Cats don’t want to be Hawks’ prey

Paul Adkins Sports Editor

October 2, 2013

The Logan High School football team doesn’t want to be prey for the University Hawks in two weeks.

That’s why the Wildcats will be using their bye week this week very wisely.

It’s a chance to heal up some bumps and bruises, do some scouting and get ready for the Morgantown area powerhouse.

Logan is currently 4-1 and ranked this week No. 12 in Class AAA, moving up from 18th following last week’s 27-16 victory at county rival Chapmanville — a game which secured the Logan County championship for the Wildcats.

University comes in at 4-1 after destroying a young Parkersburg South team, 56-14, last Friday night. The Hawks are ranked No. 9 in the state in this week’s ratings.

Logan coach Gary Mullins said it’s good to have extra time to prepare for the Hawks, one of four new teams added to the Cats’ schedule this season.

“We took Monday off and they we’re going to come back to practice on Tuesday just like it’s a regular week of practice,” Mullins said. “We’re just going to try to get better. We’re going to prepare for University some but we’re more going to be correcting some of the things that we have been doing wrong.”

Mullins said he’s pleased his team is 4-1 heading into the bye week. Logan is in the top 16 and hope to qualify for the Class AAA playoffs at season’s end. Logan has made it to the post-season four times under Coach Mullins but just missed last year with a 7-3 mark and No. 17 ranking.

“We knew that we had to be 4-1 at the worst at the end of five games,” Mullins said. “We’ve given us a chance that the rest of the season will mean something. It also helps that we are getting some bonus points because the teams that we beat are getting wins. We’re number 12 in the rankings. We just want to make sure that we’re in the top 16 on November the 9th.”

University’s lone defeat this season was a 17-6 setback on Sept. 20 at 3A Wheeling Park. The Hawks won 28-7 at Lewis County in the opener, then won 63-0 at home over Buckhannon-Upshur and took a 44-21 victory at Brooke on Sept. 13.

Last week, the Hawks feasted on the 1-4 Parkersburg South Patriots.

University, which goes to Greenbrier East — Logan’s homecoming opponent this season — this Friday night, wasted little time in getting on the scoreboard last week as Jack Armstrong returned a punt 72 yards for a touchdown to make it 7-0.

The Hawks then made it 28-0 at the half with three more scores.

The first was on a 15-yard TD run by Jase Neville. Then, senior quarterback Travis Renner hit Armstrong with a 15-yard TD pass for a 21-0 lead. The lead swelled to 28-0 as Armstrong intercepted a South pass and Renner later scored on a 27-yard touchdown run.

University upped the lead to 42-0 with a 3-yard TD run by R.J. Martin and a 1-yard run by Dylan Cole.

The Hawks scored another defensive touchdown in the fourth quarter on Isiah Utt’s 4-yard fumble return. Jeremy Hunter then put the icing on the cake late in the game with a 26-yard touchdown run.

University’s bread-and-butter is its running game. Against South, the Hawks rolled up 313 yards and six rushing touchdowns.

“We know that they have a bunch of athletes,” Mullins said. “They are very well coached as well. They play really hard and they have a tough schedule. We’re trying to gather some information on them and we’ll get to go watch them play on Friday night at Greenbrier East. That will give us a good opportunity to see what they have against another team that we will be seeing down the road. It’s going to be a big game for us in two weeks.”

University, coached by John Kelley, went 8-3 last year and lost 24-23 to Lewis County in the first round of the playoffs. The Hawks are 52-19 over the last six seasons, going 11-2 in both the 2008 and 2009 football campaigns and reaching the 3A semifinals.

Mullins said it will be a very long six-hour trip to the Morgantown area next week.

“We’re going to be leaving very early that day on Friday and we’re going to go walk through somewhere and take them out to eat,” he said. “It will be a long day but it will be an exciting one. It will give our kids a chance to showcase their talent ability and we’ll be able to play in a part of the state where they might not have seen us very much.”

Mullins said the middle of the season is the best spot for an open date.

“I think it’s about perfect for us,” he said. “It gives us some time to heal up and to regroup. Football season is starting to close down on us. There’s only 38 or 39 days left until we play Scott. The season is slipping away so you have to take advantage of every opportunity you can get.”

In last week’s game, Logan was able to bounce back at Chapmanville. The week before the Wildcats lost at home to Point Pleasant.

The Wildcats led 27-0 at halftime and then coasted.

Logan rushed for 287 yards on 39 carries as freshman quarterback Noah Corbett was 7-for-12 passing for 84 yards and two TDs. Worm Street led Logan’s rushing attack last week as he ran for 130 yards on just seven carries. He raced for 86 yards on one play from the Logan 1-yard line and appeared to be going in for a 99-yard score but pulled up lame with a pulled hamstring. The Wildcats hope his injury heals in enough time for the University game.

Matt Cox added another 77 yards on the ground — mostly in the second half — as Street sat out. Tyler Vernatter had 58 yards rushing.

Josh Rein led Logan’s receivers with three catches for 34 yards.

On the season, Corbett is 27-for-46 passing for 375 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions. Junior Ryan Miller has also played some at quarterback and is 11-for-22 passing for 251 yards with three TDs.

Street has 47 carries for 498 yards and five touchdowns in four games. He missed the Shady Spring game due to an injured hand and missed the second half of last week’s contest at Chapmanville.

Vernatter has 35 rushes for 216 yards and five TDs on the season. Cox has ran for 226 yards on 25 carries and three touchdowns.

Rein leads the Wildcat receiving corps with 21 catches for 360 yards and five scores. Brett Musick, a senior wideout, has seven grabs for 81 yards.

Daniel Hanks has been solid as Logan’s kicker as he is 16-for-20 on extra point kicks this season. He’s 0-for-1 in field goal attempts.

On defense, Clayton Marcum and Stephen Dilley lead Logan with 34 tackles each. Jacob Browning has 33 tackles, while Vernatter has 31 and Tyler Workman and A.J. Grimmett have 26 each. Preston Hepler has 20 stops and Musick 19.

Grimmett leads Logan in sacks with four. Cox has two.

Workman has five pass breakups. Marcum has four.

Workman also leads in interceptions with three. Musick had two.

Eight different Cats have fumble recoveries.

Dilly leads Logan with two caused fumbles. Chris Browning also has a blocked punt while Tyler Workman and Vernatter each have a tackle for safety.