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Magnolia Blue Eagles Drop Opener To Ritchie County Rebels

By Rick Loy - Staff Writer | Sep 9, 2020

Coach Chapman gives instructions at the game on Friday against Ritchie County.

The season opener for the Magnolia Blue Eagles and the Ritchie County Rebels at Alumni Field Bill Stewart Memorial Stadium on Friday September 4th., was an early season matchup of two Class A teams.

It was the Gus Morrison show for the Rebels in a shutout of the Blue Eagles 26 to 0. The Eagles did not have an answer for the Junior speedster from Ritchie. Morrison played wide out last season for the Rebels but was converted to running back this season. It proved to be the right move for the Rebels as Morrison accounted for all the visitors 26 points with four touchdowns and a two-point conversion. He finished with 169 yards rushing on 15 carries on the night.

The Blue Eagles received the opening kickoff with Silas McKeever returning to the Magnolia 37-yard line to start their initial drive. McKeever took the snap from his Quarterback position and gained five yards on first down. Next play Jason Beisel took the handoff from McKeever and picked up a first down. The Eagles drive would end on fumble by Junior back Marcus Barnes after a nice 12 yard run up the middle to the Rebel 28. The Rebels recovered to start their initial drive that ended in a 42-yard run by Morrison for the score, conversion failed, and it was 6 to 0 with 4:55 left in opening quarter.

The Eagles started their next possession at the Magnolia 48 and were putting together a nice drive until the Rebels defense sacked McKeever for an eight-yard loss. Magnolia had to punt with McKeever getting off a nice spiral to pin Ritchie at their six-yard line.

The first quarter would end with Ritchie leading 6 to 0. After a couple runs by Morrison, QB Ethan Haught dropped off a short pass to wide open Morrison over the middle and the All-State track star did the rest untouched 66 yards for the score. The two-point conversion again failed to make the score 12 to 0.

Either team could muster much offense the rest of second stanza and went to halftime with the Rebels leading the Eagles 12 to 0.

The Rebels received the second half kickoff with Morrison returning it to the Ritchie 39. The visitors drove 61 yards to paydirt with Morrison going into the end zone from eight yards out. Quarterback Haught hooked up with Morrison for the two-point conversion to make the score 20 to 0. Morrison would add his fourth touchdown in the fourth quarter to make the final score of 26 to 0. Ritchie starts the season 1-0, while the Eagles are 0-1.

Magnolia moved the ball and had some bright spots, but Ritchie County defense stood tall in keeping the Eagles off the scoreboard. Silas McKeever led the Blue Eagles in rushing with 45 yards.

Magnolia will regroup and head to Shadyside, OH. to battle a good Tigers team on the new artificial turf at Fleming Field. The game will start Friday, at 7 pm.