With a difficult schedule ahead, the Logan High School football team has no margin of error.
After last week’s 18-13 season opening loss at Class A county rival Man, the Triple-A Wildcats need a win.
They will look for it on Friday night at Shady Spring, a team which went to Princeton last week and were blanked 48-0 by the Tigers.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at the Shady Spring High School football field.
The Wildcats (0-1) have now lost eight straight games going back to last season. Logan, which was 2-8 last year, beat Shady 33-13 at home and have beaten the Tigers in each of the last four seasons.
Logan coach Gary Mullins said his team will still be in for a tough battle against the Tigers despite Shady’s score last week against Princeton.
“They run just about anything that you can imagine,” Mullins said. “They do reverses and they throw the ball a whole lot and throw screens. You just don’t know what is coming. They definitely played one of the better teams last week. They had the ball inside the red zone against them four or five times but just couldn’t get any points out of it.”
Shady Spring runs the spread offense with quarterback Jarod Cline. It didn’t work out that well last week against Princeton, which sacked Cline three times. Cline also tossed two interceptions. Princeton also broke up a pair of would-be deep passes with jarring hits.
“Princeton busted us. They were very aggressive,” Shady Spring coach Vince Culicerto hold the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. “They hit and they hit real well. I could sense early in the ballgame that we didn’t match the physicality of Princeton.”
Shady, which also was 2-8 last season, was held to only 181 yards of total offense in the opener.
The Tigers are looking for improvement this fall.
Shady Spring last tasted success in 2011 with a 12-1 record and Class AA state semifinalist season. Shady went 5-5 in 2012, 1-9 in 2013 and 2-8 last year.
“We’ve been rebuilding,” Culicerto said. “Had that big (senior) class three years ago, but the last couple we’ve had to play a lot of young guys. Last season our line was upperclassmen, but at all of (skill) spots had brand new guys. They did pretty good, but we still had a lot of rebuilding to do.”
In addition to Cline, other top Shady players include: junior running and speedster back Keith Sexton; senior slotback Chase DeMoss; junior fullback Shade White; wideouts Jonathan Salyers and Chase Harper; center Jacob Cruise; tackles Garrett Cantley and Corey Handy; and offensive guards Isaac Smith and Jacob Hartsog.
Mullins said Logan’s defense must be ready for whatever Shady’s offense throws at them.
“We hope our defense continues to improve,” he said. “We thought they played really well last Friday night and gave us an opportunity to win the game. We need them to keep improving because this is going to be a big test for them. There will be a lot of balls in the air as opposed to last week.”
Logan was led last week by senior running back Matthew Cox, who had 18 rushes for 124 yards and two TDs. Devonte Tolliver was held to nine rushes for 11 yards. QB Alex Toler, making his first start under center, had two rushes for 20 yards. Toler was 4-for-14 passing for 28 yards and two interceptions.
Man’s defense held Logan to just 130 yards of total offense. The Cats also turned it over three times.
“We weren’t very good offensively last week,” Coach Mullins said. “Our defense gave us an opportunity to win the ballgame. We had four or five opportunities to score but didn’t score on any of those. If it weren’t for Matthew last week we would have been in a world of hurt. He definitely played a great game but sometimes it seemed like he was the only guy out there.”
Cox and Daniel Browning led Logan with eight tackles each on defense. Devin Hensley had seven stops, while Jamal Minter had six tackles. Hensley and Browning each had a fumble caused. Browning, Tolliver and Minter each recovered a fumble.
Like Logan, Shady Spring has a female player with kicker Abigail Gwinn, a standout in soccer and basketball. Logan’s female player is senior lineman Hannah Runyon.
“Abby’s dad was an all-state kicker at Meadow Bridge,” Culicerto said. “She came out one day, started kicking it around and looked pretty good. We brought her back and had her work with some coaches. She’s drilling them now. The 40 boys and one girl I have out, after coming off couple of tough seasons, are working hard for Shady Spring. That’s commendable, no doubt about it. We tell them that every day. They’re busting their cans every day. Football is a tough sport, but they want to play and try to win.”
Mullins reports no major injuries for Friday night’s game and the Cats should be a full strength.
“As far as I know we’re good,” he said. “As of now I don’t know of anybody that will be out.”
Logan has outscored Shady 130-20 in the last four meetings.
Football Friday Night
WHAT: Logan (0-1) at Shady Spring (0-1)
WHEN: Friday night, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Shady Spring High School football field, Shady Spring, W.Va.
SURFACE: Natural grass
LAST WEEK: Logan lost 18-13 at Man … Shady Spring lost 48-0 at Princeton.
RADIO: WVOW 101.9 FM, Logan, W.Va.
INTERNET STREAM: www.loganwildcats.tv.
Logan vs. Shady Spring
Football Series Last 10 years
(Logan leads 4-0)
2014: Logan 33, Shady Spring 13
2013: Logan 39, Shady Spring 0
2012: Logan 33, Shady Spring 7
2011: Logan 25, Shady Spring 0
(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).