NEW MARTINSVILLE - Jayson Keller wanted to leave his legacy as a member of the Magnolia High School football program. With four games still remaining in the regular season, the senior has definitely made his mark.
Last Friday night in a 62-13 victory against Weir, Keller broke a school record which had stood for 13 years after increasing his total of career rushing touchdowns to 29. The old record of 27 was held by Derek Cisar.
"Jayson had an older brother (Traeh) and he hung around a lot with those seniors," Magnolia coach Mark Batton said. "Last year after the state championship, Jayson was interviewed and praised those seniors and the linemen especially. He said how he would miss them. He fed off those guys.
Photo by Michael Uhl
Williamstown’s Aaron Jones wraps up a South Harrison player earlier in the season. Williamstown will face Wirt County Friday night.
"But Jayson is his own person and he is passing that tradition right on down. We're tickled to see him get that record."
Not only is Keller enjoying another banner year with 581 yards rushing, but the 3-3 Blue Eagles also have a quarterback in first-year starter Tanner Hanna who has made great strides while completing 73 percent (97-of-132) of his passes for 982 yards and 10 touchdowns.
"A lot of things have been thrown at Tanner and he has accepted the challenge," Batton said. "It's good to see him reading his keys and managing the offense real well."
Magnolia travels to Clarksburg on Friday to hook up with Robert C. Byrd (4-3). In addition to Adam Secret, the Eagles have used a multitude of players at quarterback. Iziah Hill, Charles Hython and Aaron Taylor have been utilized in their wildcat formation.
"Robert C. Byrd throws a lot of different offensive formations at you," Batton said. "From everything we've seen, I'm not real sure what to expect."
The Blue Eagles defeated the Eagles 35-7 last year in New Martinsville.
"They lost a couple of nice skill players, but their linemen are back and they are the biggest team we'll face," Batton added.
Last week in a 55-0 victory over Doddridge County, Chris McDuffy emerged as the Mid-Ohio Valley's area leader with seven sacks on the season. Spencer Beall is a close second with five sacks, while the trio of Aaron Jones, Devon Carr and Avery Goff have three each.
"Our guys are doing a good job stopping the run and putting teams in second and long, and third and long situations," Williamstown coach Terry Smith said. "People have been forced to throw on us, which has allowed us to get more sacks."
Williamstown's leading ballcarrier Trey King injured his ankle against Doddridge County, but the senior is scheduled to start this week against Wirt County.
Coach Smith is anticipating a standing-room only crowd.
"Two undefeated teams we can't wait to play," Smith said. "It was a great atmosphere last year although it didn't end up being that way for us because we lost."
The Raiders enter Friday night's affair at County Stadium against the Hillbillies with a 5-1 record and a current No. 5 ranking in Class AA.
However, Roane County senior tailback Nathan Reynolds will miss this contest as he heals from an injury, but coach Burdette said he is expected to return for next week's road trip to Clendenin against Herbert Hoover.
"They are no slouch by any means," coach Burdette said of Man, which opened its season with a loss to current Class AAA No. 6 Logan and also has fallen short versus Class A No. 5 Fayetteville and a trio of ranked double-A foes in No. 11 Westside, No. 9 Chapmanville and No. 3 River View, which narrowly won 26-24.
"They are a big group of kids and they play hard. They have 20-some guys over 200 pounds and three guys over 300 pounds. They try to run a lot of power stuff."
Michael Bates is expected to help fill the void of Reynolds.
"We're excited for him to get the opportunity," Burdette noted. "He's more than capable of doing the job. When you got a Reynolds and a (Dylan) Cottrell it's hard to feed everybody the ball."