On the surface, Huntington’s 37-18 victory over the Logan High School football team looked like the Highlanders were able to have their way with the Wildcats on Friday night in the annual LHS homecoming game.
But the final score was not indicative of just the kind of game it was.
The Wildcats trailed just 23-18 with nine minutes left in the game and were a two-point conversion away from making it a three-point differential but could not get a stop as Huntington drove down the field for a touchdown.
Then after a late interception, Huntington got the ball back.
Instead of running out the clock and taking a few knees Huntington left its offense on the field and scored one more time with about a minute to go, widening the final margin unnecessarily.
Thus, Friday night’s five-point game turned into a 19-point win as Class AAA No. 10-ranked Logan dropped to 5-2 on the season. Huntington, which lost a 28-27 heartbreaker to Logan last season at home, was able to gain a measure of revenge on the Wildcats as the No. 3-ranked Highlanders improved to 6-1.
All in all, Logan pretty much played toe-to-toe with Huntington and can take some positives away from the game.
This is the same Huntington team whose only loss this season was a 14-13 setback to No. 1 Cabell Midland.
The Wildcats have three games left in the season — next week against Mingo Central in the home finale, Oct. 26 at Hurricane and Nov. 2 at Scott.
Logan is hoping to make it to the Class AAA playoffs for the third straight season. The Cats still have a shot at finishing in the top eight and garnering their second home playoff game in as many years.
“We just didn’t play our A-plus game tonight,” Logan coach Gary Mullins said after the game. “But we played hard. That’s the number three team and we were there but we’re not in it for moral victories. We’re going to take a lot from this game. We just have got to get ready for next week. We’ve got to get to six wins. That’s the only thing that we are thinking about now. Hopefully we can do the right things and make it back to the playoffs.”
Logan senior quarterback Chris Marcum gave the Wildcats a jolt of enthusiasm 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, led by quarterback Mark Shaver, then drove down field at will. After runs of 12, 12 and 22 by Shaver, Huntington had a first-and-10 at the Logan 12-yard line.
Five plays later, the Highlanders were able to widen the score with Paden Christian’s 1-yard touchdown plunge with 5:10 left in the game. The extra point kick by Zachary Stevens pushed the lead to 30-18.
Logan still held onto a glimmer of hope as Marcum converted a fourth-and-10 at midfield with a 17-yard pass to Street in the teeth of double coverage.
Marcum, however, was intercepted at the 5 by Charles Crawford, who returned the ball to midfield.
Instead of running down the clock, Huntington chose to try and score one more time.
The Highlanders eventually reached the end zone with Crawford’s 1-yard TD run with one minute to go, making it a 37-18 final score.
Mullins praised Marcum, who also fired a 54-yard touchdown bomb to Rein with 6:30 to go until halftime. Logan elected to go for two but the conversion failed, leaving the score at 7-6 in favor of Huntington. Marcum 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.
“Early in the game he threw two perfect passes that not that many guys can throw,” Mullins said. “We just weren’t there offensively but I thought that our offensive line played very well. We ran some good plays but were just not quite good enough. We can’t play a B game or a C game and beat Huntington High School. You have to play an A game. If we can play like that and correct the little things we will be fine.”
The Highlanders expanded the lead to 14-6 with 1:04 to go until halftime as Shaver ran in from 2 yards out. The PAT was good.
Logan had one last shot before the half as Marcum fired to Street on a pair of 17-yard completions, giving the Cats a first-and-10 at the 24.
Marcum, though, fired an incomplete pass to Brett Musick in the end zone and was picked off by Clark Wilson in the end zone for a touchback with seven seconds left in the half.
Huntington had scored first with Christian’s 3-yard TD run at the 7:56 mark of the opening quarter. The extra point kick was good as the Highlanders led 7-0.
Then in the second half, Huntington made it 21-6 with 6:50 to go in the third with Shaver’s 1-yard TD plunge.
The Wildcats responded on their next drive, reaching pay dirt with Street’s 4-yard TD run on a draw play with 3:36 left in the third quarter. The two-point conversion failed but Logan had pulled to within 21-12. The Street touchdown was set up by a 31-yard completion down the sideline to a lunging Khaleel Reynolds.
“Worm has really been progressing offensively,” Coach Mullins said of Street. “He’s really starting to become more of a threat for us. We’re just proud of him. We played hard tonight.”
The Highlanders went three-and-out on their next possession but a 51-yard punt pinned the Cats on their own 9-yard line.
Then on the very next play, Marcum rolled out and was tackled in the end zone for a safety by Huntington’s D’Whan Wheeler as HHS made it 23-12 with 1:50 left on the clock.
It just wasn’t to be for Logan, which lost for the second time this season.
“They played hard and I’m really proud of them,” Mullins said of his team.
Rein finished the game with two catches for 79 yards. Street reeled in five passes for 80 yards. Reynolds had three grabs for 49 yards, while Vernatter had two catches for 40 yards. C.J. Williams had one grab for four yards.
Reynolds added three rushes for 13 yards. Vernatter had two rushes for six yards, while Street ran three times for nine yards.
Brian Craft had a good night as he punted twice for a 48-yard average. One of his punts boomed for 56 yards.
On defense, Teddy Nelson and Thomas Hunter led Logan with 10 and nine tackles respectively. 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. Preston Hepler had four and Nick Turner three. Brant Williams, Brian Ball, Jacob “The Hammer” Browning and Craft all had one tackle each.
Logan is scheduled to return to action next week at home against the Class AA Mingo Central Miners. Logan beat Mingo Central last season on the road in the first ever meeting between the two schools. The Miners (4-2), ranked No. 10 in the state, were scheduled to host Class A No. 16 Wheeling Central on Saturday night at Mingo Central’s James H. “Buck” Harless Stadium in Newtown.
* Morgan Morrison was crowned at halftime as Miss Logan High School 2012 — the Logan homecoming queen. Benji Adkins was named “Mr. Wildcat.”
* Logan High School football players wore pink socks on Friday night to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness month. Some wore pink shoes.
The football team is raising money through next Friday night’s game with Mingo Central for the American Cancer Society. It was announced at Friday’s contest that the team had already raised $1,000. The team is currently selling pink T-shirts with the money going to the charity.
Logan High School’s cheerleaders scrapped their normal uniforms at the game, instead wearing the pink shirts.
* Friday night’s game against Huntington was reportedly the last contest against the Highlanders at least for the forseeable future as the two-game series has come to an end. Logan is also expected to drop Johnson Central (Ky.), Hurricane and Winfield and will add Nitro, Greenbrier East, University and Point Pleasant in 2013.
Logan and Huntington went 2-2 against each other since 2000.