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Football: Magnolia’s Road Show Continues To Be a Success

November 24, 2013
By DAVE MORRISON , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

MOOREFIELD - Magnolia's traveling playoff road show continued Saturday afternoon to rave reviews.

That is, unless you are a Moorefield fan.

The Blue Eagles ran through and over the Yellow Jackets for 436 yards and five touchdowns in a 37-7 domination of Moorefield on Saturday.

Drew Keller continued his playoff mastery, a good chunk of it once again in the wildcat formation, with 32 carries for 293 yards and four touchdowns to get the Blue Eagles back to the Class A semifinals where they will face Greenbrier West, a 18-0 winner against St. Mary's.

Magnolia and West last met in the Class AA semifinals in 2010. Magnolia won and went on to win a state championship.

At least one person from Moorefield was impressed: Coach Josh See.

"When we saw them on film it was tricky to judge just how good they are at running that (wildcat formation)," See said. "They have an outstanding line and obviously Keller is a load to bring down. I thoroughly expect them to be playing on the island in December, and I hope they win it all. That was probably the best-coached team we have seen this season."

To get there, the Blue Eagles had to deal with Moorefield, which has six state titles to its credit, but none in the last decade.

Magnolia (8-4) sent a message and potentially dealt what happened to be the knockout blow early.

The Blue Eagles methodically dissected the Yellow Jackets on the first possession of the game, driving 71 yards and taking 7:53 off the clock, the spurt ending when Eric Smith scored on a 3-yard end around.

Moorefield's first possession ended in a loss of 5 yards and a three-and-out.

Keller scored the first of his touchdowns moments later from 58 yards out to make it 13-0 with 2:05 left in the first quarter.

"We felt like we had to get on the board quick," Magnolia coach Mark Batton said. "That was our plan coming into the game, get up on them early and put the pressure on them. The defensive stand really got the momentum rolling. To get that second touchdown after that stop was just the icing on the cake.

Knock out blow, though?

"It was huge," See said. "It took us away from what we wanted to do, which is run the football. Maybe I went away from it too early, but we felt like we needed to make something happen. Their defense is very good. They came out and outhit us, took it to us. When we needed to come up with big plays, we couldn't."

For most of the day, Moorefield didn't.

The Yellow Jackets had 96 yards on the ground, but 29 of that came late on one run.

"I thought we played defense just the way a Magnolia team should play," said two-way linemen Cole Seckman said. "We are known for being a defensive team and we are starting to play that way."

They are also known for being a running team, led by Keller, who has 534 yards and seven touchdowns in playoff victories

"The battle was won at the line of scrimmage," Batton said. "Our offensive line just did a tremendous job. Drew is a talented running back, but he'll tell you it starts up front."

He did.

"Everything I do is because of them," Keller said of the line. "They were opening up the seams for me. In fact, I probably let them down a couple times by getting tackled at the line. The holes are there and that is on those guys."

And the traveling playoff show? It just keeps marching on.

Eric Smith added 68 yards on the ground and quarterback Jacob Brill had 38 and completed all four of his passes for 23 yards.

Lawrence Schoonover had 67 yards to lead Moorefield (10-2). Dakota Vetter had 20 yards and scored the Yellow Jackets lone touchdown late in the second quarter to make it 20-7.

Magnolia led 27-7 at the half.

Keller also had touchdown runs of 8, 2 and 7 yards.

Oscar Celedon kicked a 32-yard field goal for Magnolia.

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