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Football: Magnolia Looks To Bounce Back

August 30, 2012
By JOSH STROPE , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

NEW MARTINSVILLE - Magnolia and Williamstown are very familiar with one another.

The two teams have played each other toward the beginning of the season for a number of years so when the Blue Eagles and Yellowjackets hook up Friday at Alumni Field, both teams will be well-prepared for what the other likes to do.

But this season's game marks a first between the two.

For the first time, the two will take the same field as Class A opponents.

"Now that we are both Single-A, it definitely adds to the importance of the game," Magnolia coach Mark Batton said. "We won a couple games in a row there, but for the most part, Williamstown has had our number the past 10 years.

"We know this is an extremely important football game, but every game is."

Added Williamstown coach Terry Smith: "I don't know if we are putting any extra importance on the game, but it is a rivalry and that is what makes it a big game. Our kids have gotten used to playing them and they see that as a challenge by itself."

This game takes on a little bit more importance for Magnolia with last week's 21-20 loss to Linsly in the final game of the McDonald's OVAC Kickoff Weekend.

The Blue Eagles missed the playoffs last season and don't want to begin another campaign 0-2. They were pummeled in their second game last season by Williamstown, 41-14.

"We are already behind the eight-ball so we have to be ready to get going come Friday night," Batton said. "Williamstown, size-wise, they have the advantage. Skill-wise, I think we match up real well with them.

"We know they are going to try to power it at us. We are going to try to spead them out to try and get Stephen (Rogalski) involved and hopefully that helps us in the run game."

Despite the loss, Batton was not disappointed in his team after the Linsly game and for good reason. There was plenty to be thrilled about, namely Drew Keller.

The first-year back has some big shoes to fill in the form of his brother, Jayson, the school's all-time leading rusher. Another brother, Traeh, was a standout linebacker.

Drew responded by rushing for 137 yards on 27 carries against the Cadets.

Rogalski began his final season with the Blue Eagles 12-catch, 141-yard and one touchdown peformance, more than living up to his billing.

Quarterback Tanner Hanna threw for 177 yards.

The Magnolia defense was touch as always, led by Kage Rohde with 13 tackles, three for loss.

"They have some really good athletes," Smith said. "We know Rogalski is an all-stater and I don't know if there is anyone in the state can line up with him.

"We know we are going to have be successful running the ball and trying to keep it away from them.

"But we have a lot of confidence after winning the first game. We finally got to play so now we can analyze what we do right and we did wrong. Being 1-0 is a good place to start."

Williamstown didn't wait until the fourth quarter to put away Tyler Consolidated. The Yellowjackets scored each time they had the ball in the first half in their opener last Friday in Middlebourne.

Skyler Leasure had 104 rushing yards and two touchdowns against the Silver Knights. The opportunistic Yellowjackets also had 17 points off Silver Knights turnovers.

"This is your basic Williamstown team," Batton said. "They are big and physical and their offensive line will move you. They block very well and have a nice set of backs in Leasure and (Dakota) Watson. (Quarterback Alan) Tracewell knows how to run that offense.

"We expect another good game."

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