NEW MARTINSVILLE When you are trying to come up with a defense to stop a 2,000-yard passer, as a coach you almost have to assume that trying to contain that player may be the best way to go because stopping him may not be an option.
Magnolia head coach Mark Batton and defensive coordinator Bob Ripley had no such thoughts when they went to work on putting a game-plan together to try and stop Steubenville Catholic Central junior quarterback Brenton Colabella. All that they could hope for was that the defense go out and do their respective jobs.
They did everything they set out to do against the gun-slinging Colabella, and then some.
TOUGH NIGHT — Catholic Central quarterback Brenton Colabella goes back to pass during Friday’s 35-0 loss at Magnolia.
Magnolia limited the Crusaders to just 39 total yards of offense, including just 61 through the air for Colabella, while the Blue Eagles rolled up 426 stripes on offense in cruising to a very impressive, and very important, 35-0 victory over Catholic Central on Senior Night at Alumni Field.
The victory sends Batton's squad into the regular season finale next week at Oak Glen with an 8-1 record and also all but wraps up at least a first-round home playoff game in Wetzel County. Meanwhile, Coach Steve Daley's Crusaders fell to 6-4 and finisn as the No. 8 seed in Ohio Division VI, Region 21, and brings with it a date with top-ranked Mogadore next week.
"Wow, did Coach Ripley come up with a great game-plan and the kids executed it to perfection," a smiling Batton said. "We had kids coming at them from every direction and when they got there they were able to make tackles.
Magnolia 35, Steubenville Central 0
Steubenville Central 0 0 0 0 - 0
Magnolia 7 14 7 7 - 35
M: Keller 11 run (Raitmayr kick)
M: Hanna 1 run (Raitmayr kick)
M: Keller 66 pass from Hanna (Raitmayr kick)
M: Ritz 15 pass from Hanna (Raitmayr kick),
M: Rohde 10 run (Raitmayr kick)
RUSHING: Steubenville Central 19-(-22) ( Colabella 10-(-30), Potenzini 1-1, Romano 2-1, Murphy 3-5, Parise 3-1). Magnolia 46-199-3 (Keller 18-78-td, Rohde 17-90-td, Hanna 7-26-td, Rogalski 1-0, Anderson 3-5).
PASSING: Steubenville Central 9-16-61 (all by Colabella). Magnolia 13-22-227-2 (all by Hanna).
RECEIVING: Steubenville Central 9-61 (Laukert 1-5, Romano 1-(-4), Herrington 2-38, Fletcher 3-8, Carapellotti 1-7, Murphy 1-6). Magnolia 13-227-2 (Keller 6-130, Rogalski 4-57, Deem 1-13, Rohde 1-12, Ritz 1-15-td).
FIRST DOWNS: Steubenville Central 2; Magnolia 20.
PENALTIES: Steubenville Central 5-44; Magnolia 7-92.
FUMBLES: Steubenville Central 2-2; Magnolia 3-2.
"This is a big win for us with a lot of points as far as the playoffs go. And Steubenville Central and coach Daley have an excellent program and we wish them nothing but the best."
Early on it looked like the Blue Eagles were really going to start racking up the points, driving all the way to the Catholic Central one to open the contest before fumbling and then taking over following a 13-yard put at the enemy 15 a short time later.
However, that short drive ended on a missed 33-yard field goal attempt by Clemens Raitmayr.
But when Magnolia really got the offense going the Eagles started putting up points while the Crusaders was having major difficulty just getting a first down.
The hosts finally found the end zone with just three minutes showing in the opening frame. It came after the first of four first half sacks of Central junior quarterback Brenton Colabella, with Big Blue setting up shop at the 17. Just three plays later Keller took a delay up-the-middle, bolted to the outside and found pay dirt from 11 yards out for a 7-0 lead.
Another short punt led to Magnolia's second score, this time coming at 9:48 in the half with quarterback Tanner Hanna darting through the line from one-yard away to make it 14-0.
Daley's crew managed to drive the ball into Blue Eagles' territory midway through the second, picking up their first and only stick-mover of the half along the way, however, on fourth-and-four from the 30, Colabella was again sack and the ball changed hands on downs.
This time Hanna got the job done through the air, without the help of senior do-it-all Stephen Rogalski, as Keller took a screen pass, broke through a pair of tackles near midfield and completed a 66-yard pitch-and-catch for the score at 5:02. It provided a 21-0 score that stood to the half.
After recovering a fumble on the second half kickoff, the Blue Eagles all but put things away with a nearly five minute drive that culminated with a 15-yard quick-hitter from Hanna to freshman tight end Kyle Ritz to push the margin to 28-0.
Kage Rohde, who played an outstanding game on both sides of the ball, made it a 35-0 margin when he ran in from 10 yards away early in the final period.
With senior standout Doug Maslowski missing in the backfield due to an injury, Colabella was chased all night long, sacked a total of six times and had very little time to get anything going.
"Doug (Maslowski) is a big part of our offense and we missed him (Friday)," Daley admitted. "Hopefully he will be cleared by the doctors to play next week. It is tough to try and piece things together when you are missing a player like that, especially against a very good team.
"We knew we were going to have to rely on the passing game, but our line didn't do a very good job in protection and Magnolia put a ton of pressure on us."