MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. — There were not a lot of big plays Friday night at Monarch Stadium.
In fact, you could probably count them all on one had as Logan and John Marshall combined for a total of 475 yards.
But when the chips were down, all the big ones came from the Monarchs. Specifically, they were made by 6-foot-1, 165-pound JM sophomore Devin Norris.
With Logan trailing by seven and time running out, Norris knifed into the backfield and sacked Wildcats backup quarterback Jamal Minter three times on the final drive to help the Monarchs (2-5) survive, 13-6, in the final home game for their seniors on a rainy track. It’s JM’s second straight victory.
“He’s a specimen (and) we’re expecting big things out of him the next couple years,” John Marshall coach Rick Goodrich said. ”We’re getting them in there in our pass-rush situations. He’s very athletic and he put a couple really nice moves on their offensive tackle. He made some key sacks because they were moving the ball.”
The game was supposed to be a chance for Ohio Valley fans to get a glimpse of Logan (3-3) freshman phenom quarterback David Early, who stands 6-foot-4 and weighs 240 pounds.
But when the Wildcats lined up for the game’s first play, it was Minter under center.
Coach Gary Mullins would not elaborate, only to say that “Jamal Minter was our quarterback (Friday).”
Minter, the team’s leading receiver acquitted himself nicely, running for 74 yards and throwing for another 103. But the offense never seemed to get into a rhythm and he was intercepted twice — once by Nick Coulter and once by John Davis.
“We basically ran the same kind of offense we normally do and Jamal did a great job,” Mullins said. “We fought hard but it just seemed like every time we got a drive going … a lot of penalties. Same thing happened in the Chapmanville game.”
The Monarchs looked to be going in for a clinching score but coughed up the ball at the Logan 1-yard line with 2:06 left. A hook-and-lateral play took the ball to the 22. Michael Hall hauled in a 9-yard pass on second down and an incompletion left the Wildcats with fourth-and-inches.
Minter picked up 7 and a first down to the JM 44. Back-to-back sacks by Norris and an incompletion on third down left Logan with a fourth-and-24. Norris again was up to the task, chasing Minter from the pocket and eventually dragging him down.
The seniors “give you everything they have and the wins haven’t shown for us, but this is good for them,” Goodrich said. “I told them they will never forget this game as long as they live — the last senior game at home. I am just so glad they can walk off the field with a victory against a decent team.”
John Marshall took a 7-0 lead at 4:40 of the first quarter when quarterback Jordan Wood (9-for-17, 113 yards) pump faked and found senior Zach Stein, who had executed a double move, for a 13-yard touchdown.
Logan responded with a one-play drive as Hall took a sweep, cut it back and raced 85 yards to the end zone. The try for a 2-point conversion failed and the Monarchs went into halftime with a 7-6 advantage.
That’s the way it stayed until there was 7:20 remaining in the game. The August conditioning that Goodrich is known for began to take control, as JM started to dominate the much larger Wildcats front four.
Dart Feil hauled in an 12-yard pass to begin a 10-play, 39-yard drive. Chas McCool (20 carries, 71 yards) picked up another first down with an 11-yard gain, but the Monarchs eventually faced a third-and-goal from the 1 and McCool bulled his way in.
“Give those guys credit. They came after us and we couldn’t block them,” Goodrich said. “But then our line came off the ball and we did enough to get it done. We took over and pushed the big boys around.”
Logan, on a three-game losing skid since starting out 3-0, plays another Class AAA team on the road this coming Friday night as the Wildcats travel to Lewisburg to take on the Greenbrier East Spartans.
2016 Logan High School
Football Schedule (3-3):
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, L 12-41
Sept. 23: *Chapmanville (Homecoming), L 8-29
Sept. 30: Open Date
Oct. 7: at John Marshall, L 6-13
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.
Nov. 4: *at Scott, 7:30 p.m.
*Cardinal Conference game