Gary Mullins and the Logan High School football team know the Man Hillbillies always bring their “A” game whenever the two teams meet.
Especially when the Man High School football team comes to Logan.
The Wildcats and Hillbillies will renew their county football rivalry on Thursday night as the two teams will clash at Logan Stadium.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
Although Logan leads the all-time series 49-27-1 and has an 11-5 edge in games played since 2000, the Hillbillies have prevailed in the last two meetings, including a 18-13 decision last year at “The Queen,” Man’s George A. Queen Memorial Field.
Two years ago, Man came into Logan and won a 32-26 overtime thriller.
This is the 13th time Coach Mullins will line up on the opposite side of the field against Man veteran coach Harvey Arms.
In his long tenure at Man High School, Coach Arms and the Billies have been known for its tough running game, big and physical offensive line and blue collar mentality and work ethic.
Every now and then the Billies will throw a wrinkle at you but more or less it’s establishing a ground game, wearing down the opponent and the you-block-me and I’ll-tackle-you style that has been so successful.
With a new quarterback under center, Man will look to pound the ball on the ground led by its experienced and sound ground attack.
In the backfield, Man has experience with Dustin McCoy, Seth Chapman and Jake Frye.
McCoy, a senior, ran 92 times for 548 yards and scored two touchdowns. Frye, also a senior, rushed for 239 yards on 46 carries and scored four TDs. Chapman is also a senior.
Last year’s top rusher, Jace Duba, has graduated. He ran for 699 yards a year ago on 139 rushes and scored seven touchdowns.
At wide receiver, the Billies have big-play potential with senior Matt Sanders. Last year, Sanders caught 29 passes for 471 yards and scored eight touchdowns. Man’s top receiver last year, all-state wideout Ross Osborne, has graduated. He reeled in 67 passes for 971 yards and 15 TDs last year.
Man has some experience on the offensive line as seniors Jacob Asbury, Austin Bragg and Kane Brown and junior D.J. Browning, all return.
“They are big and strong like they always are,” Coach Mullins said. “Their offensive and defensive lines are looking really good. Like always, they have five or six running backs that they are going to throw at you. They are all good running backs. They all run hard. They won’t try to make you miss they will run through you.”
Man has worked in five QBs during the preseason, looking for a replacement for all-state quarterback and four-year starter John Thomas Keffer.
Mullins said senior newcomer Cameron Simpson seems most likely to start for the Billies on Thursday night.
“They’ve got three or four quarterbacks but Cameron Simpson is taking the majority of the reps,” Mullins said. “No matter who they put there you can guarantee that Man High School will always play you a great game when they come to Logan.”
Logan will also have a new starting QB in freshman phenom David Early, who rushed and passed for more than 1,000 yards each last year for the Logan Middle School Timberwolves.
The Wildcats have plenty of offensive weapons of their own including junior running back Devin Hensley who had close to 200 yards on the ground last year. Daniel Browinng, who ran for 144 yards and scored a touchdown last year, is also back, along with Shawntez Matthews who may also see some time at fullback.
At wide receiver, senior Jamal Minter returns to lead the way. Last year, Minter reeled in 27 passes for 354 yards and figures to be a much more important component to Logan’s offensive scheme this fall.
Michael Hall is another player to look out for as well as newcomer and basketball player Braxton Goff, who gives Logan another target at wideout.
Dino Noe, also a basketball and soccer player, is also out for football and gives the Wildcats another athletic receiver, who can jump up and get the ball.
Logan has talent on the offensive and defensive lines but no starters are back on the O-line. Senior center Caleb McDonald was Logan’s lone starter back but was lost during the preseason due to a knee injury. It’s not known if he will be able to return this season.
On the defensive side, senior linebacker Cody Maynard returns, along with Matthews, Daniel Browning, Minter and Tyler Browning. Maynard went down in last year’s Man game with a knee injury and was lost for the season. This will be his first game back.
Logan had a preseason game against Mingo Central last Saturday in the Cardinal Conference Gridorama at Scott High School.
“Mingo Central beat us in the varsity part of the scrimmage 21-6,” Mullins said. “We had a couple of opportunities that we didn’t take advantage of. It could have been closer but we feel like they are one of the best teams in Double-A. We’re trying to take the positives and build on those. We thought that it was a really good test for us in the preseason.”
Chris Watkins accounted for all of Logan’s points with a pair of field goals from 25 and 34 yards out.
“Not bad. Those were good kicks and he did a good job,” Mullins said.
A couple of weeks ago, Logan had success in the Tug Valley Gridorama as the Wildcats faced Paintsville (Ky.) and the host Tug Valley Panthers.
“Paintsville is a great team in Kentucky,” Mullins said. “We ended up 0-0 with them. They went to the semifinals last year in the playoffs. We also scrimmaged Tug Valley and they have been really good over the last couple of years. We won that one three scores to one. We scrimmaged three good football teams who have had success in the playoffs over the last few years. So we felt that got us ready to open up on Thursday night.”
Other than McDonald, Mullins said Logan came out of the preseason with minimal injuries.
“I think we are good. We can’t wait to get out there and play one that counts,” Mullins said. “It’s a good opportunity to play when nobody else is playing and build some excitement for the kids, not that you need it for this game. We’re just trying to make it as exciting as we can make it for them.”
MetroNews Power Index
Logan received two votes in the Class AA Preseason MetroNews Preseason Power Index.
Logan, which is back in Double-A this fall and is a member of the Cardinal Conference once again, was one of eight league teams to make the poll.
Mingo Central was fifth and Wayne ninth.
Herbert Hoover received 23 points and Sissonville 17, good for 12th and 13th in the state.
Winfield garnered six points and Chapmanville five for 15th and 16th place. Scott also received five points and was tied for 16th.
The only Cardinal teams to get no votes were Nitro and Poca. Nitro, Logan and Winfield join the league this fall.
Defending state champion Bridgeport was first in the poll as the Indians received 19 of the 25 first-place votes.
Point Pleasant, down from the Class AAA ranks, was second, while Fairmont Senior was third, Bluefield fourth and Mingo Central fifth. Keyser was sixth, Robert C. Byrd seventh, Weir eighth, Wayne ninth and James Monroe 10th.
Lincoln, Westside, Lewis County, Man, Nicholas County, North Marion, Frankfort and Oak Glen also received votes.
Football Thursday night
WHAT: Man (0-0) at Logan (0-0).
WHEN: Thursday night, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Logan Stadium, Logan, W.Va.
SURFACE: Field Turf
LAST YEAR’S MEETING: Man won 18-13
LAST YEAR: Logan was 4-6, Man 8-3
ALL-TIME SERIES: Logan leads 49-27-1
SINCE 2000: Logan leads 11-5
RADIO/INTERNET: WVOW 101.9 FM, Logan, www.loganwildcats.tv, www.manhillbillies.tv.
Logan vs. Man Football Series
Since 2000 (Logan leads 11-5):
2015: Man 18, Logan 13
2014: Man 32, Logan 26 (OT)
2013: Logan 40, Man 20
2012: Logan 33, Man 0
2011: Logan 30, Man 7
2010: Logan 55, Man 18
2009: Man 34, Logan 7
2008: Logan 14, Man 12
2007: Logan 33, Man 14
2006: Man 18, Logan 13
2005: Logan 12, Man 10
2004: Man 22, Logan 18
2003: Logan 18, Man 0
2002: Logan 27, Man 6
2001: Logan 19, Man 0
2000: Logan 49, Man 9