Paul Adkins Sports Editor
September 15, 2013
To the superstitious, Friday the 13th can be a very unlucky day.
According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, N.C., an estimated 17 to 21 million people in the United States are affected by a fear of this day.
For those of you scoring at home, the fear of Friday the 13th is known as friggatriskaidekaphobia.
Try saying that three times in row quickly.
Or even once.
For the Lincoln County High School football team, Friday the 13th was a very bad day indeed.
And very ugly to boot.
That’s because the Logan Wildcats crushed the Panthers 51-13 on Friday night in their home opener and Hall of Fame Game.
It wasn’t even that close.
Logan, also with wins over Man (40-20) and Shady Spring (39-0) under its belt, is now 3-0 and awaits 2-0 Point Pleasant in next Friday night’s showdown at Logan. Lincoln County, seemingly headed for yet another disastrous football season, dropped to 0-3.
The final score could have been even more lopsided.
Logan led 51-0 over the Panthers after three quarters of play.
Wildcats’ coach Gary Mullins then pulled his starters, and in some cases, pulled his backups for third-stringers, JV players and all of his freshmen gridders.
Lincoln County ended up breaking Logan’s bid for a second straight shutout by scoring a pair of touchdowns on the Wildcats’ subs in the final minutes of the game.
Logan played the game without starting quarterback Ryan Miller, who hurt his knee in last week’s win at Shady Spring. LHS frosh Noah Corbett started in his place and ended up throwing a pair of touchdown strikes.
All Corbett had to do in the first quarter was take the snap, turn and hand the ball off to Worm Street. The senior dazzled the Logan Football Stadium crowd as he scored three touchdowns on his first three touches as the Wildcats built a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. Street finished with 11 carries for 143 yards.
It was all Logan.
All night long.
Logan 10th-year head coach Gary Mullins seemed pleased with the win. As a football coach you are never satisfied. There are always the upcoming challenges, the next game and the next week ahead but there was very little for Mullins to stew about on Friday night as his team overwhelmed the fellow Class AAA Panthers and improved to 5-1 all-time against LC.
“We played about as good as we could play and executed really well,” Mullins said. “Our offensive line and running backs just dominated. We had eight guys in the box and they had hat on hat and (Tyler) Vernatter had the last block every time. Worm made some great cuts on some of those runs early. Our defense played hard and fast. We got ourselves to the point to where we want to be. It makes for a huge game this coming Friday night.”
Logan’s defense stood tall against Lincoln County’s patented running game, led by tailback Chaz Wiley. The junior had two long TD runs of 70 and 75 yards in the Panthers’ 46-21 loss last week at Scott. On Friday night, there was no room to run as Logan’s defense swarmed to the ball, stacked the line, prevented the big play and dared Panther QB Noah Webb to pass.
It was a defensive game plan masterpiece as the Wildcats sacked Lincoln County for yet another defeat and sent the Panthers back to Hamlin licking their wounds.
“Our linebackers are getting better all the time,” Mullins said. “You knew what you were going to get from Vernatter coming in. But (Stephen) Dilly and Hammer (Jacob Browning) and Tyler Vance really stepped it up. And the way that we play it with Clayton (Marcum) and Tyler Workman, that gives us two more outside linebackers. I think the tone was set early when Dilly made that crushing block on the return play in the middle of the field. That set the tone for the whole team and we just carried on from that throughout the entire game.”
Junior defensive end A.J. Grimmett, a 6-foot-3, 210-pounder, also played well and stuffed the Panther ballcarriers on a number of occasions. He led Logan on defense with 10 tackles and also had two quarterback sacks.
“A.J. played tremendous tonight,” Mullins said. “He’s a quiet kid and you would never know that he could be a football player. He don’t say a word but he works hard. It looked like he dominated the game. It looked like he was in 60 to 70 percent of the tackles. He played a great game.”
Logan set the tone early against the Panthers, holding the LC offense on a three-and-out and then striking gold on its first possession following a good punt return by Clayton Marcum which was aided by a bone-crushing block by Stephen Dilly.
On the second play from scrimmage, Street took a handoff from Corbett and raced 49 yards for a touchdown. The extra point kick by Daniel Hanks was good and the Cats led 7-0 at the 9:19 mark of the first quarter.
Lincoln County’s second drive was another disaster as Logan’s Chris Browning blocked the punt and the Wildcats recovered at the Panther 32-yard line.
Three plays later, Street was in the end zone again on his second carry of the night with a 16-yard touchdown run. Hanks was again good on the PAT as Logan led 14-0 with 5:54 to go in the opening quarter.
Lincoln County drove the ball from its own 38 to the Logan 35 on its next possession but turned the ball over on downs.
The Wildcats then put the hammer down again as Corbett connected with Josh Rein for a 50-yard pass play to the Panther 21.
Two snaps later, Street scored on an 18-yard touchdown run – on his third touch – as Logan upped the margin to 21-0 with 23.9 ticks to go in the opening stanza. Hanks was again true on the extra point kick.
Corbett was intercepted by Wiley at midfield on Logan’s next drive but Lincoln County failed to move the ball and had another three-and-out.
Logan took over on its own 15-yard line after the punt and proceeded to drive 85 yards in seven plays, culminating on Corbett’s 22-yard touchdown pass to Rein which was tipped by Logan’s Tyler Workman in the end zone. Hanks booted the PAT and Logan led 28-0 with 51.3 seconds left until the half.
The Wildcats then outscored Lincoln County 23-0 in the third quarter with a trio of touchdowns and a safety.
The rout was in full swing.
Logan started off the third quarter with an interception as backup QB Hanks was picked off at the LC 20.
The Panthers, though, fumbled the ball back at the 15 as Logan’s Ty Yeager fell on the pigskin.
Three plays later, Vernatter bulldozed in for a 1-yard TD run at the 10:20 mark. Hanks tacked on the extra point kick and the Wildcats led 35-0. The score was set up by Street’s first down run of 14 yards to the 1.
Logan then made it 37-0 with 8:12 left in the third quarter as a high snap went over Lincoln County punter Dustin Wilkerson’s head and into the end zone. Wilkerson recovered the fumble but Logan’s Vernatter and Workman tackled the Panther punter simultaneously in the end zone for a safety.
The Wildcats got the ball back on the free kick and eventually reached pay dirt again as Corbett hit a wide open Marcum, who was lined up as the slot receiver, on an 8-yard scoring strike to the post. Hanks then booted his sixth straight PAT on the night as Logan made it 44-0 with 4:57 left in the third quarter.
“That wasn’t our first play but he saw the pressure inside, flushed and broke the pocket,” Coach Mullins said of Corbett’s TD pass to Marcum. “We thought he was going to run but he planted and fired it in there. He’s going to get better. He looks pretty good for a ninth-grader. When Ryan Miller gets back we’ll have two guys that can play quarterback.”
Then with 2:48 left in the third, Marcum scored his second TD of the night – this one on the defensive side of the ball – as he stripped the ball away from a Panther player and raced 30 yards for another score. Hanks then went 7-for-7 on the night in his point after touchdown kicks as Logan expanded its lead to 51-0.
The Panthers got on the scoreboard finally with 7:09 left in the game as Wiley scored from 3 yards out to make it 51-7.
Lincoln County added another late touchdown to close out the scoring with a minute to go on McGhee’s 6-yard run.
Mullins said it was nice to see so many of his reserves and backup players get a chance to play.
“It’s always nice because those guys work so hard,” Mullins said. “Sometimes it’s hard to get them in on Friday nights. We play 10 JV games but there’s nothing like Friday night football. It’s good that they got out there and got some experience.”
Corbett finished 11-for-18 passing for 143 yards, two TDs and one pick.
Vernatter had six carries for 25 yards. Corbett had two rushes for 22 yards. Cox had three attempts for 17 yards. Tyler Vance and Mark Adams each had a carry for two yards.
Rein reeled in four passes for 89 yards. Brett Musick had one catch for eight yards. Marcum had two catches for 26 yards.
Vernatter finished the game with nine tackles. Marcum had eight, while Preston Hepler and Dilly had six each. Jacob Browning, Tyler Vance and Workman had five apiece, while Kyle Runyon, Chris Browning and Tres Duncan all had four tackles each.
Finishing the game with three each were a host of Wildcats, including Jon Workman, Musick, Street and Yeager. Cox and Hunter Vance each had two tackles. Hanks, Corbett, Chester Bradsher, Andrew Freeman, Jeremiah Spears, Nate Smith, Ryan Ellis and Daniel Browning had one tackle each.
Jacob Browning had two special teams tackles. Hanks, Dilly, Marcum and Vance had one each.
Cox also had a sack in the game. Workman also had a pass breakup. Vance had an on-side kick recovery.
In addition to going 7-for-7 in PAT’s Hanks also boomed one kickoff for a touchback.
* Logan now turns its attention to this coming Friday night’s home showdown with Point Pleasant. The Big Blacks, which had a seamless transition to Class AAA ball last season and made it to the playoffs a year after reaching the Double-A state championship game in 2011, were idle this week and come into the game with a 2-0 mark.
* Coach Mullins said starting QB Ryan Miller could be well enough to play this week against Point.
“He thinks that he could be available to play and I’m sure that he’s going to work as hard as he can to get out there,” Mullins said. “It’s a tough opponent but we’re so happy to be 3-0. We really need a lot of fans out here to help us for sure.”
* The Wildcats are off to a 3-0 start for the fourth season in a row.
“We’ve been 3-0 for four straight years but we haven’t been able to get the fourth one,” Mullins said. “Perry County beat us and we had them. Johnson Central beat us and we had them here. And then Johnson Central beat us here last year. Here is our fourth shot at it and we are going to do everything that we can to win. We’re excited that football means so much in the fourth game of the year. This will be one of the biggest games in the state this week.”
* Logan starting lineman Preston Hepler left Friday’s game with an injured knee. He sat on the Logan bench with his knee iced and taped but was still very vocal in cheering on his team.
“He was walking around some after the game,” Mullins of Hepler. “The trainers said it was tight and we hope to have him because he is a dominating force out there for us.”
* Logan recognized its Hall of Fame Class of 2013 before the game. Honored were Greg Bartram, Melissa Albright-Fannin, Alex Sabo, Wayne Eric Wagner and the late Whitey Estep.
Bartram led the Logan basketball team to a 25-1 record and No. 16 national ranking in 1990 before playing collegiately at Penn State.
Albright-Fannin was a member of Logan High School’s 29-0 state championship softball team in 1986. The state title was the school’s first in girls’ softball.
* Logan football players wore yellow socks in honor of Childhood Cancer Month. Recognized before the game was Logan football player and sophomore Skyler Miller, who has battled leukemia.
* Also honored before the game was senior player Tyler Vernatter who was recognized last week as the West Virginia statewide AARP Scholar Athlete of the Week.
2013 Logan High School
Football Schedule (3-0):
Aug. 30: at Man, W 40-20
Sept. 6: at Shady Spring, W 39-0
Sept. 13: Lincoln County (Hall of Fame Game), W 51-13
Sept. 20: Point Pleasant, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 27: at Chapmanville, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 4: OPEN DATE
Oct. 11: at University, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 18: Greenbrier East (Homecoming), 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 25: at Mingo Central, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 1: Nitro, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 8: Scott (Senior Night), 7:30 p.m.