WILLIAMSTOWN - During coach Terry Smith's tenure as head coach at Williamstown, he has the advantage in the series against Magnolia, 6-4.
However, the latest returns haven't been so kind for the Yellowjackets as the Blue Eagles have won four of the past five meetings.
"It's different teams and different players every year, so we can't go back," Smith said. "But we know what we're up against every time we play them."
In the season-opener for both teams, quarterback Jake Tracewell accounted for three touchdowns as Williamstown defeated Tyler Consolidated 27-14. In New Martinsville, Linsly made a goal-line stand late in the fourth quarter to defeat Magnolia, 14-7.
"Magnolia is going to run the ball a bit more than they did last year," Smith said. "Of course, they had a super receiver last year. They will put you to sleep. They run the ball then they play-action."
Against Tyler Consolidated, Williamstown produced more than 300 yards of total offense but fumbled the ball away five times. The Yellowjackets also turned the ball over once a kickoff. "I can't ever remember us fumbling six times," Smith said. "We go over fumble drills, but we just didn't hold onto the ball. We did win, so I guess it's OK."
Tracewell played like the veteran senior he is after rushing for 72 yards on six carries with one touchdown and throwing for 121 yards. Two of his five completions resulted in six points.
"We've been trying to get him to do that for three years and he has for the most part," Smith said. "We kind of take him for granted. He's been here for so long. We count on Jake that's for sure. I'm impressed with him every day."
According to the Williamstown coaching staff, the Yellowjacket linemen each graded out above 70 percent. None reached the 80-percent mark and in terms of matching up with Magnolia, the numbers must improve.
"Magnolia is a lot bigger than us," Smith said. "They have one kid 300 pounds who plays both ways and another player at 280 pounds. They present a problem because they are so big. Hopefully, we can be quick."
Magnolia is trying to bounce back from the heartbreaking loss to Linsly. Against the Blue Eagles, running back Chimechi Oparanozie rushed for 104 yards on 17 carries and scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 44-yard run with 8:41 remaining in the third quarter.
Magnolia was marching downfield late in the game when quarterback Jacob Brill fumbled while trying to score from the Linsly 2-yard line at the three-minute mark of the fourth quarter. Brill passed for 122 yards on five completions. Eric Smith, who scored the Blue Eagles' only touchdown, hauled in four receptions for 122 yards.
Smith pointed out that Magnolia's running back tandem of Drew Keller and Kage Rohde must be a focal point as well.
"Brill is a good athlete," Smith said. "He knows what he is doing and puts people in the right places. A couple of times they would get out of formation and he put them right back in."