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Tyler Looks to Snap Skid Vs. Magnolia

By Staff | Oct 20, 2016

NEW MARTINSVILLE – Coming off a West Virginia Class A state championship in 2015, Magnolia has struggled through a 1-7 campaign so far this season, and while little will help it feel good about things, a victory Friday night could definitely ease the pain.

The high school version of the “Backyard Brawl” will make its way to Alumni Field as Head Coach Ryan Walton’s 4-3 Tyler Consolidated squad will make the short trip looking to end a long losing streak against Dave Chapman’s struggling Big Blue.

Both teams are coming off losses to unbeaten opponents with the Silver Knights dropping a 50-33 decision at South Harrison while Magnolia was trounced, 49-7, by visiting St. Marys a week ago.

“St. Marys was exactly who we thought they were, a big, physical and talented football team,” Chapman said. “They were as good a football team as we have played this season. But it’s all about scoring points. We came out in our first possession and had a 21-play drive and didn’t put up any points.

“Penalties and sacks killed us, but we felt like if we just get that one in maybe things could have been a little different.”

But while the Blue Eagles have had their problems this season, one they haven’t had through the years is beating Tyler Consolidated. Magnolia is currently riding a 12-game winning streak against its rival, including a 68-22 win last season.

The Knights’ last victory was a 55-13 in 2003.

Since that time the Blue Eagles have outscored Tyler Consolidated by a 456-103 margin, including four shutouts and have scored 40 or more points six times, including 54 or more on three occasions.

“We definitely don’t preach things like that to the kids,” Chapman said. “Those are past records and games, we want this year to be about this year. Tyler Consolidated is a team that still has playoff hopes and we want to come out and beat them.

“It is all about coming out and playing like we know we can play. Everyone is excited about this game, these kids know each other both on and off the field.”

Magnolia’s only victory this year is 19-14 against winless Monroe Central, but the its opponents have a combined record of 45-17 (with eight of those losses belonging to the Seminoles) and have played six teams with at least six victories.

Senior quarterback Nick Priem leads the Magnolia offense and went past the 1,000-yard passing plateau last week. Priem has hit 75 of 144 tries for 1,010 yards, 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. His favorite targets are juniors Brooks Parsons (31-567-5td) and Leo Herrick (26-420-2).

Senior Chase Street is the team’s leading rusher with 540 yards and four scores on the season, but the Magnolia rushing attack ran into a brick wall last week against St. Marys. The Eagles did not have a rusher finish in positive yardage with Street being held to negative-18 yards and Priem having trouble avoiding pressure. In all Magnolia finished with 18 total carries for an unbelievable negative-101 yards on the ground and just 23 total yards on the night.

“Magnolia has some very good skill position players and is not a bad football team,” Walton said. “But they play a very grueling schedule. Their record is really not indicative of how good they are, but you have to play the hand you are dealt.

“I think their skill position players are continuing to come together and get better and their young offensive line has improved.”

Sophomore Griffin Phillips is the Tyler Consolidated quarterback and threw for 130 yards and four last week. He has a couple of very capable athletes around him in seniors Jace Reed and Tyler Anderson.

Reed, who ran the ball 20 times for 83 yards and caught seven passes for 85 yards and two scores against South Harrison, has run for 684 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Anderson, the team’s leading rusher a season ago has caught 29 passes for 334 yards and six scores.

“They are a much improved football team from last year,” Chapman said. “All of their kids are a year older and the younger ones all got good experience last year.

“Reed and Anderson are great players and they try to get the ball into their hands as much as possible. Phillips is a good young quarterback as well.”

While the Blue Eagles had no success at all running the ball a week ago, the Silver Knights had no success what-so-ever in stopping the ground game. South Harrison ran for a whopping 445 yards and eight touchdowns in rolling over Tyler Consolidated.

“This is a game the kids from both schools have circled on the calendar early on,” Walton said. “We are coming off a very physical game in which we just ran out of gas late, but we played hard the entire way.

“Both teams are familiar with the other in this rivalry and they even hang out once in a while. We just want to go out and get with it and get a victory.”