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MHS Upsets Top-Ranked Knights

November 7, 2018

NEW MARTINSVILLE - When the season is winding down, there's one thing there's nothing that will make a coach smile more than when a team is playing their best ball. Turns out that's what Doc Chapman sees in his Magnolia squad. And on Friday night, the Blue Eagles made a statement. After rushing out to a 14-0 lead, the Blue Eagles held off a fierce Wheeling Central rally before Pat Mirandy connected with Sebastian Stickler for a 25-yard score in the fourth quarter in a 21-12 victory at Alumni Field at Bill Stewart Stadium.

"Credit to these kids," Chapman said. "We script out the first 15-20 plays of the game. We try to stay on that script. We want to get some tempo early, and I felt scoring first was key. It gives us a little confidence and momentum. Credit Central, though. They didn't let it destroy them. But our kids battled. I can't be more proud of them. I look at this at being, we never felt it was something we couldn't accomplish. Let's face it. It's a win. It's a big win. It carries us into the playoffs with some momentum. By no means are we satisfied."

Those plays were certainly big ones for Blue Eagles. Mirandy and company drove down the field in four plays on their opening drive that ended with the senior signal caller finding Silas McKeever in the end zone from 24 yards out.

Article Photos

Photo by Cris Jenkins
The Blue Eagles’ Cameron Stillwagoner gets to the Wheeling Central quarterback first, while teammate Jared Barrows looks to finish the tackle.

The quick score put a spark in Magnolia as their defense toughened up as it held Wheeling Central to three-and-outs on it's first three possession.

Special teams was also a big factor for the Blue Eagles. To open up the second quarter, Jason Beisel returned a punt 61 yards to the house to put the score at 14-0 with 11:44 left in the half.

"Great win for them," Wheeling Central coach Mike Young said. "Credit to their program, credit to their coaches and players. We were out-manned a little bit with a couple of injuries that we were trying to not let bother us, but did. Caused us to have some breakdowns. We were down there and missed a field goal, that was tough. We could have put momentum up, could have put us up. Instead it gave them momentum. Credit to them. They won the ball game."

But like all great teams, the Maroon Knights found a way to get back in the game as they were able to capitalize on a couple of Magnolia miscues. The Blue Eagles fumbled the ball on two consecutive possessions that resulted in touchdowns for the Maroon Knights.

Jacob Rine threw a pass that was hauled in by Anthony Robbins from 11-yards out for the first Maroon Knights touchdown followed by a Jordan Waterhouse score that put the score at 14-12 with 5:20 left in the first half.

And like that, it seemed like the momentum was swinging in Wheeling Central's favor. Magnolia was set to punt, and when Mirandy hauled in the snap, his knee touched the Blue Eagles' 35-yard line giving the Maroon Knights short field.

The Magnolia defense, would not allow it and came up with a huge stop and stuffed Rine on a fourth-and-1 for a turnover on downs.

"That could have really swung momentum to their side," Chapman said. "Credit these guys. Our practices have been very spirited. They believe and trust in us. That's two words we talked about: believe and trust. And the coaching staff. These guys are bought in. Not that they weren't earlier. Success comes and all that other good stuff happens, but these guys are bought in. And it showed. It was just a good high school football game."

The Maroon Knights had a chance to take the lead in the fourth quarter. Starting at their 1-yard line, Rine piloted his team down-field to the Blue Eagles' 9 that included two huge catches from Bray Price (29, 37 yards). On a fourth down, the Maroon Knights attempted a field goal, but is was left of the mark.

Yet, the Maroon Knights defense stiffened and forced a three-and-out. However, Mirandy intercepted a Rine pass with six minutes left that st up the winning score for the Blue Eagles.

With 3:02 left in the game, Mirandy found his go-to guy Stickler for a score that put the score at 21-12.

"I was really excited, but I knew I had to kick that extra point and make it because that would pretty much secured the game," Mirandy said. "It's exciting to be a leader now and go to the playoffs and I think we can go pretty far with it."

For the Knights, Rine tossed 177 yards going 10 of 16 in the process with a touchdown and interception. Robbins led the receiving core with seven grabs for 103 yards while Price had three catches for 74.

Mirandy finished 12 of 21 for 107 yards and two touchdowns, while picking up 41 yards on 10 carries to pace the Blue Eagles. Gage Adams followed with 23 yards on 10 carries, while Beisel picked up 15 yards on only five carries. Stickler hauled in six passes for 47 receiving yards and a score, while McKeever pulled in four catches for 54 yards and a touchdown. Matthew Gaiser grabbed one pass for six yards.

Defensively, the Blue Eagle defense held the potent Wheeling Central offense to a mere 26 yards for the game, with the help of seven quarterback sacks. Leading the way were Jared Barrows, James and Cameron Stillwagoner with two sacks each, while Mikey Hamrick made one.

Stickler, Adams and James Stillwagoner had the most tackles with eight stops.

With the win, the Eagles finished the season with a 7-3 record and a date at Pendleton County Friday night at 7:30 p.m. in the WVSSAC Class-A play-offs.

(Bruce Crawford added to the story.)



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