ILLIAMSTOWN -Williamstown’s Terry Smith reached a coaching milestone with a victory that rivaled one of the best finishes since he took over the Yellowjackets 10 years ago.
Friday night at Williamstown High School, Smith reached the 100-win plateau after the Yellowjackets rallied from a four-point deficit in the final two minutes of a 15-14 victory against Magnolia.
“The 100 wins just means we’ve had some good players and some great coaches,” Smith said. “It was a big win tonight. The kids kept the faith. This win ranks right up there.
“I wouldn’t say this is the best. We did win a state championship, but this might be second.”
Williamstown hit the comeback trail beginning with Magnolia’s possession which began at its own 10-yard line with 2:36 showing on the clock and the home team down 14-10. Combined with three consecutive illegal procedure penalties on the Blue Eagles and a pair of short gains, the Yellowjackets managed to force a fourth-and-16.
Magnolia elected to take the intentional safety which cut the deficit to 14-12 with 1:44 still remaining.
On the ensuing free kick, David Hastings’ lengthy return and a 5-yard penalty assessed against Magnolia put Williamstown across midfield at the Blue Eagle 42. On three occasions, quarterback Jake Tracewell connected with receiver Hunter Neely which resulted in a net gain of 23 yards.
As the clock approached the 30-second mark, Williamstown faced fourth-and-4 at the Magnolia 9. That was well within range for placekicker Kade Kiselica, who split the uprights for the 26-yard field goal and a 15-14 lead.
“I guess they figured we were going to have to go the length of the field,” Smith said. “The kids made some big plays, and they almost came back on us.”
Magnolia had one last chance on a drive which started at Williamstown’s 44. Following an incomplete pass, Yellowjacket defender Blake Eddy tipped a pass which landed in the arms of Hastings. One kneel down later and the Yellowjackets improved to 2-0, while Magnolia remained winless at 0-2.
Tracewell finished with 195 yards on 15-of-22 passing. Hastings hauled in five passes for 149 yards, including a 35-yarder which resulted in the game’s first touchdown at the 8:26 mark of the first quarter.
Magnolia’s Drew Keller led all ballcarriers with 187 yards on 24 carries. His 26-yard touchdown run with 1:21 remaining in the third quarter gave the Blue Eagles a 14-7 lead.
The only other score for Magnolia took place midway through the second quarter when quarterback Jacob Brill hit receiver Eric Smith on a fly pattern and a 59-yard touchdown pass.
Kiselica, who plays both soccer and football, added a 24-yard field goal in the third quarter which left Magnolia trailing 10-7. On the eventual game-winning kick, the junior knew if his offense could reach the red zone he felt comfortable from that distance.
“I tried to stay calm,” Kiselica admitted. “I do that every day in practice and that’s what we practiced all summer for. We have a great coaching staff and they’ve been preparing me for that.
“I was just so happy when I made that last kick.”