The season-opening Man-Logan football game is big every year.
This year, it will be even bigger.
Instead of the Friday night lights traditional opener, this year’s game has been moved up a day to Thursday, August 25.
With only two other games scheduled that night across the state of West Virginia the Logan-Man contest is expected to draw more fans and added media exposure.
Logan and Man are slated to play in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff at the Logan Football Stadium.
Man won last year’s county rivalry, 18-13, over the Wildcats at Man. It was the first ever game played on the new Field Turf at Man’s George A. Queen Memorial Field. Man, along with Logan and Chapmanville Regional, all had their football fields turfed for last season.
Logan went 4-6 last year, while the Hillbillies were 8-3, falling 38-28 at home to Tug Valley in the first round of the Class A playoffs.
This year, both Logan and Man will be competing as Class AA schools.
Logan was last a 2A team from 2003-08 and has competed in Triple-A ever since. Man moves up to the Class AA level for the first time since 2003. The Billies had been a Single-A team the last 13 years.
Logan Athletics Director Brian Atkinson made the announcement on Tuesday.
He said he’s trilled to be able to move the game up a day and put an even bigger spotlight on Logan and Man and southern West Virginia football in general.
“It will be one of the few games in the state that night,” Atkinson said. “The Kanawha Valley does one and there’s usually one up north. In the Kanawha Valley they always pick two teams and open up on a Thursday. It used to be GW and South Charleston. This game between Logan and Man is always a big draw and now it will be even bigger. Now the kids from Chapmanville, Mingo Central and other schools might want to come down and take a look. At the same time on Friday night, that will also benefit Chapmanville as well because fans from Logan and Man can go see them play too.
“This is the right thing to do and it’s a great way to kick off the season.”
Atkinson said an increase in ticket sales for the game is expected.
“We think so,” he said. “We’re going to have some festivities and there will be some other things to celebrate in this Coalfield Kickoff game. It should be great. As we get closer into the summer we will have more details and get some things worked out.”
This fall, Logan will also be returning to the Cardinal Conference. Class AAA schools Nitro and Winfield will also be dropping down to 2A and will also be coming into the conference fold.
Due to contracts with Point Pleasant, Lincoln County, John Marshall, Greenbrier East and Oak Hill, Logan won’t be able to play a full Cardinal Conference schedule until 2017.
Logan plays league foes Poca, Chapmanville, Scott and Sissonville year but will have to make room for Herbert Hoover, Mingo Central, Wayne, Winfield and Nitro in ‘17.
Starting next year, each Cardinal Conference team will play nine league games and one non-conference game.
Logan will most likely keep Man High School as its only out of conference game. Chapmanville would also likely keep Man on its schedule as well.
This August, the third-annual preseason Cardinal Conference Gridorama involving all 10 league teams, will also be played. Scott High School is again expected to be the host. Scott hosted the gridorama last year.
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).