WILLIS — Magnolia used a balanced offense and got back in the win column Friday night with a 42-13 win over Willis at Berton A. Yates Stadium.
The Bulldogs remain at least tied for fourth place in District 8-5A (Div. I) with the result while the Wildkats have dropped four straight games dating back to Sept. 13 and are winless in district play.
Bulldogs first-year head coach Craig Martin was looking forward to seeing how his team could respond off a tough loss against Lufkin last week where they led in the fourth quarter..
“We really did talk about last week and trying to put a whole game together,” he said. “I still don’t think that we’ve done that. But we went back to work and focused on us and not worry about what others do and that stuff.”
For Willis, it’s just a matter to continue working hard and improving.
“We just told them to keep fighting,” Willis coach Michael Wall said afterwards. “I do see improvement from week-to-week and even from year-to-year. Last year, this game was 70-15. I just encourage them to keep going, pull together. How many more opportunities do we have to be together as a team and for the seniors, how many more they have here at Yates? They do care about each other and I hope they continue to pull together, fight for each other and do good things.”
Magnolia (4-2, 2-1) scored four times in the first half to lead 28-7 at the break.
All three of junior quarterback Travis Moore’s first-half touchdown receptions went to someone named ‘Ben’.
Senior Ben Renfro caught one for 31 yards down the middle of the field with 1:21 left in the first quarter. He also had a 29-yard touchdown reception on a similar route down the middle of the field at the 9:38 mark in the second quarter. Renfro caught a pass up the right sideline and sprinted around multiple Wildkat defenders to make it 35-13 at the 8:50 mark.
The University of Utah commit totaled 200 yards on 11 receptions.
“Ben was obviously a part of several big plays,” Martin said.
Junior Ben Coligan was on the receiving end of Moore’s third touchdown of the night. The tight end caught a 3-yard pass on the left to give the Bulldogs a three-touchdown lead.
Junior rusher Mitch Hall, the district’s top rusher coming into the week, had Magnolia’s first touchdown in the first quarter on a 15-yard run.
Willis (1-5, 0-3) went to senior Garrett Collum for its first-half touchdown. Collum first caught a 29-yard Steele Bardwell pass before the first quarter expired.
On the very first play of the second quarter, Collum had a long 27-yard grab up the right sideline and he reached the ball over the pylon before a Magnolia defender could push him away for the touchdown.
Collum and the Wildkats scored to open the second half. This time Bardwell connected with Collum at the back of the end zone to make it 28-13 after a missed 2-point attempt.
Collum finished with 77 yards while Josh King had 60.
“Garrett Collum had a nice game tonight and really did some good things,” Wall said. “Josh continues to play tough. We had a couple big ones go through our hands and a fumble when we had some momentum.”
Bardwell was 15-for-29 for 190 yards.
Ethan McEntire, who took most of the second-half carries after Hall left with an injury, scored on a 1-yard push up the middle with 3:06 left in the game. He finished with 101 yards on 22 carries.
Moore was 20-for-31 for 310 yards.
Magnolia travels to College Station next Friday while Willis makes the short trip down Interstate 45 to play Caney Creek at Moorhead Stadium. Both games kick off at 7:30 p.m.