With four games left in the regular season each one is huge for the Logan High School football team.
After last week’s 49-20 setback at state power University, Logan sits at 4-2 and in the 18th spot heading into Friday night’s LHS homecoming game against Greenbrier East (4-3).
With games left against Class AA Mingo Central, 3A Nitro and 2A Scott, Logan would most likely need at least three wins in order to make it to the playoffs.
That would put Logan at 7-3.
But in an ironic twist, the Cats were 7-3 last season and did not have enough points to qualify for the post-season as Logan finished No. 17 — one spot out of the playoff picture.
That’s why Logan coach Gary Mullins and the Wildcats do not want to do the number crunching this time around.
With four games left, the Cats want to take care of business on the field and win them all to close out 8-2.
With an 8-2 mark, Logan would almost certainly finish in the top 16 and could also have a shot at the top eight and homefield advantage depending on how the WVSSAC’s rankings shake out.
The first step to that goal is beating Greenbrier East.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Logan Football Stadium.
“This is a huge game,” Mullins said. “We have got to win this game. There’s an awful lot riding on this. If we lose this game we will put ourselves behind the 8-ball and we will leave ourselves with no wiggle room and we would have to win out to get into the playoffs. If you got in you would be 14th, 15th or 16th. This is a big game and it’s a game that you’ve got to win and got to play your best at.”
The No. 23-ranked Spartans are a game above .500 heading into this week after pounding lowly Lincoln County 59-13 last Friday at home.
Greenbrier East, a new opponent in Logan’s ‘13 grid slate, brings in a pretty solid football team to town.
The Spartans started out the season 3-1 with a 47-22 win at home over 2A James Monroe, a 52-35 loss at Beckley Woodrow Wilson and wins over Shady Spring (56-14) and Parry McCluer, Va. (55-49). Greenbrier East then lost at home to Bluefield, 57-18, on Sept. 27 and fell 56-24 on Oct. 4 at home to University.
The Spartans are led by quarterback Isaiah Kinder, who threw for 317 yards and three touchdowns and added another 32 yards rushing in the win over Lincoln County last week.
Greenbrier East is also led by Dalton Cline and Ty Walker, who had big games as well against the Panthers. Cline picked up 159 yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns, while Walker had nine catches for 152 yards and a touchdown. Matt Beard had four catches for 62 yards and a score. Colby Johnson had a 44-yard TD grab for East and ran in for a 50-yard score.
In last week’s rout, Kinder completed 18-for-25 passes with one interception and had 278 yards by halftime. He spent most of the second half on the bench as the Spartans played their reserves. He was also crowned as the homecoming king, known as the “King of Sparta.”
Kinder had several screens and sideline passes in the game. Some were catch-and-run type routes that went for big yards.
Greenbrier East finished with 624 yards of total offense and eight TDs.
Kicker Sean Myles did his job as well, connecting on eight extra points and a 31-yard field goal.
The Spartans led 21-7 after one quarter, 31-7 at the half and then coasted.
Greenbrier East also played well on defense against the Panthers and their Wing-T offense, giving up 238 yards on the ground and just 19 in the air.
East is coached by Ray Lee.
“They are good,” Coach Mullins said of the Spartans. “They are good everywhere. Their quarterback is faster than the quarterback for University and we had a hard time containing him. Their running back I think will be the best that we’ve seen so far. He looks to me to be close to the speed of (Devin) Wiley from Chapmanville. He’s a power runner also. He will run right through you. They have a huge offensive line. They’ve only lost to University, Beckley and Bluefield.
“They’re tough but we think that we are as evenly matched as we can get but we’re going to have to play really well in order to win this game.”
The Spartans broke a two-game skid with the win last week and are fighting for a playoff berth along with Logan.
“I feel like we’re in a really good position,” Kinder told the Beckley Register Herald. “We’re in control of what’s going to happen. If we win these next three, it will be a good spot for us. We’re playing with confidence. We’ve had some hard losses, but we’re getting back and should win out.”
* Logan was led last week by senior running back Brynden “Worm” Street who had 21 rushes for 114 yards and a TD at University.
Noah Corbett was 0-for-4 passing with an interception. Ryan Miller was 1-for-3 with two yards while Josh Rein, normally a wide receiver for Logan, was 2-for-3 passing under center for 15 yards.
Brett Musick had one catch for 10 yards. Corbett had one grab for five yards, while Matt Cox had one catch for two yards.
Cox ran with the ball three times for 58 yards. Tyler Vernatter had six rushes for 12 yards and a touchdown. Rein had five carries for 28 yards. Gavin Ellis ran once for six yards.
Daniel Hanks was 2-for-2 in extra point kicks.
Rein also had one kick return for 50 yards. Street had three returns for 59 yards.
Jacob Browning led Logan in tackles with 12. Street had seven tackles, while Tyler Workman and Chris Browning had four each. Chester Bradsher, Vernatter, Clayton Marcum, Musick and A.J. Grimmett had three stops each. Tyler Vance, Stephen Dilly and Kyle Runyon had two each. Cox, Tres Duncan and Preston Hepler had one tackle apiece.
Marcum had an interception and a pass breakup.
Mullins said Logan played pretty well particularly early on in the game.
“Early on we played really well,” he said. “We weren’t really playing stall ball but we were trying to run the clock down and limit their possessions. For the first 14 minutes or so we couldn’t have done a better job. We really did what we had sat out to do. It seemed to have them off balance. Our line was really dominating the game.”
Mullins said, however, University was able to kick it into gear.
“Then all of a sudden they were making some big plays,” he said. “It seemed like we got out of rhythm a little bit and it just kind of snowballed on us. Before we knew it we were down 28-6. The biggest thing that we were disappointed in as a whole was that we tackled terrible. We had a lot of missed tackles that we don’t ever have. I could have counted 10 or 12 solos where we were one-on-one with a guy where we weren’t able to get the guy on the ground. We’re usually very sure tacklers and rally to the ball to where if we miss a tackle we would have a second guy right there. Defensively, we’re going to have to get a lot better because Greenbrier East is really good. They basically run the same kind of offense.”
Logan had some younger players out of last week’s game.
“We’re fine but we have some young kids who are hurt,” Mullins said. “We didn’t dress about seven JV players and that was about as much in the 10 years that I’ve been here. We’ve got some young guys banged up but overall we’re still in pretty good shape.”
* On the season, Corbett is 27-for-50 passing for 375 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions. Miller is 12-for-25 passing for 253 yards and three TDs.
Rein is Logan’s leading receiver on the season with 21 catches for 360 yards and five scores. Musick has eight grabs for 91 yards.
Street has 68 carries on the season for 612 yards and six TDs. Cox had 28 rushes for 284 yards and three scores. Vernatter has 228 yards on the ground on 41 carries and six touchdowns.
Hanks is 18-for-22 on PATs and 0-for-1 in field goal attempts.
Browning leads Logan in tackles with 45. Marucm has 37 tackles, while Dilly has 36, Vernatter 34 and Workman 30. Grimmett has 29 tackles, Street and Musick have 22 each and Hepler has 21.
Grimmett leads Logan in sacks with four.
Marcum and Workman have five pass breakups each.
Dilly has two caused fumbles. Workman leads the Cats in interceptions with three. Musick and Marcum have two each.