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Golden Bears welcome Class A Golden Eagles

November 1, 2012
By RALPH COX - Sports correspondent , The Herald-Star

NEW MANCHESTER - It is a case of jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire as the Oak Glen football team prepares to end its first season under head coach Ian Whittington.

The Golden Bears will take their 4-5 record and host Magnolia at 7 p.m. Friday.

"Point Pleasant was a good Class AAA team," Whittington said about the Golden Bear 50-6 loss to the state ranked Big Blacks. "Now we turn our attention to Magnolia, which is a really tough assignment."

The Blue Eagles boast an 8-1 record, have won all eight games in a row since the 21-20 loss to Linsly in the opener, and they are ranked second in the latest state Class A rankings.

Magnolia, which had been a very good Class AA team over the past few years even winning the state championship in 2010, dropped to Class A this year because of decreased enrollment. Now, they could be a dominant team in the lower classification.

"They probably are the best team in Class A," Whittington said. "They have one of the best football players in the state in (Stephen) Rogalski and their running back (Drew) Keller isn't too bad either."

Rogalski is a three-year starter for coach Mark Batton's crew and he has won several gold medals in the sprints at the state track championships.

"He is very fast and athletic," Whittington explained. "They put him all over the field and use him just about every way possible. He makes plays for them."

Whittington said the Blue Eagles also have a very good defense.

"They are quick and apply pressure," he continued. "They are tough inside so it will be difficult to run against them between the tackles. I remember last year we had to use the perimeter rather than run inside.

"We had success running inside with Zack Staley last week, and that's what we want to do with our big line, but we may have to try to get to the perimeter this week."

He said the Golden Bear game plan will be to go outside with power sweeps, bubble screens and tosses to the running backs. At this point, the Bears have nothing to lose and can throw the playbook at the Blue Eagles even add some new wrinkles.

"We have the size advantage on the line so we'll try to bang up the middle, but Magnolia tends to force you to throw and we haven't had a lot of success lately doing that. We had some success with passing early in the season, but we have some speed and with our athletic quarterback (Bub Haddox) we'll mix it up."

Defensively, Whittington said the Golden Bears need to stop Magnolia's big play guy, Rogalski.

"We also have to force them into mistakes and turnovers," Whittington said. "If we can keep the game close till the fourth quarter, then we can use our size and wear them down at the end."

 
 

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