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Blue Eagles Top Knights

Rogalski punt return keys fourth-quarter explosion

September 8, 2012
By JIM ELLIOTT - Staff Writer ( , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

NEW MARTINSVILLE - Any passive follower of the Magnolia-Tyler Consolidated series of late will look at Friday night's score - Blue Eagles 41, Silver Knights 13 - and assume it was more of the same.

But they'd be wrong.

The truth is this was a 21-7 game early in the fourth quarter with Tyler Consolidated driving when it made a pair of critical errors on back-to-back plays.

Article Photos

Magnolia’s Tanner Hanna (7) looks to pass as Tyler Consolidated’s James Earley closes in
Friday in New Martinsville.

Photo by
Scott McCloskey

Facing a fourth-and-1 from their own 45 and wholeheartedly intending to go for it, the Silver Knights (0-3) had a false start. Coach Rob Caldwell then sent out the punt team, which made an even more egregious error, sending a kick into the waiting hands of Stephen Rogalski.

''That was major,'' Magnolia coach Mark Batton said. ''It was still a two-possesion game. He's just electrifying. He made a couple of moves and once he gets in space, he's gone. They did a great job keeping it from him on special teams. That one just got away from them.''

Just like that, Rogalski broke the game open, motoring 71 yards for a touchdown barely two minutes into the fourth quarter.

''We're punting away from Rogalski the whole night,'' Caldwell said. ''He's probably the best receiver in the state - probably in any class. Any time he touches the ball, it's got a chance to go.''

So did any chance the young Silver Knights had at getting back in this one.

Magnolia (2-1) added two more scores on a 2-yard Drew Keller touchdown run and an interception return for a score by Tanner Hanna to cap what looked like a rout.

''(Tyler Consolidated quarterback Hunter Lemasters) was upset,'' Caldwell said. ''He threw that interception late in the game to give them 41. I told him, I don't care if I get beat 7-6 or 77-6. I don't care. We're going to keep trying. We need to work on our passing game. We throw a pick six, so be it. We're going to work on it to get better for next week.''

Magnolia led 14-0 at halftime, with the first score a Jacob Brill fumble recovery in the end zone, and the second was Brill's 15-yard touchdown reception.

''Defensively, we hung in there the first half,'' Caldwell said. ''We gave up that touchdown, and had a blown assignment on another touchdown. That's two touchdowns we pretty much gave them in the first half.''

Tyler Consolidated scored its first seven points its opening drive of the second half when Josh Ruble capped an eight-play, 66-yard drive with a 10-yard run. Freshman Jordan Baker added the other via a 67-yard run inside the last two minutes. He finished with 11 carries for 97 yards.

Keller led all rushers with 106 yards on 16 carries. Rogalski had five receptions in the game and passed Kenny Fisher as the school's all-time leading receiver.


Each team missed a field goal in the first half, both of more than 30 yards ...The Blue Eagles, who were flagged eight times for 75 yards, had a 41-yard touchdown reception by Rogalski wiped out by a holding call on the first play of the second quarter. Without penalties on completions to him, Rogalski would have had 54 more receiving yards. ''We just didn't play very smart,'' Batton said. ''We took seven points off the board with a block that was 40 yards behind the play.'' ...Tyler Consolidated had 36 yards at halftime and made its way into Magnolia territory just once (after a fumbled punt) and that lasted just two plays before a penalty sent it back into its own real estate.

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