As bad as last year’s Logan-Point Pleasant game was for the Wildcats the Wayne Pioneers were beat down by the Big Blacks even worse last week.
By one more point.
Point Pleasant (3-0), ranked No. 4 in the state in this week’s Class AAA media poll and No. 6 in the SSAC ratings, destroyed Wayne 64-8 last week to stay unbeaten.
Point beat Logan 63-8 in last year’s meeting.
The Wildcats (2-1), which won 44-12 at Lincoln County last week and have reeled off two straight victories, hope for a better showing this time against the Big Blacks.
Logan and Point are set to meet on Friday night at 7:30 in the Cats’ home opener. It will be Logan’s annual Hall of Fame Game and first ever varsity football contest on the new Logan Stadium Field Turf.
LHS comes in at No. 12 in the state in this week’s SSAC ratings.
Logan coach Gary Mullins said Point, obviously, is very good again and his team must put up a better fight than it did last year.
“We knew going into the season that they are the best team on our schedule,” Mullins said of the Big Blacks. “We’re going to have to play our best game in order to be in it. This is the kind of game that you should love to play in. These are the games that are exciting and that you get up for. I want to show that we can play better than we did last year.”
Point Pleasant is led by record-breaking quarterback Cody Mitchell. Last week, he broke the school’s career rushing record set 17 years ago by Dusty Higginbotham and now has 3,369 yards for his career.
Mitchell had nine carries for 188 yards and two touchdowns on runs of 28 and 60 in the smackdown of the Pioneers last week. Mitchell was also 2-for-5 passing for 22 yards. Jason Wamsley had two of those catches for 22 yards.
“It all starts with Cody Mitchell. Everything goes through him,” Mullins said. “You have to try to stop him. Their fullback is also really good and they have a couple of wide receivers that they like to get the ball to. They run the spread but they use Wing-T principles. Mitchell runs the ball a lot and gives it to the fullback a lot. They try to get you to guess one way and they get you going the other way. They don’t score 60 points because the other teams are bad. They score that many because they are that good.”
But it wasn’t just the “Cody Mitchell Show” as several Big Blacks had big games.
Junior Grant Safford had 143 yards rushing on 11 carries and a fumble recovery for a TD as well. He also ran in for a 58-yard TD.
Point finished with 476 total rushing yards — 296 of which came in the first half on 14 carries. The Big Blacks had 535 total yards to Wayne’s 225.
Point Pleasant led 30-8 at the half and then outscored Wayne 27-0 in the third quarter and 7-0 in the fourth.
Mullins said his team is happy to finally be playing at home.
“It seems like forever since we’ve been home,” he said. “We’re looking forward to getting out there and see what we’ve got. We’re going to have to play good teams like this if we want to get into the post-season. We have to elevate our play much higher than what we’ve been so far at this point.”
Logan’s players have practiced the last few weeks on the new Field Turf.
“We practice there every day. It’s not that big of a change but it’s nice to have it,” Mullins said. “We don’t have to worry about weather. Last week, it rained one day but we were able to practice on a dry field. It helps our practices out a lot.”
The Wildcats were led last week by senior running back Matthew Cox, who rushed for 206 yards on 19 carries and scored three touchdowns on runs of 1, 1 and 10. Cox scored four touchdowns on the evening, also reeling in a 70-yard touchdown pass. He had two catches for 103 yards and an 8-yard kickoff return, giving him 317 all-purpose yards for the game.
On the season, Cox has 53 rushes for 481 yards and seven TDs. He’s also snared six passes for 158 more yards.
“He’s had three great games,” Mullins said of Cox. “We’re going to have to continue to have big games out of him. The other guys are starting to step up offensively. The offensive line played really well.”
Mullins said Logan’s defense has also got much better this season under new defensive coordinator and assistant coach James Toth, who came from Man High School.
“You can’t say enough about what those guys have done. They are much better than last year when we couldn’t stop anyone. We fired our defensive coordinator, which was me,” Mullins joked. “I fired myself. We finally got rid of him. The defense has played really hard and has been so much better. They come hard every play and put a lot of pressure on the quarterback. That’s the biggest difference. Three of the scores that we have given up have been on special teams.”
Logan’s quarterback is first-year starter Alex Toler, who has completed 17-of-43 passes for 314 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
The Wildcats’ defense is led by Daniel Browning, who has 25 total tackles, a fumble caused, a fumble recovery, one sack and a QB pressure.
“He’s very aggressive,” Mullins said of Browning. “We like to blitz a lot and he gets some one-on-one matchups. That’s big for us and when he’s got the one-on-ones he’s made the plays. We expect him to be one of our best players on the field each Friday night.”
Football Friday Night
WHAT: Logan Hall of Fame Game — No. 6 Point Pleasant (3-0) at No. 12 Logan (2-1)
WHEN: Friday night, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Logan Football Stadium, Logan, W.Va.
SURFACE: Field Turf
LAST WEEK: Logan won 42-12 at Lincoln County … Point Pleasant won 64-8 over Wayne.
RADIO: WVOW 101.9 FM, Logan, W.Va.
INTERNET STREAM: www.loganwildcats.tv.
Logan vs. Point Pleasant
Football Series Last 10 years
(Point Pleasanat leads 3-2)
2014: Point Pleasant 63, Logan 8
2013: Point Pleasant 41, Logan 14 (3A playoffs)
2013: Point Pleasant 37, Logan 21
2007: Logan 28, Point Pleasant 7
2006: Logan 27, Point Pleasant 14
2015 Logan High School
Football Schedule (2-1):
Aug. 28: at Man, L 13-18
Sept. 4: at Shady Spring, W 49-14
Sept. 11: at Lincoln County, W 44-12
Sept. 18: Point Pleasant (Hall of Fame Game), 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 25: at Chapmanville, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 2: Open date
Oct. 9: Greenbrier East, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 16: John Marshall (Homecoming), 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 23: at Sissonville, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 30: Oak Hill, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 6: Scott, 7:30 p.m.
(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).