By Paul Adkins Sports Editor
November 17, 2013
POINT PLEASANT — Gary Mullins put Logan High School football on the map.
In 10 years, the Wildcats didn’t just hope to make it to the playoffs.
They expected it.
But on Friday night at Point Pleasant, Logan played in their fifth and final playoff game under Mullins, the 10th-year Wildcats’ head coach.
It didn’t end well as Class AAA No. 13 Logan closed out its season at 7-4 with a 41-14 loss at No. 4 seed and unbeaten Point Pleasant (11-0) on a rainy and chilly night at Point Pleasant High School’s Ohio Valley Bank Track and Field.
Mullins took Logan to five out of the school’s six all time playoff appearances but appears to be stepping away from coaching — at least for now.
A few weeks ago, Mullins said he would be resigning at season’s end. Only in his 30s and still young, Mullins said he isn’t ruling out coming back to coaching at some point but said in the immediate future he would be putting down the headsets.
Mullins closed out his decadelong tenure at Logan with a 50-55 overall record and 0-5 mark in the post-season.
The Wildcats have never been able to get over the proverbial playoff hump but Logan has enjoyed much success over the years under Mullins, who had rebuilt the LHS football program from the bottom up.
Mullins is very well liked, a good football coach, a Christian family man and many are sad to see him go.
Coach Mullins’ Wildcats faced a tough opponent on Friday night in the Point Pleasant Big Blacks — a team Logan lost to 37-21 earlier in the season at home.
Point led 14-0 after one quarter, 21-7 at the half and then put the Cats away in the final two quarters.
Point Pleasant shined in all three phases of the game, particularly in the opening moments of the contest. The defense recovered a fumble and returned it to the house for an early 7-0 lead, then the Wildcats had a pair of bad snaps on consecutive punt attempts — which resulted in a pair of PPHS possessions inside Logan territory.
That set the tone for the game as the Big Blacks moved on to a Class AAA second-round home playoff contest against Wheeling Park (10-1), which was a 55-34 winner over South Charleston on Friday.
The Big Blacks are now 28-3 all-time at OVB Field and handed Logan its sixth straight playoff defeat. Point Pleasant also won its first 3A playoff game since 1979 and improved to 5-10 overall in 15 post-season games.
Mistake-prone Logan, however, had a few highlights. Junior quarterback Ryan Miller fired a 45-yard touchdown pass to senior Clayton Marcum at the 10:03 mark of the second quarter to cut Point’s lead to 14-7 after the Daniel Hanks PAT.
Miller was 9-for-21 passing for 148 yards with a TD and an interception.
Logan senior running back Bryden “Worm” Street added a 2-yard TD run in the second half for the Wildcats’ only other score. Street rushed 17 times for 125 yards and finished the season with 167 carries for 1,444 yards and 14 touchdowns.
“I thought Ryan Miller played extremely well,” Mullins said. “He stood in the pocket and trusted the linemen around him. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
Point Pleasant coach Dave Darst said he was happy to advance in the playoffs.
“That was a tremendous effort out of our kids tonight. Offensively, what can I say except that I don’t know if I’ve ever seen our running game move the way that it is right now. Our young linemen have really grown up,” Darst said. “Defensively, we played well again tonight. Logan has a pretty good running back over there and we gave up a couple of big plays, but when you only give up 14 points in a playoff game … that’s doing a good job. We’re very excited about this win and we have another game next week at home to get ready for. We’re excited about the next challenge.”
Mullins said the better team won.
“We’re real frustrated because it’s not like they surprised us,” Mullins said. “They are just better than us and they made a lot of big plays. They are very opportunistic.”
Point Pleasant finished the night with a sizable 444-286 overall edge in yards of total offense, including a whopping 374-138 advantage in rushing yards.
Senior Tyler Vernatter had three rushes for six yards for Logan. Miller had one five-yard carry, while Marcum ran once for two yards.
Senior wide receiver Josh Rein reeled in four passes for 42 yards and had a kick return for 60 yards. Street had two catches for 59 yards. Marcum had three grabs for 57 yards, including the touchdown.
The Big Blacks also claimed a 23-11 overall edge in first downs and finished the evening plus-1 in turnover differential.
Cody Mitchell led the Big Black rushing attack with 141 yards and two scores on 26 carries, followed by Chase Walton with 136 yards and two scores on 21 attempts. Cody Marcum chipped in 35 yards on five rushes as well.
Point Pleasant quarterback Aden Yates was 7-for-10 passing for 70 yards with one TD and no picks. Walton also attempted two failed passes, including a Hail Mary interception right before the half. Yates also rushed for 12 yards on three carries.
Walton led the Point wideouts with three catches for 29 yards and a score, followed by Brian Gibbs with one catch for 23 yards.
Mitchell had the Big Blacks’ lone interception of the night on a deflected pass late in the second quarter. Colin Peal was also a perfect 5-for-5 on extra-point kicks. Logan kicker Hanks was a perfect 2-for-2.
Logan fumbled the ball away on its first possession as Point’s Jon Peterson scooped up the ball and returned it 56 yards for a touchdown to make it 7-0 with 9:27 to go in the opening stanza.
The Wildcats drove the ball on its next possession but a bad snap was fumbled by punter Hanks resulting in a loss of downs. The bad snap bugaboo also was very damaging in the previous loss this season to Point Pleasant at home as two miscues led to two Big Black scores in the late September game at Logan.
Point Pleasant capitalized 10 plays later with Walton’s 1-yard TD plunge to make it 14-0 at the 2:41 mark of the first period.
The Wildcats went three-and-out on its next drive but another special teams disaster on yet another bad snap to the punter put Point in business deep in Logan territory at the 19-yard line.
Point’s drive was stopped at the 5 as the Big Blacks were thrown for a 3-yard loss by the Cats on a fourth-and-goal play at the 2.
After the Miller-to-Marcum TD pass Logan cut it to 14-7.
Point, however, struck right back with a Mitchell 6-yard touchdown run with 5:12 left until halftime to make it 21-7. The Big Blacks would go into the locker room up two scores and feeling pretty good.
Each teams intercepted each other just before the half.
“That was the perfect start for us, and we’ve pretty much done that all year,” Darst said. “Our kids have been very opportunistic on defense, and it’s really set the tone for what we’ve done all year long.”
The Big Blacks upped their lead to 27-7 with 7:39 left in the third quarter with Mitchell’s 1-yard TD run.
Logan countered with a seven-play, 72-yard scoring drive that ended with a 2-yard TD run by Street at the 4:49 mark, making it a 27-14 contest late in the third quarter.
The Wildcats would come no closer.
That’s because Point Pleasant answered with an 80-yard drive and TD pass from Yates to Walton to make it a 34-14 ballgame with 11:19 left in the fourth.
Point Pleasant would score once more with a 19-yard Walton touchdown run with 7:39 left to make it 41-14.
Point Pleasant now shifts its focus to Wheeling Park.
“We’re expecting the biggest crowd that we’ve ever had here next week. We’re going to have an unbelievable football team coming in and it’s going take a tremendous effort for us to get it done,” Darst said. “If we do that, who knows what happens from there.”
Street also led Logan’s defense with 12 total tackles. Jacob Browning had eight, while Rein had seven. Vernatter, Tyler Workman, Stephen Dilly and Preston Hepler had five each. A.J. Grimmett had four stops, while Matt Cox, Marcum and Chris Browning had three tackles each. Kyle Runyon and Jody Butcher had two each. Tyler Vance and Jon Workman had one tackle apiece.
Rein had Logan’s lone interception and also had a pass breakup.
Friday’s game was the final one not only for Coach Mullins but also Logan’s 18 seniors.
Senior lineman Ty Yeager, who broke a leg in last week’s regular season finale win over Scott, watched the game from the LHS sideline.
2013 Logan High School
Football Schedule (7-4):
Aug. 30: at Man, W 40-20
Sept. 6: at Shady Spring, W 39-0
Sept. 13: Lincoln County (Hall of Fame Game), W 51-14
Sept. 20: Point Pleasant, L 21-37
Sept. 27: at Chapmanville, W 27-14
Oct. 4: OPEN DATE
Oct. 11: at University, L 20-49
Oct. 18: Greenbrier East (Homecoming), W 48-29
Oct. 25: at Mingo Central, L 20-26
Nov. 1: Nitro, W 40-14
Nov. 8: Scott (Senior Night), W 42-13
Nov. 15: at Point Pleasant (3A playoffs), L 14-41
The Gary Mullins File:
Year-by-year record at Logan
2013: 7-4 (Lost 41-14 to Point Pleasant in 3A playoffs)
2011: 8-3 (Lost 51-8 to Parkersburg South in 3A playoffs)
2010: 6-5 (Lost 42-8 to George Washington in 3A playoffs)
2007: 6-5 (Lost 55-40 to Berkeley Springs in 2A playoffs)
2005: 5-6 (Lost 66-0 to Weir in 2A playoffs)
TOTAL: 50-55, 0-5 in playoffs
— Bryan Walters of the Point Pleasant News-Register contributed to this report.