Magnolia Invades Shadyside

Tigers have won two straight vs. Blue Eagles

Photo by Scott McCloskey Dakota Litton and Magnolia will look to bounce back Friday against Shadyside.

SHADYSIDE — When you mention Magnolia and Shadyside during football season, you think of two small schools nestled along the Ohio River as being rivals. However, that may be the truth in a sense, but in reality the Blue Eagles and Tigers have only met three times on the gridiron since the 2000 campaign.

The fourth contest will play out Friday night at Fleming Field when Magnolia (1-1) visits Belmont County looking to end a two-game losing streak to the hosts (1-1). The Blue Eagles won 40-0 in New Martinsville en route to capturing the West Virginia Class A state crown in 2015, but Shadyside has claimed the last two meetings, including a 14-13 thriller in New Martinsville last year that took two overtimes to decide.

“I’m sure that is in the craw,” Shadyside coach Mark Holenka said of last year’s victory. “That loss kind of sent them in a tailspin, so I’m sure they will seeking redemption.

“They are a very good football team. They could’ve easily beaten Williamstown if it hadn’t been for turnovers.”

Magnolia was 2-0 entering that game a season ago, but the lost sent them on a six-game losing streak and they finished 4-6.

Holenka knows his team will be facing a much stronger test than last week in a 55-0 rout of Monroe Central.

“It all starts up front for us,” he stressed.

“We always want to run the ball first and pass second, but we’ll do what we have to do to win the game. If we can sustain some drives and eat up some of the clock, it makes it easier to defend them because they are explosive.”

Shadyside took to the air against the Seminoles and quarterback Anthony Coggins was up to the task. The senior completed 10 of 16 passes for 309 yards and two touchdowns — all in the first half.

Coggins spread the wealth around, as well, as five different receivers had more than 50 yards each. Connor Banco caught three passes for 64 yards and a six-pointer, while Jacob Visnic (76 yds.), Kelly Hendershot (70-td), Mason VanNest (58) and Jordan Joseph (55) all landed two receptions.

“We had some nice balance last week and we think our skilled athletes are pretty talented and veteran, but we need our people in the trenches to get pushes on run plays and sustain their blocks on pass plays,” Holenka said.

Banco led the ground attack with 96 yards and three touchdowns. As a team the Tigers rambled for 158 yards.

Magnolia is coming off a lackluster effort against Williamstown. It had five turnovers.

“Turnovers cost us that game,” Magnolia coach Dave Chapman said. “We just didn’t play a very good game at all, but committing five turnovers won’t win you many games at all.”

The Blue Eagles have been led offensively by quarterback Pat Mirandy.

“His football IQ is off the charts. He is such a great athlete,” Chapman said of Mirandy.

The Blue Eagles opened the season in style with a shutout of Sherman, which entered the contest ranked third in the West Virginia Class A preseason poll.

“It’s going to be a tough game,” Chapman said. “It’s a tough place to play up there. We just need to regroup and get focused for a good football team.”

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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