In only a matter of days, the Logan High School football team will be hitting the gridiron once again for the three-week summer practice period.
The Logan football team is coming off an exciting 2011 season as the Wildcats finished 8-3 and hosted their first Class AAA home playoff game since 1990.
Along the way, Logan won some exciting last-minute games.
At rival Chapmanville, Joe Street’s crunch-time touchdown and gutty second effort on the subsequent two-point conversion plunge, lifted the Wildcats to a 22-21 win.
Then at Huntington, Street used a half-back pass for a score to push the Wildcats to a 28-27 victory over the Highlanders.
Late in the season, the Wildcats shocked the state with 27-23 home win over favored Hurricane.
Logan also took the county championship, coupled with its 30-7 season-opening win at Man.
“It was definitely an exciting year for us,” Logan coach Gary Mullins said. “We’ve got a tough schedule again. Last year doesn’t mean anything other than memories. We just have got to go forward and try to remember how hard that we worked and how we had to play together. In a lot of those games we had to fight to the very end of the game to win it. We have to remember how to do that. That’s about the only experience that I’m worried about. I hope that they can draw on some of those close games, so that if we can get them again we can win again.”
Logan’s first day of its three-week period is set for June 11.
Mullins said the team’s basic offensive and defensive sets will be implemented in June. It’s also a chance for incoming freshmen to get acquainted to their new teammates and for the new system.
“We normally try to put in our whole offensive and defensive scheme and try to make it to where when we start out in August that it’s fresh and all the kids know what we’re doing,” Mullins said. “Our first day of practice is July 30 this year and we like to start off on Day One where we left off in June. It gives those kids, who came out in the June period, a real advantage. It gives them three weeks to learn when there’s not games to be played.”
But it’s not all monotonous drills and running.
Logan is also scheduled to participate in two 7-on-7 passing competitions. The 7-on-7 has become increasingly popular in the state ever since the June practice period was allowed.
“We usually go to a couple and we’re going to Marshall’s this year,” Mullins said. “That’s a pretty big one. Then we’ll have one in Logan on June 14 at 7 o’clock.”
At quarterback, Logan is deep.
Chris Marcum and Khaleel Reynolds, who split time under center last fall, are back, along with strong-armed rising sophomore Ryan Miller.
“We have Chris Marcum and Khaleel Reynolds back,” Mullins said. “We also have Ryan Miller, the freshman, who will be back. We’ve also got a couple coming from the middle school, so we feel like we’ll probably the deepest that we’ve ever been at quarterback. Miller has all the tools, he just has to get in there and get his feet wet and learn the level at the high school speed. That’s the biggest thing when they are young.”
As always, the Wildcats’ schedule will pose a challenge.
Logan takes on nine teams that it played last year.
The only difference is new opponent Shady Spring. Shady, which is moving from Class AA to the 3A ranks this coming school year, replaces Nicholas County — a Triple-A team which is dropping to Class AA status.
Shady Spring expects to be a tough game for the Wildcats.
The Tigers went 12-1 and advanced all the way to the Class AA semifinals last season, falling 52-9 to Wayne, the eventual Double-A state champion.
Shady Spring, coached by Vince Culicerto, won playoff games over Scott (34-22) and River View (33-26). Logan got beat by Scott, 38-7, in last year’s regular season finale at home.
The Tigers are led by rising senior quarterback Adam Weeks, a first-team all-state selection. Weeks was the WV Metro News Player of the Week early in the season as he completed 19-of-23 passes for 320 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-20 win over Westside.
“The only change is that we’ve got Shady Spring who is replacing Nicholas County,” Mullins said. “Nicholas went down to Double-A and Shady went up to Triple-A. They (Shady Spring) have a really good quarterback and he’ll be a senior this year. He’s a tremendous player. I know that we’ll know a lot more about him when it gets closer but we watched him scrimmage Man last year and he was really good.”
Logan is scheduled to open the season Aug. 24 at home against Class A county rival Man. The Wildcats then host Shady in Week 2 on Aug. 31 before traveling to Lincoln County on Sept. 7 and then to Johnson Central, Ky., on Sept. 14.
Johnson Central, a school based in Paintsville, Ky., handed Logan a 35-6 loss last season at LHS. The Golden Eagles are 3-0 against the Cats over the last 10 years.
Then on Sept. 21, Logan is scheduled to host county rival Chapmanville. Logan then goes to Winfield on Sept. 28 before observing its bye week on Oct. 5.
The next game is Oct. 12 at home against Huntington. Then on Oct. 19, Logan hosts Mingo Central before closing out at Hurricane on Oct. 26 and at Scott on Nov. 2.
Last season, Logan secured the No. 4 seed and had home field advantage for the Class AAA playoffs but were routed 51-8 by Parkersburg South in the opening round.
“We achieved all of our goals last year except for winning the playoff game,” Mullins said. “Now, we just have to keep going in the same direction and take that next step and win a playoff game.”
Mullins said the 2012 schedule will be challenging.
“There’s no gimmies and we have to come ready to play,” Mullins said.
Logan is scheduled to scrimmage Tug Valley on Aug. 11 at Naugatuck. The Panthers are dropping down to Class A status this season. The two teams scrimmaged last season and Logan ended up dominating by scoring nine touchdowns.
In the second scrimmage on Aug. 17, Logan goes to Herbert Hoover High School where the Wildcats will take on the host Huskies and Bellaire, Ohio.