Magnolia Takes Out Oak Glen

On a night when Steven Zajdowicz became the team’s first back to rush for 1,000 yards in the regular season since 1980, it was the Magnolia defense that stood tall.

The Blue Eagles limited visiting Oak Glen to 8 yards of total offense in running their winning streak to seven with a 35-7 victory Friday night at Alumni Field.

”We were swarming to the ball and had them pretty well disrupted offensively,” Magnolia coach Mark Batton said as his team, currently ranked No. 7 in the West Virginia Class AA computer ratings, improved to 7-2.

”I thought the defense did a great job of reading their keys and playing to their assignments.”

Batton had his team prepared to face a wide-open, shotgun attack. But on the Bears’ first series, they came out in a double-tight, stacked-I formation and proceeded to run the ball.

It mattered not.

Magnolia’s front wall was pouring through Oak Glen’s offensive line and causing havoc on nearly every play.

Between-the-tackles runs were stopped before they got started and carries to the perimeter were strung out and stopped for little to no gain.

As a team, the Bears finished with 21 yards rushing, not including a 25-yard loss on a bad bunt snap during the second quarter.

”We didn’t block well all night,” Oak Glen coach Jeff Woofter said. ”Their linebackers were consistently in our backfield and were almost taking the handoffs before our backs could get to them.

”You can’t get win games like that.

”You can’t get first downs like that.”

It wasn’t until quarterback Seth Barnhart’s 12-yard scamper with 6:25 showing in the third quarter that the Bears were able to pick up their initial first down. And they only got one more after that.

Magnolia freshman linebacker Traeh Keller picked up a few tackles behind the line of scrimmage, but it was the play of the defensive line, in particular seniors John Peffer and Kyle Smith, that set the tone.

”Kyle played one heck of a game,” Batton said. ”They tried to trap him and couldn’t and he was beating their guards to the gaps and disrupting everything.”

Defensively, Oak Glen didn’t fair quite as bad, despite getting outgained 187 to 1 in the first half.

Magnolia was able to move the ball, with Zajdowicz picking up 104 of his 164 yards and one of his two touchdowns during the first 24 minutes of play.

The Blue Eagles put together a few lengthy drives, but save for an 8-play, 76-yard scoring march to start the second quarter, Oak Glen was able to keep the home team out of the end zone, recording two fourth-down stops.

But Oak Glen’s special teams, particularly its punt team, went into a funk.

Two blocked punts and the aforementioned bad snap directly led to 21 Magnolia points, as Justin Fox threw a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter and Chad Barker pounced on a fumble for the remaining Blue Eagles’ scores.

”We kind of thought maybe we could get a couple (blocks),” Batton said. ”And then they snapped the ball over the punter’s head and that was really the difference in the game right there.

”It gave us two scores before the half and kind of took the wind out of their sails.”

Fox finished 6 of 10 for 55 yards with scoring tosses going to tight end Jared Blatt and wideout Jason Utt.

Oak Glen’s lone touchdown came late in the fourth quarter when Gary Gamble fielded a kickoff at his own 12-yard line and raced 88 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown.