River, Magnolia Meet in Thursday Clash

Photo by Kayla Ruble River will look to try to contain Magnolia’s Brooks Parsons tonight.

NEW MARTINSVILLE — Every year when they play each other, both Magnolia and River mark this game on their calendars. The Blue Eagles and Pilots open up Week 4 in the Ohio Valley as the cross-river rivals meet at Bill Stewart Memorial stadium tonight with a kickoff time of 7 p.m.

In arguably the most physical battle of Week 3, Magnolia and Shadyside were in a game that went down to the wire. In a double-overtime battle, an extra point proved to be the deciding factor as the Tigers edged Magnolia, 14-13, giving the Blue Eagles their first loss.

“We had a couple of opportunities before it went to overtime and didn’t convert,” Magnolia (2-1) coach Dave Chapman said. “That’s the game. You’ve got to execute what you’re trying to do offensively and we didn’t come up with a couple of plays, a couple kicks. But that’s football and obviously it’s a tough loss, but we’re past that and we got back to work Monday being a short week. We’ve had a pretty good week of practice.”

River bounced back into the win column after falling to Shenandoah in Week 2 in a 41-25 victory over Monroe Central. Lukas Isaly accounted for all six touchdowns for the Pilots as he ran for five and tallied 250 yards while also finding Drew Wagnild for a 30-yard connection.

“We were coming off a pretty physical game against Shenandoah,”î River (2-1) coach Mike Flannery said. “It was going to be a hard game to come out with a win. It was pretty exciting to watch as a spectator but a pretty blood raising event as a coach. It’s a short week and it’s time to prepare for the Blue Eagles.î

Chapman feels really confident that his squad will show resiliency following the loss to Shadyside and he also is aware River always has a strong program. Isaly, in particular, has been a player the Blue Eagles have been keeping an eye on every single year.

“They got one of the premier players in the valley,” Chapman said about Isaly. “He does it all. We’ve seen him going on four years and does what he does pretty well. By no means are they a one-name band. He’s got some guys to throw to and we’re going to have to bring it. They are a good football team. They beat a good Bellaire team. They play some quality opponents. By no means are we looking at River having a down year because they’re capable.”

Flannery knows what Magnolia is capable of and he knows what they’ve been through for the past two years. Like always for a rivalry game, it is going to be a physical matchup. Flannery also noted that both teams have the athletes that are capable of breaking the game open.

ìBoth side of the river marks them on the schedule,î Flannery said. “Itís back-to back-rivals for us. Again, you throw out all the stats. Itís going to come down to special teams and we’re going to go over special teams all week. I respect Doc. Heís a good coach and they have a good staff over there. They have athletes that can strike quickly. They were young last year and paid their dues and the rewards are showing right now.

“We needed to establish the run game and that wasn’t there in Games 1 and 2. Last week, we finally established a run game and we feel like we have several athletes that can break the game open like Magnolia does.î”

In the loss against Shadyside, Brooks Parsons hauled in four receptions for 34 yards and a score while quarterback Pat Mirandy ran for a score. Hunter Partridge is a workhorse, carrying the ball 37 times for a 143 yards.

“We have to get out of the gate early,” Chapman said. “We have the first three games, come out pretty strong and pretty quick and put some points up early. Coach Flannery does such a good job with his scheme offensively and I’m sure he’ll have some things we haven’t seen. And I’m sure he’ll see some things he hasn’t seen from us. It’s going to come down to who executes and who takes care of the ball.”