It’s crunch time for the Logan High School football team.
After last week’s 37-18 homecoming loss to Huntington, the Wildcats have plunged in this week’s Class AAA computer ratings from 10th to a projected 18th in the state.
With three games left to play in the regular season and the top 16 teams in each class qualifying for the playoffs, the Wildcats are on the bubble.
Logan (5-2) hopes that bubble won’t burst on Friday night as the Cats host Class AA No. 10 Mingo Central (4-3) at Logan Stadium.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. It will also be Senior Night for the Wildcats.
Logan beat Mingo Central 22-6 last season on the road in the first ever meeting between the two schools. Mingo Central is the second-year consolidated school made up of the former Williamson, Gilbert, Burch and Matewan high schools.
The Miners are coming off a disappointing loss — a 35-16 setback at home to Class A No. 16 Wheeling Central on Saturday afternoon at Buck Harless Stadium in Newtown.
With both the Wildcats and the Miners fighting for playoff positions in their respective classes, Friday night’s showdown will be significant for both teams, Logan coach Gary Mullins said.
“It’s definitely a big game,” Mullins said. “It should be a very good crowd. Their fans always travel well and it’s a huge game for both teams. We’re trying to get to six wins and we’re trying to secure a winning season. We want to get back out there because we felt like we didn’t play our best against Huntington. We want to get out there and prove that we can play a lot better.”
Mingo Central’s game against Wheeling Central was not as competitive as the final score might indicate. The Maroon Knights held a commanding 35-0 lead at halftime and didn’t surrender any points by the Miners until late in the fourth quarter when Mingo Central scored a pair of touchdowns and two-point conversions.
Wheeling Central was led by C.J. Burch who tossed three touchdown passes and ran for another. Brad Cottrell caught a scoring strike and kicked five extra-points and the Wheeling Central defense picked off a pair of Matt Lester passes as the Maroon Knights made the nearly five-hour trip a good one.
Mingo Central allowed the Maroon Knights to roll up 317 yards of total offense, including 173 on the ground.
The Miners, which joined the Cardinal Conference this season and replaced outgoing Point Pleasant, opened the 2012 campaign with a 19-16 loss at Wyoming East.
Mingo Central then reeled off three straight wins — 34-12 at home to River View, 37-24 at home to Westside and 30-14 at home to Man. The Miners were then humbled at Class AA defending state champion Wayne with a 53-14 loss to the Pioneers. MC then bounced back on Oct. 5 with a 22-20 home win over Tolsia before falling to Wheeling Central last weekend.
The Miners play six of their 10 games at home this season.
Friday night’s game at Logan is only the third road contest so far this fall for Mingo Central.
Mingo Central is led by senior tailback Joe May and senior quarterback Lester.
Senior linemen Garth Simpkins and junior Drew Kirk are also key to the Miners on both sides of the football.
Junior Alex Lee is also a major threat to run with the football and has bounced back from an early season ankle injury. Lee caught five passes for 103 yards and a touchdown in the win over Tolsia.
May was limited to 56 yards on 23 carries and one TD against the Rebels while Lester completed 7-of-14 passes for 119 yards. May, running out of the Wildcat offense, tossed the game-tying touchdown pass to Lee and then ran in the two-point conversion for the game winner.
Coach Mullins said Mingo Central is very good and much better than last year’s 5-5 squad.
“They are a good football team,” he said. “Joe May is as good as anybody that we’ll see. He didn’t at all in the second half last week. I think that he got banged up a little bit there in the second half. He’s a tremendous player and they play hard. He’s as explosive as anybody that we’ll play. He’s super fast and super strong. They’re having a great year and they need this game against us to go to the playoffs. They have a tough stretch down the road.”
Mullins said the Miners are also good on the defensive side of the ball.
“They really limited Joe (Street) last year with their toughness and good tackling,” he said. “We know how tough they are and we know that they are going to come after us. A win over us will pretty much lock them into the playoffs. It’s a big game and it’s Senior Night. We’re excited to get back out there and hopefully we can get a W.”
The Wildcats played Huntington much closer last week than the 19-point final margin indicated.
Logan senior quarterback Chris Marcum gave the Wildcats a boost as he fired a 23-yard touchdown pass to Josh Rein with 9:36 left in the game. The Wildcats then went for two but Marcum’s throw to Brynden “Worm” Street was ruled a trap. The controversial call left the score at 23-18 in favor of the Highlanders.
It was a key ruling by the officials. Had it been called a catch Logan would have just been a field goal away from tying it.
Huntington then drove down the field for a touchdown and scored a late TD to set the final score.
Marcum, who also connected with Josh Rein for a 55-yard touchdown pass, led the Wildcat charge last week as he finished the game 12-for-29 passing for 252 yards with two TDs and two interceptions. He also led Logan’s rushing attack with 12 carries for 77 yards.
Rein finished with two catches for 79 yards. Worm Street reeled in five passes for 80 yards. Khaleel Reynolds had three grabs for 49 yards, while fullback Tyler Vernatter had two catches for 40 yards.
Brian Craft had a good night as he punted twice for a 48-yard average. One of his punts went for 56 yards.
On defense, Teddy Nelson and Thomas Hunter led Logan with 10 and nine tackles respectively. Chris Marcum had eight tackles, while Street and Clayton Marcum had seven stops each. Vernatter contributed six tackles. Tyler Workman and T.J. Tomblin had five apiece.