NEW MARTINSVILLE -The Josh Sims era at Magnolia is finally set to begin tonight at 7:30 as the No. 10 Blue Eagles host No. 4 Williamstown in a Class A showdown.
As you can imagine, the nerves are beginning to take their toll on the first-year coach.
''I'm really excited,'' Sims said. ''Of course, I have some jitters, but it's more excitement than anything. It'll be a very proud day for me.''
Photo by Tony Viola/Magnolia quarterback Nick Priem hands the ball off to running back Tyler Anderson during preseason camp.
The Blue Eagles may be without all-state defensive end and tight end/H-back Kyle Ritz for the game.
The junior suffered an injury to his foot while punting during Thursday's practice. He will find out this morning whether or not he will have to miss an extended amount of time.
The injury to Ritz will hinder Magnolia's ability to contain Yellow Jackets senior quarterback Dakota Watson, who finished with three touchdowns and 300 yards of total offense (162 rushing, 138 passing) during a 30-7 season-opening victory against Tyler Consolidated.
Sept. 5: Williamstown 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 13: at Green. West 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 19: at River 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 26: Whg. Central 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 3: at Monroe Central 7 p.m.
Oct. 10: at Weir 7 p.m.
Oct. 17: St. Marys 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 24: Tyler Consol. 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 31: at Barnesville 7 p.m.
Nov. 7: at Linsly 7:30 p.m
Aug. 29: at Tyler Consol. W, 30-7
Sept. 5: at Magnolia 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 12: at Marietta TBA
Sept. 19: Oak Glen 7 p.m.
Sept. 26: at Ravenswood 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 3: St. Marys 7 p.m.
Oct. 17: Wirt County 7 p.m.
Oct. 24: Parkersburg Cath. 7 p.m.
Oct. 31: at Ritchie County 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 7: at Roane County 7:30 p.m.
''He's a threat anytime he has the ball,'' Sims said. ''A guy like that is hard to prepare for. We're definitely going to have to put a spy on him.''
In the Blue Eagles favor, they've had two weeks to prepare for Williamstown as Magnolia had a Week 1 bye.
''Last week, we went off of stuff we had of them from last year,'' Sims noted. ''This week, we've been focusing on stuff from this year which is somewhat different. I'm used to seeing Williamstown run out of an I-formation, but now they spread it out.''
The Yellow Jackets (1-0) ran the ball 33 times for 229 yards in their victory against the Silver Knights and Watson, who converted this season from half back to quarterback, completed eight of 14 passes, three to Michael Beck and five to Hunter Neely.
While Magnolia has the advantage of two weeks worth of preparation, Sims noted Williamstown has the edge of already playing a game.
''You can run kids around all you want, but that first game is what gets them in game shape,'' Sims said. ''They already had their Week 1 jitters. We're going in blind.''
Sims noted he tried to treat Magnolia's second scrimmage against Cameron as a Week 1 game to get those jitters out of the way.
''I thought we handled it pretty well,'' he said. ''It's hard to get kids up for a scrimmage like it's a real game.''
Sims won't be alone in his new role as several of his players will be starting their first varsity game, including sophomore quarterback Nick Priem.
Running backs Tyler Anderson and Chase Street will look to carry the Blue Eagles offense.