NEW MARTINSVILLE -Monroe Central will throw the 'Kinchen' sink at Magnolia Friday night.
After a bye week, Magnolia (2-2) welcomes Monroe Central (4-1) and its dual-threat quarterback Tyler Kinchen to New Martinsville for the Blue Eagles' homecoming.
Last week in the Seminoles' 32-0 win against Fort Frye, the senior rushed for 114 yards and one touchdown. Two of his five completions resulted in six points as well.
Photo by Michael Uhl
Magnolia’s Stephen Rogalski, left, tries to deflect a pass away from a Williamstown receiver during a game at Williamstown earlier this season. The Blue Eagles play host to Monroe Central Friday night in New Martinsville.
"Tyler Kinchen is a top-notch player," Magnolia coach Mark Batton said. "He is a good running back playing at quarterback. He's played three years in that backfield and as always been a handful He's an exceptional player."
Magnolia defeated Monroe Central 42-14 last year when the Blue Eagles finished 14-0 and won the Class AA state title. A large portion of that same defense has graduated.
"We have to know where Kinchen is at and be aware of where the football is," Batton said. "He is a powerful runner and is tough to bring down."
After allowing 107 points in their first two games, the Blue Eagles have surrendered just a total of 11 points in consecutive wins against Tyler Consolidated and River.
"We've battled back to get to .500, and now we're coming into a six-game stretch which is definitely tough." Batton said. "Every game is important from here on out."
"We really are just trying to get the kids to understand that this is just game No. 5," said Ritchie County head coach Mike Dawson. "It sounds corny, but that has been our approach all season. St. Marys was game No. 1, Calhoun was game No. 2, Clay was game No. 3 and Braxton was game No. 4."
For the record, the last time the Rebels opened the season with four straight wins was in 1995 when the then-Kenny Wright coached Rebels finished 10-0 in the regular season, but lost to Midland Trail by a 27-26 score in the first round of the Class AA playoffs.
Ritchie County beat Ravenswood that year by a 14-7 score.
Bulldog head coach Dan McConnell knows this contest is, "a pivotal game. We've got to have a win here. That's one thing we talked about, how important this game was."
Doddridge County got off to a rough start against the Crusaders a year ago when PCHS invaded West Union and left town with a 38-14 victory. The last time the 'Dogs played at Stadium Field they were blanked, 31-0.
"Last year they started off the game with a pass to the tight end for a touchdown," McConnell said. "We aren't going to forget about that one."
The Bulldogs have the Mid-Ohio Valley's top rusher in senior tailback Corey Aichele, who has scored 12 touchdowns and is just 183 yards shy of 1,000 for the campaign.
While McConnell knows the Crusaders very well could load up the box on Aichele, he also understands his defense will have a tough task as well.
"They've got a lot of skilled people, that's my biggest concern," he said. "The people they got coming back (Daniel) Collie, (Zack) Romine and the wide receivers they have are pretty good.
"We both can throw the ball and we've worked a little bit more on our passing game today (Wednesday) because I have a feeling they are going to be keying on Aichele so we are going to have to open up the offense a little more."