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Warriors survive test in benefit game
Magna Vista's defense stands tall on two-point conversion to hold off Dan River, 14-13
Magna Vista wide receiver Jaiquan Hairston tries to leap over a Dan River cornerback for a catch during Friday’s benefit game in Ringgold. (Bulletin photo by David Reynolds)
Sunday, August 19, 2012
By DAVID REYNOLDS - Bulletin Sports Editor
RINGGOLD — When the story of Magna Vista High School’s 2012 football season is written, Friday’s benefit game against Dan River High School will likely be an afterthought.
Since the matchup of former Piedmont District rivals was just an exhibition, the 14-13 win won’t count toward the Warriors’ overall record, the individual statistics piled up won’t go toward any player’s personal record book, and Magna Vista’s last-second defensive stand really won’t matter in the long run.
Try telling that to the Warriors’ players and coaches this week.
“Toughness,” Magna Vista Joe Favero said on what he learned about his team. “We’re tough; we’re going to battle. We may make a lot of mistakes because we’re young, but we’re playing 100 miles an hour and making plays. We had three goal-line stands tonight, and that’s what you want.”
After allowing a touchdown as time expired in the fourth quarter, Magna Vista’s defense needed to find an answer — and quickly — for Dan River quarterback Terrell Edmunds or risk ending the preseason on a losing note.
Edmunds had already ripped through the Warriors’ defense for 55 total yards on the Wildcats’ last-gasp drive of the game, and Magna Vista had a pretty good idea he’d be the one with the ball on Dan River’s potential game-winning two-point attempt.
But instead of waltzing into the end zone like he did on the last play of the fourth quarter, Edmunds was crunched by a pair of Warriors on the 1-yard line to incite a wild celebration from the Magna Vista sideline.
The Warriors formed a dogpile on the field where the tackle had been made.
It certainly felt like a win to them, regardless of when the season actually starts.
“It was love of the game,” Magna Vista running back and safety Keon Mabin said of the celebration. “Everybody hates to lose, and everybody loves to win, you know? It was crazy; it was just a really good game, that’s all I can say about it.”
Friday’s game also seemed to give Magna Vista some clarity at its starting quarterback position, as junior Calin Jamison and senior Basil Mott continued their competition to replace the departed Harvey Taylor.
Jamison provided most of the highlights for the Warriors’ offense, as he accounted for both of Magna Vista’s touchdowns — the first on a walk-in score from the 1-yard line and the other on a 72-yard rush showcasing both agility and quickness.
On his longer rushing touchdown — which would prove to be the game-winning score — Jamison shot up the middle on a QB draw before meeting his first Dan River defender 10 yards down the field.
Jamison beat him with a quick juke to his right, and he used that momentum to outrace the rest of the Wildcats’ secondary to the sideline.
From there it was a 50-yard footrace to the end zone, and no one from Dan River came even close to catching him.
In all, he finished with 116 rushing yards.
“It was intense. There were different players coming at me and I thought I was going to be taken down,” Jamison said of his 72-yard TD run. “But the adrenaline was rushing and it just kept me moving, kept my feet moving, and the next thing I knew I was in the end zone.”
Mabin gained 79 yards on the ground for the Warriors, including a pair of 20-yard runs that sparked Magna Vista’s offense in the first and third quarters.
The Wildcats struck first in the game, as Edmunds connected with Deundrae Gregory on Dan River’s opening drive for a 55-yard touchdown pass on broken coverage.
But Magna Vista’s defense settled down from there, rebounding to stuff the Wildcats twice inside the red zone as the game wore on. Other than Dan River’s first and last drives of the game, Magna Vista’s defense allowed just 86 total yards.
“It’s a battle; every game is a battle no matter what,” Mabin said. “We took every moment they could possibly get and turned it into a battle. That’s what our main focus is during games.”
The benefit game had a chippy feel throughout, as there was plenty of pushing, shoving and trash talk between the two sides in every quarter. Three scuffles broke out during the game, but each was diffused before any real damage could be done.
The final shoving match occurred following the game’s final play, when Dan River appeared to take exception to Magna Vista’s celebration after the defensive stop.
And while officials and coaches stepped in before any tempers could flare, Favero made sure after the game to keep his players away from the Dan River side of the field.
Both sides racked up several personal fouls during the game, something Favero made sure to mention in his postgame talk.
“We can’t have those mistakes. I told the kids, ‘We can’t give up cheap yardage next week,’” Favero said. “That’s part of growing up too, you can’t get caught up in the emotion. We’ll address it.”
Magna Vista 14
Dan River 13
MV 7 0 7 0 — 14
DR 7 0 0 6 — 13
DR — T. Edmunds 55 yard pass to D. Gregory (A. Lewis kick) 9:18
MV — C. Jamison 1 yard rush (J. Warren kick) 0:42
MV — C. Jamison 72 yard rush (J. Warren kick) 0:12
DR — T. Edmunds 7 yard rush (conversion failed) 0:00