LOGAN, W.Va. — After a pair of losses since starting the season 3-0 the Logan High School football team needs a win this week very badly.
But to get it the Wildcats will have to travel four and a half hours north on Friday night as Logan (3-2) makes the long trek to the northern panhandle to take on the John Marshall Monarchs (1-5).
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the John Marshall High School football field in Glen Dale, W.Va.
Logan went into last week’s bye week after back-to-back losses to Point Pleasant (41-12) and Chapmanville (29-8) two Fridays ago.
The Cats need a win in order to stay in the Class AA playoff chase.
Since John Marshall is a Triple-A school, a win over the Monarchs could get Logan added points in the WVSSAC’s football ratings, which give 12 points to a win over a Class AAA school, nine for a victory over a 2A squad and six for a win over a Single-A team.
Logan will have another shot at a 3A school next week as Logan hits the road to play Oct. 14 at Greenbrier East.
Four out of Logan’s five remaining games are on the road.
The last home game is Oct. 21 vs. Sissonville in a Cardinal Conference matchup. Logan then closes out Oct. 28 at Oak Hill and Nov. 4 at Scott.
Logan coach Gary Mullins said his team knows the task at hand.
“We definitely need to bounce back,” Mullins said. “We need to play a good game. There were parts of the Point Pleasant game that we played pretty good. We just didn’t play that well long enough. In the Chapmanville game we didn’t play that well at all. There weren’t hardly any aspects of the game that we played well.”
Mullins said he made some changes last week in Logan’s bye week.
“We’ve had a week off and we’ve moved some guys around some a little bit at practice,” he said. “We have to make sure that we’re doing the right thing for sure.”
The Monarchs had a much stronger team last year, coming to Logan and trouncing the Wildcats 62-26.
This year has been a struggle for John Marshall, losing its first five games before getting a win last week in Ohio over Buckeye Local, 40-6.
The Monarchs opened with losses to University (41-14), Mountain Ridge, Md. (35-27), Weir (15-6), Bellaire, Ohio (20-0) and Parkersburg South (44-12).
Mullins said his team will not take John Marshall lightly, knowing how good northern West Virginia football is and knowing the Monarchs have played a tough schedule.
“Northern teams are always good,” Mullins said. “You can’t really look at their records. They always play a tough schedule. If you are down just a little bit you could have a bad year up there because all of the teams are so good. Their record is deceiving. If they played our schedule they would be 3-2 or 4-1 like we are. They’re a pretty good football team.”
Friday night will be the last time the two schools will play as its the second year of a two-year contract.
Next year, Logan will be playing a full Cardinal Conference schedule with the additions of Mingo Central, Herbert Hoover, Wayne, Nitro and Winfield.
John Marshall will be dropped from the 2017 schedule, along with Oak Hill, Greenbrier East, Lincoln County and Point Pleasant.
John Marshall is coached by Rick Goodrich. The team went into the season with many new faces on both sides of the ball.
”Everything (is new),” Goodrich told the Wheeling Intelligencer newspaper. ”We’ve got 10 new faces on the offensive side of the ball and basically nine new ones on defense. But we’ve got good, young kids who are going to get better every day.”
The Monarchs’ quarterback is junior Dereck Hess, the lone returning starter on offense.
”He’s going to carry the ball more and run some options … maybe do some zone-read,” Goodrich said. ”We’re going to get him active and it adds a different dimension. I think last year he realized his job was to manage the game and get the ball in the right people’s hands. This year he knows it’s basically his team.”
Logan won’t have to contend with running back Chase Gump, John Marshall’s all-time leading rusher, who has graduated. Chas McCool is his replacement.
Another top Monarch is Nick Coulter, who has been moved from tailback to wide receiver.
Mullins said John Marshall looks to run with the ball first and establish drives.
“They run the ball right at you,” he said. “They run their fullback and their tailback right at you. You just have to try to stop them. They like to play physical.”
Logan is led by freshman quarterback David Early, who is just 10 yards shy of reaching 1,000 passing yards for the season. He’s completed 60 of 99 passes for 990 yards with 15 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Michael Hall is Logan’s leading rusher with 16 carries for 244 yards and two touchdowns. Early has ran with the ball 35 times for 230 yards and three scores.
Jamal Minter is Logan’s top receiver with 20 catches on the season for 311 yards and four touchdowns. Braxton Goff has 13 grabs for 260 yards and three TDs. Hall has another 12 catches for 253 yards and four touchdowns.
On defense, Logan is led by linebacker Shawntez Matthews with 41 total tackles, an interception and a pass breakup.
Daniel Browning has 35 tackles, three sacks, a blocked punt and a QB pressure. Minter has 35 tackles, three pass breakups, two caused fumbles, one sack and a QB pressure. Cody Maynard, Logan’s middle linebacker, has 33 tackles, two pass breakups and a caused fumble.
Chucky Felder has contributed 20 tackles and four pass breakups. Goff has 20 stops, three sacks, two fumble recoveries and a caused fumble.
Cezar Cruz has 19 tackles and a sack. Tyler Browning has 18 tackles and a fumble recovery. Trey Jude has 16 tackles.
Logan kicker Chris Watkins is 5 for 8 in extra point kicks.
Football Friday night
WHAT: Logan (3-2) at John Marshall (1-5).
WHEN: Friday night, 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: John Marshall High School football field, Glen Dale, W.Va.
SURFACE: Natural grass
LAST WEEK: Logan was idle, John Marshall beat Buckeye Local (Ohio), 40-6
LAST YEAR’S MEETING: John Marshall beat Logan 62-26
ALL-TIME SERIES: John Marshall leads 1-0
(Paul Adkins is the Sports Editor of the Logan Banner. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @PAdkinsBanner).