Isaly ran one in from 5-yrds out to cap off a 14-play 64-yard drive in the first period. However, the Eagles Anderson would tie the game up and put his team back on top with a pair of TD runs and a Boughner PAT. Shortly after the second Anderson touchdown Street made his presence felt with a dazzling 24-yard scamper after Anderson picked-off a River pass,to give the hosts a 27-6 lead at the break.
It was mostly the Anderson and Street show in the second half as the duo added 3-more scores to put the game away. Carter Seckman and Ritz were animals as they each recorded 10-tackles, eight of which were solo and 2-tackles for loss of yards. Anderson added an interception to go along with 6 solo tackles, while Brill and Halahingano combined for 13 tackles.
Magnolia 20, Wheeling Central 7
The Blue Eagles would again face an undefeated team in Wheeling Central Sept. 25 on Wheeling Jesuit Campus. Magnolia took a 7-0 lead into the break on an Anderson 4-yard run, while Priem sneaked one in to top-off a 14-play 61-yard drive that burned 7:19 off the third period clock to give the visitors a 14-0 lead. Priem would sneak another one in late in the fourth period to push them on top 20-0.
However, the Maroon Knights would score a very late TD to close things out. Priem only threw the ball 4-times completing two for 42-yards. Anderson accounted for 172-yards on 29 carries, while Street tacked on 92-yards on 19-carries.
Magnolia 23, Monroe Central 0
It looked like it was going to be one of those games, as the visiting Blue Eagles and the hosts Monroe Central were dead-locked at 0-0 after one period of play. However, Brandon Mason turned things around for Magnolia when he set the table for Street and the Eagles with an interception, while Street tapped it off with a 14-yard touchdown run to put Magnolia on top 7-0 in the second period. Street would take one to the house with a 55-yarder in the third quarter to push their advantage to 14-0 in the third period, and go on to defeat the Seminoles 23-0 at home Oct. 2.
The Blue Eagles defense was tough all night and it was more evident when after a Magnolia fumble inside the 5-yard line, the Eagles defensive line chased the ‘Noles quarterback to force an intentional grounding in the end-zone for a safety to give Magnolia a 16-0 lead late in the game. A little later Todd LeMasters would come up big and ran back an interception 40-yards to set up a Priem 10-yard scamper to end the game with the hard-fought 20-0 shut-out.
Street had a big night once again rushing for 167-yards and a pair od touch-downs on 13-carries, while Anderson followed with 85-yards on 15-totes.
Magnolia 29, Weir 28
The Eagles welcomed the 5-1 Weir Red Riders into Bill Stewart Stadium on Senior Night and would score a late touchdown to claim a 29-28 thriller to remain unbeaten, Oct. 9.
With the Blue Eagles down 28-21 with .33 seconds and no time-outs left Priem would hit Ritz in the back of the end-zone, but needed a 2-point conversion for the win. With the sure footed Boughner waiting to tie it up and send it into overtime, Magnolia Head Coach Josh Simms had better ideas and sent the offense back in to win it. Priem hooked up with Ritz on a fade in the back of the end-zone and Ritz made an incredible one-handed grab for the win.
Weir opened the scoring on a Kameron Davis 59-yard touchdown in the first quarter and again it was Davis going the distance on a 54-yard scamper to start the second period to give the visitors a 21-14 as Anderson tallied a pair of scores for Magnolia. The Eagles knotted things up at 21-21 in the third period after Ritz recovered a forced fumble by Zach Haught in the end-zone. Anderson sealed the win with a interception with only a few ticks on the clock.
Ritz caught 4-Priem passes for 46-yards, while Halahingano netted 27-yards on his only snag. Anderson picked up 89-yards and scored twice to pace the Eagles, while Davis paced the Riders with 142-yards and a pair of touchdowns.