SHADY SPRING – It was a night of overcoming adversity for the Logan High School football team.
The Wildcats overcame and passed the test on Friday night as Logan traveled to Shady Spring and blanked the Tigers 39-0 to improve to 2-0 on the season.
It marked the second straight year Logan had beaten Shady.
Logan played the game without senior starting tailback and safety Brynden “Worm” Street, who has an injured hand. The Wildcats then lost starting junior quarterback Ryan Miller in the second quarter due to a knee injury. In the second half, starting running back and linebacker Tyler Vernatter left the game with a high ankle sprain.
None of the injuries appearred to be serious.
That’s good news for the Wildcats which will look to go 3-0 next week as Lincoln County comes to Logan for the Cats’ home opener and Hall of Fame Game.
The Logan football was playing Friday night’s game with heavy hearts as it lost two of its former players this week in the span of three days.
Former Logan football player and all-state baseball standout Markie Dowden passed away on Monday at the age of 31. Then on Thursday, another ex-Wildcat gridder, Cornelius Godfrey, was killed in a tragic motorcycle accident in Columbus Ohio. Godfrey, also a state wrestling champion at Logan, was just 25-years-old.
Tyler Workman, normally No. 11 for Logan, wore Godfrey’s No. 29 against Shady Spring. Dowden wore No. 28 at Logan but that number is occupied by LHS sophomore player Skyler Miller, who has been battling leukemia.
“We would like to dedicate this game to Markie Dowden and Cornelius Godfrey,” Logan coach Gary Mullins said after the game. “Both were Wildcat football players. They played the game for us the way that we all want to play it. Tyler wore number 29 tonight and had a couple of interceptions there it was kind of fitting. Normally we would have had Markie’s 28 out there but that number has special meaning for us this year because that’s Skyler Miller’s number. We just want to say that we are praying for those families and we love them and we’re going to miss them.”
Vernatter scored on two touchdown runs for Logan. His first score, at the 2:15 mark of the first quarter on a 7-yard run, put the Wildcats on top 6-0.
Miller then fired a 20-yard touchdown pass to Brett Musick in the second quarter to make it 13-0 Logan at the half. Daniel Hanks split the uprights on the extra point kick.
Following Miller’s injury, freshman Noah Corbett stepped in for Logan at quarterback and did a fine job in his varsity debut.
The Wildcats got the second half jump-started with Clayton Marcum’s 70-yard kickoff return. Just a few moments later, Vernatter punched in his second touchdown of the night from 1 yard out to push the Logan lead to 19-0.
Corbett then recorded his first ever varsity touchdown pass with a 20-yard strike to Josh Rein in the third quarter. Corbett ran in for the two-point conversion as the Wildcats increased their lead to 27-0.
Still in the third, Matthew Cox reached the end zone on a 54-yard touchdown burst to make it a 33-0 ballgame.
Logan scored one more time in the fourth quarter as senior Tyler Vance raced in for a 16-yard touchdown to finish off the scoring at 39-0.
Mullins said his team was able to rally around the injuries and other players stepped in to fill the void.
“We rallied around the injuries,” he said. “Football is a violent game and you are going to have injuries. I was glad to see our guys step up and not put their heads down. The next guy stepped in there and did the right thing.”
Mullins said Street, Vernatter and Miller will likely be OK to play in Week 3.
“Worm was available tonight but his hand is still banged up pretty good,” he said. “We didn’t want to put him out there unless we had to. It looks like Ryan Miller just sprained his knee. There was a lot of holes out there on that field. It’s probably the most dangerous field that I’ve ever been on. He stepped in one of the holes, planted and his knee twisted. Tyler has a slight high ankle sprain. I think that all of those guys will be back and ready to play next Friday night.”
Mullins had praise for Corbett, who stepped in nicely for Logan at quarterback in Miller’s absence. Corbett had played well for Logan Middle School and gave Wildcat football fans a glimpse of what was to come in the preseason as he ran for a 65-yard touchdown against Tug Valley back on Aug. 17.
“He’s been with us since he was about 6 years old,” Mullins said of Corbett. “His dad is around and he ran our system in Midget League Football. I can remember when Coach Corbett was running that system in Midget League and people were making fun of Noah because he was getting killed. Those people are probably not laughing anymore because Noah knows our offense so well since his dad put it in when he was 10 and 11 years old. Our offensive line did a good job for him and when you are not getting touched you feel like you can do the things that he did out there.”
Mullins said Cox also did a good job in a reserve role at running back. He finished the game with eight rushes for 105 yards.
“Matthew is very explosive,” he said. “He had a great camp and battled Worm the whole way for the job. Worm was out with the injured hand and Matt and Clayton stepped in there and did a good job. When somebody gets hurt you have to go to the next guy.”
Mullins said he was glad to see his backups come into the game and contribute. It will most likely make the Wildcats a better team in the long run.
“It’s tough (when there are injuries) and we try to get them ready at practice and give them a lot of reps,” Mullins said. “Noah battled for the job. We named the starter on the Thursday before the Man game. Noah was fighting for the job up until that point.”
Had it not been for the injury Mullins said Vernatter was on his way for a very big night.
“Vernatter was on his way to a huge night,” Mullins said. “He was the toughest man out there. It stinks that he had to get that ankle injury because I think he was going to have a four or five touchdown night if it hadn’t been for that.”
Despite dominating the first half the Wildcats led just 13-0 at the half.
“We fumbled the ball in the first half and we felt like we should have had three or four scores,” Mullins said. “We just kept fighting and we played through the injuries. We knew that injures could happen in football. Noah did a good job of stepping in there and our O-line and defense played well.”
Mullins said his team must be execute better, especially with power teams like University waiting in the wings on the schedule.
“We came out playing hard and hitting hard but we were not sharp and we were not executing,” Mullins said. “We were dropping passes that we never have and we weren’t playing our A game. If we don’t come out playing our A game against some of the teams that we are going to play we will be so far behind at halftime that it won’t matter.”
Vernatter was also named as this week’s AARP Scholar Athlete of the Week. After the game, he was the special radio and streaming internet guest on High School Game Night with Fred Persinger. Vernatter has a 3.80 GPA.
Shady Spring dropped to 0-2 on the season with the loss. The Tigers were trounced 69-0 in their opener at Princeton. With the shutout to the Wildcats, Shady has been outscored 108-0 in two games.
Miller was 2-for-2 passing for 29 yards and one score before leaving the game. Corbett was 7-for-11 in the air for 66 yards and a score. Combined the two were 9-of-13 for 95 yards and two TDs.
Logan rushed 37 times for 329 yards and finished with 424 yards of total offense. Shady Spring was held to 132 yards of total offense. The Tigers had 93 net yards rushing on 29 carries and completed 6-of-15 passes for 39 yards and three interceptions.
Vernatter had eight carries for 71 yards and the two scores for the game. Clayton Marcum had four rushes for 44 yards, while Vance had three attempts for 27 yards and a TD. Corbett had six tries for 27 yards, while Miller had two carries for 26 yards before leaving. Mark Adams had two rushes for five yards. Daniel Browning and Tres Duncan each had 12 yards on the ground on two totes.
Rein reeled in five catches for 57 yards and a TD. Musick had three grabs for 38 yards and a score. Marcum had one catch for two yards.
On defense, Stephen Dilley paced the Wildcats with 10 tackles.
Jacob Browning had seven tackles, while Marcum had six and Tyler Workman five. Vernatter had four stops, while Ty Yeager, Kyle Runyon and Duncan had two each. Corbett, Chris Browning and Musick had two stops apiece. A.J. Grimmett, Jon Workman, Cox, Hanks, Gavin Ellis, Daniel Miller and Chester Bradsher all had one tackle.
Corbett, Duncan, Tyler Workman, Hanks, Chris Browning and Dilly all had a special teams tackle.
Tyler Workman had two interceptions on defense. Musick had one pick.
Vernatter and Duncan each caused a fumble. Jacob Browning and Hunter Vance had one fumble recovery each. Tyler Workman and Browning both had pass breakups.
Tyler Hanson ran seven times for 53 yards and Jonathan Hardy 19 for 47 for the Tigers.
Logan shifts focus to this Friday night’s home opener and Hall of Fame Game against Lincoln County. The Class AAA Panthers are 0-2 after falling 46-21 to Scott on Friday night. The Panthers had two long touchdown runs of 70 and 80 yards against the Skyhawks.
LHS hammered Lincoln County 48-0 last year at Hamlin, rushing for 304 yards and passing for an equal 304 yards during the rout.
“Derek Christian is a great coach,” Mullins said of Lincoln County. “He played at West Virginia and he led St. Albans to the state championship in a short time. There’s not going to be an easy one for us. We’ll have to prepare and have our A game if we want to go 3-0 next week.”
2013 Logan High School
Football Schedule (2-0):
Aug. 30: at Man, W 40-20
Sept. 6: at Shady Spring, W 39-0
Sept. 13: Lincoln County (Hall of Fame Game), 7:30 p.m.
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.