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Magnolia falls to Wirt County to even record at 1-1

River invades New Martinsville Friday night

By Rick Loy - | Sep 8, 2021

The Magnolia Blue Eagles traveled to Elizabeth on Friday evening September 3, 2021, to battle the powerful Wirt County Tigers. The homestanding Tigers returned several lettermen from last seasons play-off team. Both teams played tough defense with the home squad finding the end zone more often than the visitors in the defensive battle on their way to a 27-14 victory.

The game started with Magnolia winning the toss and electing to receive the ball first. Things started out bad early for the visitors with the kick-off being mishandled, giving them the ball on the six-yard line to start their first drive. The Wirt defense being stout all night threw Marcus Barnes for three-yard loss on two carries and on third down the snap sailed over QB Brendan Mirandy’s head for a safety and a 2-0 host lead with 10:23 to play in the first quarter.

Following the safety, the Tigers used a heavy dose of Chase Lowe, who rushed 20 times for 78 yards, scored on a one yard plunge with 4:52 left in the first quarter. The home teams drive ate up most of the first quarter clock and almost stalled when the Blue Eagles Tony Fiber sacked Tiger signal-caller Brandon Richards to force fourth down. Facing a fourth-and-14, Richards broke free for a 19-yard gain and a first down setting up Channing Lowes scored from the one. Cole Winnell, who left with a deep thigh bruise in the first half, missed the extra point and the score read 8-0.

On Magnolia’s next possession the Tigers picked off Blue Eagle quarterback Brendan Mirandy, however the Blue held their own and forced Wirt to a three-and-out. After receiving the punt, Mirandy dropped back to pass on second down, but was intercepted by Wirt senior Parsons who darted 34 yards to the end zone for one of his three touchdowns on the evening. The Tigers advantage stood at 15-0 with 1:06 to go in the opening quarter following the extra point kick.

Magnolia, scored on its next series when Kaden Johnson broke free for a 38-yard score. Mirandy’s kick was good to cut the lead to 15-7 early in the second.

On Wirt’s next possession, Marcus Barnes, who had 17 rushes for 34 yards in the contest, intercepted a Richards pass attempt and returned it 35 yards, which led to a Mirandy 1-yard touchdown. Mirandy was true on the point after kick to make it a one-point affair 15-14 with 5:15 to go in the half.

Wirt went to the air to try and get another score before the half, but they were picked off by the Eagles Barden Vargo. Magnolia however couldn’t take advantage and on a third and five from their own 21, Barnes was tackled for a 2-yard loss to end the half. The Blue Eagles led in total yardage at the half 81-55, but Wirt held a one point advantage on the board 15-14.

The Tigers got the ball first in the second half , but couldn’t move the ball as Magnolia’s defense stood strong forcing the Tigers to punt when the Blue Eagles Kolbee Cecil registered a sack on third down.

The Tigers came back strong on defense and forced a Magnolia punt with a three-and-out. On their next possession the Tigers used the running of Chase Lowe to get to the two yard line, where Parsons walked in for the score to make it 21-14 at the 4:58 mark of the third.

Wirt added another score with 1:37 to play in the game to improve to 2-0 on the young season. They will entertain Gilmer County next Friday to try and move to 3-0. Parsons finished with a dozen carries and a game-high 82 yards for the home team.

Johnson led head coach Dave Chapman’s squad with 61 rushing yards on six attempts.

The Tigers, who didn’t attempt a pass in the second half and went 0 of 4 through the air, finished with a 162-121 advantage in total yards.

MHS rushed 30 times for 103 yards and the Tiger defense held Mirandy to 4 of 13 for 18 stripes.

The Blue Eagles will host cross river rival, the River Pilots next Friday evening at Alumni Field Bill Stewart Memorial Stadium at 7:00 p.m.