LOGAN, W.Va. — After three straight blowout wins to begin the 2016 season the undefeated Logan High School football team heads into a key stretch of the grid campaign.
It all begins on Friday as Class AA No. 7-ranked Logan (3-0) plays at No. 4 Point Pleasant (3-0), possibily the best team it will play all season.
Then on Sept. 23, always-tough county rival Chapmanville Regional comes to Logan for the LHS Homecoming Game.
After a bye week on Sept. 30, Logan then has a pair of away games at Class AAA teams John Marshall on Oct. 7 and Greenbrier East on Oct. 14. Those two games will give Double-A Logan a chance to grab Triple-A points in the WVSSAC’s playoff ranking system.
Another tough Cardinal Conference game awaits on Oct. 21 as Logan hosts Sissonville. Then then Cats play Oct. 28 at Oak Hill before closing out the regular season Nov. 4 at Scott.
“The next four or five games are really tough for us,” Logan coach Gary Mullins said. “The last few years we haven’t played that well in this stretch of games. We’ve got to make sure that we are ready to go and just play one game at a time. No matter if we win or lose on Friday night it has no bearing on the next week’s game. That’s the thing about high school football if you lose on Friday night you can’t let it beat you in the next week’s game. If you win, it doesn’t mean anything because after that Chapmanville comes to town. You just have to have a short memory and play each week.”
Offense in gear
Logan freshman QB David Early struggled some in last week’s 40-13 home win over Lincoln County, tossing three first-half interceptions, one going for a 95-yard TD as the Panthers cut it to 14-7.
It was just a minor hiccup.
Early and the Cats then turned it on. He had four TD passes on the night and was 12 of 23 passing for 244 yards. Early ended up firing three touchdowns on strikes of 73, 26 and 30 and added a highlight reel style 30-yard touchdown run.
“We struggled late in the first quarter and through parts of the second quarter,” Mullins said. “We just got out of rhythm a little bit. After some of those interceptions it seemed like it took a while for us to get back on track. You just have got to forget those things and move on. That’s going to happen a lot in football. I think we’ll do a lot better moving forward.”
Logan’s first-string defense has allowed only three points all season long — a field goal by the Poca Dots in Week 2’s 61-11 win.
Poca scored a touchdown late on Logan’s reserves.
In the season-opening 48-13 win over Man, the Hillbillies trailed 48-0 and scored a pair of late TDs.
Last week against Lincoln County, the Panthers scored a touchdown on defense and added a late score in the fourth quarter when the game was already well out of reach.
“We gave up three points to Poca on that field goal,” Mullins said. “Other than that I don’t think they have given up much else.”
Los Tres Amigos
Logan’s linebacker trio of Daniel Browning, Shawntez Matthews and Cody Maynard (“The Three Amigos”) are leading the team in tackles so far after three weeks.
“Those three have played really well the first three games,” Mullins said. “They are going to be key on Friday night. They’re going to have to play lights out in order for us to win. They do a lot of things for us between the tackles. Those guys have to continue to have a good year and stay healthy. I’m sure that they will.”
Having your linebackers leading the team in tackles, and not your defensive backs or safeties, is a good sign.
“With our defense our linebackers are turned loose so much,” Mullins said. “They’ve got to be making a bunch of tackles. If they are not, we’re not going to be winning very many games.”
Mullins said several others have stepped up on defense.
“Chucky Felder has had a really good year I think,” he said. “Tyler Browning and Trey Jude in the secondary have also played well up until this point. There’s a lot of guys that don’t get talked about that much, guys like Cezar Cruz and David Cruz. Our defensive line has played well.”
Noe short kickoffs
One unsung hero this season has been Logan junior Dino Noe.
The 6-foot-5 Nigerian national is giving football a try this fall. He plays basketball and soccer at Logan.
Noe has been Logan’s kickoff man most of the season and has routinely been booming kicks down to the 5-yard line. And with good special teams cover that has usually meant poor field position for Logan’s foes.
The athletic Noe has also been on five special teams tackles and has played some at wide receiver and tailback. He has three carries for 12 yards. He has yet to catch a pass although Logan has tried to get him the ball a few times.
“Another thing is that he’s going down the field and making a lot of tackles,” Mullins said of Noe. “He’s a tremendous athlete. He’s got some offensive work in there too. He’s still learning how to play the game a little bit. He’s going to be a good player for us this year. We expect next year, the sky’s the limit for him because he won’t have to learn all of this stuff next year.”
2016 Logan High School
Football Schedule (3-0):
Aug. 25: Man (Coalfield Kickoff Classic), W 48-13
Sept. 2: *Poca (Hall of Fame Game), W 61-11
Sept. 9: Lincoln County, W 40-13
Sept. 16: at Point Pleasant, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 23: *Chapmanville (Homecoming), 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 30: Open Date
Oct. 7: at John Marshall, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 14: at Greenbrier East, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 21: *Sissonville, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 28: at Oak Hill, 7:30 p.m.
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).