Eagles Prep for Angry Bunch of Yellowjackets
NEW MARTINSVILLE — In a week’s time, the Magnolia football team shot up the Class A charts, going from preseason No. 9 all the way to No. 2. That’s just fine with Blue Eagles (1-0) coach Dave Chapman, who believes his club has the necessary ingredients to compete with the state’s best.
That theory will be put to the test again at 7 on Friday night inside Bill Stewart Memorial Stadium at Alumni Field. That’s when an angry Williamstown (0-1) team will come calling, still reeling from a 33-0, season-opening home loss to defending Class A champ and top-ranked Wheeling Central.
”It’s a typical Williamstown-coached team,” Chapman said. ”We want to come into the game and run the football and stop the run.
”They’re going to come in here hungry. The score against a very good Central team is not indicative of the type of team Williamstown has.
”I like the game being at home because our community will be excited. Williamstown will bring a boatload of fans, too, so it’s going to be an exciting night.”
Magnolia had little issue with then-No. 5 Sherman last week, doing pretty much whatever it pleased. Chapman said the effort defensively that led to a shutout, is something the Blue Eagles have always prided themselves on.
”I’d be remiss if I didn’t say great things about our defense,” he said. ”We got hats to the ball. We didn’t get the quarterback sacked but forced him into quick throws and it seemed like they were always in a hurry.
”They wanted to run the football and we pride ourselves on stopping run and forcing (opponents) into third-and-7 or third-and-8.”
Leading the defensive charge were James Stillwagoner and Gage Adams. Stillwagoner registered 15 tackles including 10 solos and one for a loss, while Adams was in on 12 tackles — seven solos and one behind the line.
That kind of effort will be paramount again this week, as Williamstown has and will likely feature a ground-oriented attack so long as Terry Smith is the coach. Carter Haynes and Donathan Taylor are a couple of veteran runners who have the ability to stretch defenses and go the distance. They were limited to a combined 122 yards a week ago.
”Those guys are dangerous,” Chapman said. ”Our big thing is we want to be able to stop the run and run the football when we have it. We feel with the guys we have up front, we can do that.
”We felt going into the Sherman game there were some things we could do, and there are some things we think we can do against Williamstown.”
Quarterback Pat Mirandy got off to a big start with an all-around performance against the Tide. He showed an ability to get outside the pocket but keep his eyes downfield, waiting for receivers to get open. Mirandy finished with 49 yards rushing, completed 7 of 14 for 173 yards and three scores, kicked a field goal and three extra points.
”When Pat started to scramble, our receivers did good job of breaking routes and coming back to him,” Chapman said. ”We had a couple breakdowns and Pat was able to make positive yards.
”He has improved tremendously with his overall size and strength.
”He is matured and his confidence level is so much higher.”
Sebastian Stickler led Magnolia’s receivers with two catches for 90 yards and a pair of scores. Matthew Gaiser added two receptions for 60 yards.