Magee wins first district game against Seminary

By JOSHUA SEABROOK,

In an offensive flurry in which the points rained down like the rain from the sky, the Trojans outlasted the weather and the Bulldogs to move to 7-0 on the season and 1-0 in district play.  Magee entered play boasting one of the best offenses in the state that has scored 50+ points in three games this season, paired with a stingy defense that had yet to surrender more than 14 points in a game thus far. The Trojans have steamrolled each foe in their way to this point.

Seminary started the game with the ball on their own 20 after Sam Rials sent the opening kickoff into the endzone for a touchback.  Cameron Sullivan, Steven Durr, and Josh Sanders made their presence known defensively early as the threesome teamed up to force a three and out on the opening drive for the Bulldogs.  On the fourth down punt, Sanders called for a fair catch and was interfered with by the Seminary special teams to give Magee to the Seminary 40.  Chandler Pittman connected with Sanders for 15 on second down to move the Trojans just outside of the Bulldogs' redzone.  After being stopped for a loss on first down, Pittman found room on a keeper for 10 to set up 3rd and short.  The drive stalled after an incomplete pass on third down that forced a 37-yard Rials field goal attempt that the southpaw kicker drilled to give Magee an early 3-0 lead.  Rials then sent the ensuing kickoff through the endzone again for his second touchback of the game.  Seminary found tough sledding against the vaunted Trojans defense; as Steven Durr and Zyrus Craft teamed up to suffocate the Bulldogs' run game to force another three and out.  Sanders again dropped back to receive the punt, which was returnable this time, and proceeded down the field on an explosive return that would have set Magee's offensive up with the ball deep in Bulldog territory, if not for a block in the back penalty that negated the return and put the Trojans back onto their side of the field.  Jawon Shaw gashed the Seminary defense with a physical 20-yard run to move Magee down to the Seminary 33.  Looking to keep their foot on the gas pedal, the Trojans rushed to the line and quickly ran a deep pass play that nearly netted a touchdown, but the Pittman pass sailed mere inches over the outstretched fingertips of Matthew Thurman.  Shaw picked up a gain of three to set up 3rd and 7, which was easily picked up on a 20-yard back shoulder pass that connected this time from Pittman to Thurman to move inside the Seminary redzone.  Pittman then found Sanders on a curl route down to the 4 for a 1st and goal.  After no gain on first and a slant pass that was batted down in the endzone on second, Pittman took a keeper through the left side of the line to punch it in for a 5-yard touchdown to give Magee a 9-0 lead after a blocked PAT.

Rials sent the following kickoff through the endzone yet again for another touchback to give the Bulldogs the ball at their own 20.  Poun'darius Youngblood got the drive started for Seminary with a 5-yard run, followed up by a 4-yard run from Cameron Sanford to give the Bulldogs 3rd and 1.  Marquis Crosby picked up the first with a 4-yard run to move the ball to the Seminary 33.  The Bulldogs then tried a little trickery, after a reverse to Jayren Johnson turned into a pass attempt to a wide open Joseph Owens, but heavy pressure from the Magee defense rushed Johnson's throw and forced an interception by Fernanzo Ross who took it to the house to give Magee a 17-0 lead after a Shaw 2pt conversion with 1:18 remaining in the first.  Seminary took the following kickoff back to their own 26.  Crosby took the first play of the drive for a 14-yard run, followed by a run from Jackson Bryant run to the Magee 37, which ended in a 15-yard personal foul against Magee to move the ball to the Magee 22.  On second down, Owens carried the ball down to the Magee 10, but a holding penalty back at the 24 moved the ball to the Magee 34.  Magee's defense pushed the Bulldogs back even further on third down to set up 4th and 30.  On 4th and 30, Jordan Barrett ran through several arm tackles, aided by what appeared to be an uncalled hold at the line of scrimmage, on his way to a 44-yard touchdown to shrink Magee's lead to 17-6 with 10:35 left in the first half.  Magee wasted little time responding to the score, as Sanders took the ensuing kickoff 75-yards down to the Seminary 5.  Three plays later, Pittman would take it in for his second rushing touchdown of the game to widen the gap to 24-6, taking just over a minute off the clock on the drive.

Seminary started the following drive at their own 32, where Barrett would pick up 7-yards on first and 15 on second to move to the Magee 37.  On first down, Owens carried for 7 followed by a Sanford run that ended with a short gain thanks to an open field tackle by Bridges to force third down.  Barrett took the third down carry, weaving his way through the Magee defense and hurdling Janorris Newsome, on his way to a touchdown.  Luckily for Magee, players are not allowed to jump over one another at the high school level, causing the run to be negated and moving the Bulldogs to the Magee 36.  Owens took the ball down to the 9 to give Seminary first and goal, where Sanford would punch it in to shrink the lead to 24-12 with 5:18 remaining in the first half.  Magee again wasted little time responding to a Seminary touchdown.  The Trojans started the drive at their own 35, where Bridges carried the ball down to the 50 with a 15-yard late hit tacked on to move to the Seminary 35.  Pittman then connected with Sanders on a beautiful wheel route that Pittman let rip before Sanders finished his break, dropping the ball over the shoulder of Sanders who walked in for a touchdown to give Magee a 30-12 lead with 4:55 remaining in the second quarter.  Seminary would continue to attempt to chip away at the score, continuing the exchange of touchdowns.  Owens took the kickoff down to the Seminary 40, where he would follow up with a 10-yard run on first down to give the Bulldogs a first down at midfield.  Jabori Potts took a handoff 9-yards followed by a 12-yard run by Dalvon Martin to get inside the Trojans' redzone.  The drive was finished off with a reverse pass from Youngblood to Owens to shrink the Magee lead to 30 to 20 with 3:17 remaining until the half.  Magee again looked to respond to a Seminary touchdown, as their lead had shrunk to only 10 points nearing halftime.  Bridges took the ensuing kickoff down to the Magee 40.  From there, Pittman connected with Xavier Franks for a 20-yard pass that ended with Franks "Mossing" Dalvon Martin to move the chains.  After no gain on first and second, Shaw picked up 10 on third down to net another first for the Trojans, followed by another run by Shaw for 7.  Pittman's ability to extend the play was on full display as the speedy quarterback left defenders dizzy in the backfield as he bought time for Sanders to come back and connect for a 24-yard gain down to the Bulldogs 4. Shaw would then take it in for another Magee touchdown before the half to give the Trojans a 37-20 lead at the half.

Both teams found trouble moving the ball to start the second half, as both defenses capitalized on mistakes by the opposing offense to halt promising drives prematurely.  After a fumble by Sanford was recovered by Jameyian Spencer at the Seminary 47, Pittman and company went to work looking to increase their lead over the Bulldogs.  Pittman connected with Thurman for a big gain on first that was negated by another Magee penalty that moved the Trojans back to midfield.  Shaw then broke off a bruising 27-yard run that ended with him bowling over the Bulldogs' safety to give Magee the ball at the Seminary 33.  After a loss on first, Pittman hit Bridges on a swing pass for a catch and run down to the 10.  Pittman found Sanders for 5 on first followed by a 5-yard touchdown run by Bridges to give Magee a 44-20 lead with 2:41 remaining in the third.  Seminary began the ensuing drive at their own 40, where Potts took the first down carry for 4-yards followed by a Cameron Sullivan sighting on the following play as the Senior tackled Sanford for a loss to set up 3rd and 8.  Youngblook kept on a quarterback dive for 8 with a late hit call on Steven Durr to move the ball into Magee territory.  After a holding penalty backed the Bulldogs up to the Magee 40, Steven Durr got retribution with a big tackle for loss to set up 2nd and 18 for Seminary.  Antonio Mobley then took a toss from Youngblood and found Martin deep-down field for a first down.  After being stopped on first, Owens took a toss around the right side in for a touchdown, again aided by a blatant uncalled holding penalty which was argued by the Magee coaches, ending in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that was enforced on the kickoff.

Magee's lead now stood at 44-27 with 9:59 remaining in the game.  Shaw got the drive started with a short run that ended with a 5-yard illegal hands to the face on Seminary, followed by a short run by Pittman to the 30.  Pittman again took a keeper, this time for 10-yards to the Magee 40.  Bridges followed with a 10-yard run to midfield, when lightning in the area forced a weather delay.  After attempting to come back out after a one hour delay, both teams were forced off the field again by the weather before the game could resume.  The game resumed after an hour and a half weather delay.  Magee went back to work at the 50, where Pittman was tackled for a 2-yard loss back to the Magee 48.  Pittman then hit Thurman for a 15-yard gain on the sloshy, rain soaked field to move back into Seminary territory.  Bridges trudged ahead for 9 followed by a Pittman run for 8 to move into the redzone.  Bridges then ran again for 10, followed by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Seminary for calling the Magee snap count and forcing several players to jump offside.  Pittman finished the drive with an 8-yard run to give the Trojans a 51-27 lead which would go on to be the final in the ball game.

After the game, Coach Teddy Dyess spoke about how impressed he was with his team’s ability to battle through the weather delay and adversity throughout the game, "You come out and you have 8:30 left on the clock and you just take it and run it right down their throat, they've got an Ole Miss commit sitting there at linebacker and came right at them, can't say enough about the play of our offensive line, that group has really grown up, putting screws on people, moving their feet and playing really well."  Coach Dyess was very impressed with his defense's performance against the tricky option offense of Seminary, "You know, the thing was we started out good and then we had a little bad section there, but Coach J-Roc, Coach Nixon, and Coach McCoy made the correct adjustments and got them shut back down again."  During the post game talk with the team, Coach Dyess praised the team for their resiliency and gave his team an important message about next week's matchup with undefeated West Marion team, "Two unbeaten teams walk into that game and only one will come out and that's Magee."