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River Pilots Run Over Blue Eagles, 36-21

September 20, 2017
BY BRUCE CRAWFORD - Staff Writer ( , Wetzel Chronicle

The old saying, "you can't beat a team with a lot of turnovers," played a big role in the River Pilots' 36-21 romp over Magnolia Sept. 14 on Alumni Field in a Thursday night high school football special.

The game started just like it did last year with a different name, but the same result, an 88-yard kick-off return by Brooks Parsons to give the hosts a 7-0 lead to open the game.

After the ensuing kick, the Pilots' Lukas Isaly capped a three-play 65-yard drive with a 33-yard quarterback scramble to the promise land to counter the Eagles touchdown. But the Pilots went for two on a conversion run but it didn't pan out, and still trailed 7-6.

Article Photos

The Eagles #2 Patrick Mirandy just gets off a pass, while the Pilots’ Drew Dietz pressures.

"We knew going into the game that the Pilots had a solid football team," said MHS Head Coach Dave Chapman. "Isaly is a darn-good football player and he makes plays. It's been a while since I have seen a kid like that. We were out of sync early on. Brooks returned the opening kickoff, but we really never felt like we had any kind of momentum. When we tried to get that momentum, we'd shoot ourselves in the foot with a turnover."

The Pilots' Drew Wagnild picked up where he left off last week, with a dashing 47-yard touchdown romp to give the visitors a lead that they wouldn't relinquish. The two-point conversion pass from Isaly to Drew Dietz made it 14-7.

Wagnild added a curtain call, with the same 47-yard run that built the River lead to 21-7 late in the second stanza. However, Magnolia wouldn't go down quietly, as Patrick Mirandy drove the Eagles down the field, with the end result was a nine-yard touchdown catch by Leo Herrick, to pull the Big Blue within 21-14 after a Mirandy PAT to end the first half of action.

The Eagles' momentum returned to the River side of the field to start the second half of action. After taking the second half kick, the Pilots went on a five-play, 66-yard drive, that was capped-off by an Isaly 10-yard TD run, and a Grant Williams extra-point kick that pushed the Pilots lead back up to 14 points at 28-14.

The Eagles would respond, but another turnover took the wind out of the Magnolia sails. River would make the Eagles pay, with another Isaly touchdown to push its lead to 35-14.

After a short River kick, the Eagles raced down the field and tacked on a 36-yard TD strike from Mirandy to Parsons to get back into contention at 35-21.

In the fourth period, the Eagles were about to score. However, they would shoot themselves in the foot with Mirandy's fourth interception of the night, and the Pilots would subsequently run the clock out to give the Pilots' Head Coach Mike Flannery his 150th win.

Mirandy passed for 271 yards, with Parsons leading the way with 177 yards on seven receptions and a score. After rushing for 562 yards on 78 carries in his first three games, Partridge only ran the ball 10 times for 69 yards. He was hampered by an injured ankle and ailing knee and was used as a decoy for most of the game.

However, some bright spots came from it, as James Stillwagner rushed for 16 yards on two carries, while Mirandy got his feet wet and passed for 271 yards and two touchdowns.

Parsons was his favorite with eight snags for 175 yards and a touchdown. Herrick also caught three passes for 50 yards and a score. Sebastian Stickler and Matthew Gaiser hauled in three and one pass, respectively, for a combined 47-yards.

The Pilots were led by Wagnild with 224 yards on 21 chances, and a pair of scores, while Isaly added 176 yards and three touchdowns, and Michael Johnson, tacked on 56-yards on five rushes. Isaly didn't have to put the ball in the air much, connecting on 4-of-7 passes for 18 yards. Dietz and Wagnild each caught two passes, with Dietz gaining all the 18 yards.

The Pilots and the Eagles both moved the chains 18 times, with the Eagles losing 60 yards off seven infractions, while the Pilots were caught four times with 20-yards lost.

The Pilots Wagnild, also led the Pilots on defense, as recorded 16 tackles, while Isaly followed with nine tackles and made an interception. Hunter Dennis, made seven stops, while Michael Johnson brought down five and made two interceptions.

The Eagles will head up the river Friday night to tangle with Wheeling Central at 7 p.m.



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