If the Logan High School football is to get its season back on track the Wildcats are going to have to beat Greenbrier East.
They need a win badly.
In order to do that, Logan will have to try to stop the Spartans’ dynamic running back Zayvion Lawson.
That’s a tall order.
He’s been a beast for East.
Logan (2-3) is scheduled to host Greenbrier East (3-3) this Friday at 7:30 p.m. in the Wildcats’ first game since falling at county rival Chapmanville, 43-26, a couple of weeks ago. Logan, which has split with the Spartans the last two meetings, was idle last week.
The Spartans crushed winless University 34-8 last Friday night, a week before falling 73-56 in a shootout at home to Class AA No. 2 Bluefield.
Led by Lawson, a 5-foot-8, 185-pound senior running back, the Spartans have piled on the yards and the points this season.
In Week 1, Greenbrier East lost 42-38 at home to James Monroe, then won 35-28 at Beckley before hammering Shady Spring 82-14 on Sept. 11 on the road. Week 4 then produced a 31-27 loss at home to Musselman.
The speedy Lawson has been front and center in East’s explosive offensive scheme.
In the loss to James Monroe, Lawson had a huge night, rushing for a single game Spartans record of 325 yards on 30 carries and scoring three touchdowns on runs of 6, 8 and 75. Lawson’s effort broke the record held by Seneca Wilmer who rushed for 283 yards against Shady Spring in 1996.
In the lightning-delayed, turnover-free win over Beckley, Lawson rolled up a modest 140 yards and two touchdowns and QB Jonathan Carr threw for two more scores as the Spartans won over the Flying Eagles.
Logan coach Gary Mullins said Lawson is very fast and very good.
“He’s a very explosive running back,” Mullins said. “He played some for them last year. This is by far the best team that they’ve had that we’ve played against. They look very good on offense. If Lawson gets in front of you he’s going to take it to the house. You have to bottle him up and gang-tackle him. He’s a very good football player.”
Greenbrier East coach Ray Lee said Lawson has been very impressive.
“Zayvion has pretty much been in this program since my first year,” Lee told the Beckley Register-Herald. “He’s part of that senior class that started with me as freshmen. You could see his maturity just grow every year and now it’s his turn after playing behind running backs in previous years. He wants to take the load and he does a good job.”
Mullins said East’s defense is improving despite giving up the boatload of points against the Bluefield Beavers.
“On defense they are getting better and better,” Mullins said. “When you watch their earlier game compared to now they are a lot more aggressive. Their defensive backs are really good. They are ballhawks and three or four of them go to the ball. They are a good football team.”
Logan is led on offense by senior and first-year starter Alex Toler, who has completed 51-for-106 passes for 692 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions.
Mullins, a former quarterback in his prep playing days, said Toler is feeling much more comfortable running the offense than he was at the start of the season.
“In the Chapmanville game he threw for 190-some yards with three touchdowns and one interception,” Mullins said. “I think the offense is getting better and better each week. We just have to put some drives together. We stall out a lot. We move the ball up and down the field but we have a hard time getting it into the end zone. We just have got to find a way to punch those in and get points whenever we get the opportunity. If we can do that that will give us a shot in every game that we play.”
On the ground, Matthew Cox leads the Cats. He’s had 616 yards rushing on 77 attempts with seven TDs this season. He’s also Logan’s leading receiver with 17 catches for 285 yards.
Jamal Minter has nine grabs for 109 yards and Tyler Browning has eight catches for an even 100 yards.
Devonte Tolliver, who has battled injuries this fall, has 34 carries for 98 yards. Daniel Browning has nine rushes for 89 yards and a score.
On defense, Daniel Browning leads Logan with 29 total tackles. He’s also had a fumble recovery, a caused fumble, a sack and a QB hurry.
Chance Conn has 29 tackles and Shawntez Matthews and Hunter Vance have 23 each.
Minter has 22 stops with a pair of interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
Cox has 19 tackles, two picks, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery.
Logan has used two kickers this season. Chris Watkins is 6-for-7 in his extra point kicks. Augustine Chukwu-Noe is 4-for-6 in PATs and 1-for-1 in field goal attempts — a 28-yarder in the win over Lincoln County.
After the loss to Chapmanville a couple of weeks ago, Logan’s 3A playoff chances were damaged.
Logan is not out of it, though.
If the Cats are able to string together a few more wins, they could get right back into the picture.
After playing the Spartans on Friday, Logan hosts John Marshall on Oct. 16 in its homecoming game. Logan then travels to Sissonville on Oct. 23, hosts Oak Hill on Oct. 30 and closes out Nov. 6 at home against Scott.
Logan is ranked 20th in the state in this week’s WVSSAC ratings. Greenbrier East is 19th.
Football Friday Night
WHAT: Greenbrier East (3-3) at Logan (2-4)
WHEN: Friday night, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Logan Stadium, Logan, W.Va.
SURFACE: Field Turf
LAST WEEK: Greenbier East won 34-8 over University … Logan was idle
RADIO: WVOW 101.9 FM, Logan, W.Va.
INTERNET STREAM: www.loganwildcats.tv
Logan vs. Greenbrier East
(Series tied 1-1)
2013: Greenbrier East 42, Logan 19
2013: Logan 48, Greenbrier East 29
2015 Logan High School
Football Schedule (2-3):
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), L 7-57
Sept. 25: at Chapmanville, L 26-43
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).