Year in and year out the Logan High School football team plays a difficult schedule.
This year is no exception.
The Wildcats, though, are focused on their season opener – Aug. 28 at home against arch rival Man.
“We always have a tough schedule. We open up with Man,” Logan coach Gary Mullins said. “They believe that they will be able to compete for a state championship. In Single-A, they are going to be able to compete every year. They are a good football team. They are very physical and as far as I am concerned they have the best quarterback around in John Thomas Keffer. He’s as good as there is. That’s going to present problems for us for sure.”
New to Logan’s schedule this fall are games against Oak Hill, Sissonville and John Marshall.
Logan’s home opener on its new Field Turf is set for Week 4.
Point Pleasant, Logan’s home opening opponent, is a preseason No. 7 team in the state. Point routed the Cats 63-8 last season.
“They are very good and ranked in the top 10 in the state,” Mullins said about the Big Blacks. “We also have Greenbrier East and they are very fast. We played them in 7-on-7. John Marshall is new. We don’t know a lot about them but I watched their highlights and I know that they are going to be pretty good. Sissonville is a good Cardinal Conference team and Scott always seems to give us trouble. We have a great relationship with them and it’s always a hard fought game. It won’t be any different this year.”
Only three of Logan’s games (Lincoln County, Shady Spring and Sissonville) will be played on natural grass this season. Away games at Man and Chapmanville will be on Field Turf as well as Logan’s five home games.
Logan’s Field Turf was laid down last week.
Some work still remains, such as sewing in the white yard line numbers on the field as well as the Logan “L” at the 50-yard line, and the words “Logan” and “Wildcats” in the two blue end zones.
Dirt and rubber pelletes still have to be filtered into the artificial surface as well.
CRHS special teams
The Chapmanville Regional High School football team looks to be solid this season in the special teams.
It could be a one-man show in the Tigers’ kicking game with Tanner Dillon, who may handle all of Chapmanville’s punting and kicking duties.
Last season, Dillon punted 29 times for an average of 31.4 yards per boot.
“Our kicker and our punter is Tanner Dillon,” Chapmanville coach George Barker said. “He’s been doing it for us for years. He does a great job. He’s got a good, strong leg.”
Chapmanville always went for the two-point conversion after scoring TD’s last year. In fact, Dillon did not attempt a single extra point and was 0-for-1 in field goal attempts with a 38-yard miss in the Man game.
That could change this season.
“You may see us kick a field goal or two this year,” Barker said.
With Dillon and the new Chapmanville artificial turf, the Tigers’ kicking game could be very good. With a solid footing on the new turf, there will be no worries about slipping plant foots on muddy and slippery fields.
“I think it will improve our kicking game with the turf,” Barker said. “But right now with our situation, we don’t have a really good way of practicing it until it is done. It’s hard to practice special teams on half of a field. We work on special teams daily but you need that whole field. Andy Bias will probably do the long snapping,” Barker said. “We have Noah Dingess and Ryan Craddock backing him up. Austin Butcher will probably be our backup kicker.”
New Man RB’s
Man High School will be looking for new running backs to carry the load this fall after the graduations of Neil Mullins and Mikle Scott Rowe.
To replace Mullins and Rowe at running back Man has plenty of candidates, including senior Jace Duba (5-10, 197), who ran for 129 yards on 34 carries and scored two touchdowns last year. In the Van game, he had 21 rushes for 120 yards and the two scores.
Jake Frye (5-10, 231), a junior, who ran for 149 yards on 29 carries and had an 83-yard game against Van, also returns at running back.
“Duba and Frye have run the ball well at practice,” Arms said. “We don’t have what you call break-away speed but they are good running backs. All of our running backs have run hard, they pick up the holes, make good cuts and have been tough and physical. That’s what we need them to be.”
Five sets of brothers
The CRHS football team has five sets of brothers on the roster with Jacob and Noah Dingess, Sam and Ryan Craddock, Kelton and Treven McNeely, Will and Robert Seigman and Alex and Philip Oxley.
Logan High School has a female on its football team with Hannah Runyon, a senior lineman.
Runyon was featured in a story last week in The Logan Banner.
On Friday, WOWK TV-13 came down to Logan Stadium to interview Runyon.
Runyon said she’s always loved football.
“This is what I want to do, and if I’m going to do it, why should they have me over there doing girl push-ups instead of regular push-ups?” she told TV-13.
Runyon said she used to play soccer but wanted to try something different and give the male-dominated sport of football a try.
As a result, she gets lots bruises.
“It’s fun. It’ll make me better,” she said.
Runyon said other girls should give it a try.
“Don’t be scared. It’s not that difficult. As long as you put your heart into it, you can do it,” she said. “I got knocked down a few times. It hurt my pride a little bit. But, I just got back up and tried again.”
Runyon said she plans on attending West Virginia University next year where she wants to study psychology.
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached at 304-752-6950 ext. 1730, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).