The fast-strike Wildcats and Tigers have both put up XBox-like numbers.
It has been dizzying at times as Logan and Chapmanville have amassed big chunks of yards – the Wildcats mostly with their passing game and the Tigers getting the job done for the most part on the ground.
Both teams come into Friday night’s key game at Logan Stadium with identical 3-1 records.
The teams’ offenses, of course, have gotten most of the headlines so far this season. But it will probably be the team with the best defense which will come out on top in the county showdown.
Logan and Chapmanville are set to meet on Friday at 7:30 p.m. It will also be the annual homecoming game for Logan High School.
Logan coach Gary Mullins said defense might carry the day.
“The team with the best defense who is able to stop the other team is going to win,” Mullins said. “Both offenses have been really good up to this point. We feel like our defense has been great and we’ve played a very tough schedule. Out of the four teams we have played there’s no doubt that three of them are playoff teams. We have things that we need to improve on on defense but we think we’ve been pretty solid. We’re looking forward to the challenge on Friday night.”
There are many subplots to the game.
There’s the offenses, of course.
Chapmanville, led by explosive running backs Jake Robinson and Dustin Botsch and senior quarterback Josh Easterling, is averaging 55.3 points a game so far this season.
In last week’s 69-66 Arenaball-like victory over the Poca Dots, Robinson rushed for a school record 408 yards and scored seven touchdowns. Botsch, a transfer from Logan, ran for 161 yards, caught three passes for 69 more yards, had 72 more yards in returns and scored two TDs. Botsch also had an 85-yard kickoff return for another touchdown called back due to a Chapmanville penalty.
For the season, the former Scott Skyhawk Robinson has rushed for 790 yards, has 111 yards in receiving and has scored 16 TDs. Botsch has 538 yards on the ground and 331 yards receiving and has reached the end zone 10 times.
Easterling has 806 yards passing with five touchdowns and three interceptions. He has completed 35-for-67 of his passes for 52.2 percent.
On the other side, Logan is led by senior quarterback and Kennedy Award candidate David Brown, who has connected on 53-of-80 passes (66.3 percent) for 892 yards with 12 TDs and two picks. In last week’s loss to the Commodores, Brown was 24-for-30 passing for 237 yards with three TDs and one interception. Brown has rushed for another 243 yards this season.
Senior wide receiver Deyonta Coleman has 13 catches for 455 yards (35 ypc.) and six touchdowns.
Joe Street, Logan’s senior fullback, has 40 carries for 241 yards and a score on the season.
Wide receiver Khaleel Reynolds has eight catches for 149 yards and three scores.
Logan has put up some big numbers on the board this season with wins over Man (55-18) and Nicholas County (41-35) before winning a 9-6 grudge match at Lincoln County in Week 3.
“Both teams are built on their offenses,” Mullins said of Chapmanville and Logan. “But we think we have a good defense and this is our chance to prove it. This will probably be one of the biggest games in the state as far as interest. Their will be as many people here at this game as anywhere. If you want respect this is a good game to get it.”
Another subplot is Botsch, Chapmanville’s senior tailback. Last year, Botsch played for Logan and will be going against his former Wildcat teammates for the first time.
Mullins said Logan’s defense must be able to stiffle the Tigers’ ground game.
“We just have to play responsibility defense,” he said. “We just have to not overcompensate and all 11 guys have to react what is in front of them.”
Then there’s the revenge factor.
Although Logan leads the all-time series 5-4, the Wildcats have lost the last three years to the Tigers, including last year’s 21-14 setback at Chapmanville. The series began in 2002 and has been played every year since.
“There’s not doubt. Any time a team beats you the year before it motivates you,” Mullins said. “We’re ready to play. We’ve had this game circled for a while. It’s a couple days away and on Friday night we’ll be able to see who the better team is.”
There’s also the coaches.
Logan head coach Mullins will be going up against Chapmanville coach George Barker. Mullins was a former Barker assistant at Logan in the early 2000s and when Barker left LHS to become the Tigers’ coach in 2003, Mullins ended up being his replacement.
“Whenever he coached me he was wearing the Blue and Gold. Now he’s wearing other colors and it’s just like going up against a coach from another team. I’m going to do everything in my power to win and he’s going to do the same,” Mullins said.
Still another subplot is the Logan County championship banner. With a 55-18 win over Man already under Logan’s belts, the Wildcats can take back the county championship with a victory on Friday night over the Tigers, which have claimed the county title the last three years. Chapmanville can retain the county title with a win over Logan and a victory later in the season over the Man Hillbillies. Last year, the Tigers handed Man its only regular season defeat to win the county championship.
“Our number one goal is to win the county championship,” Mullins said. “We can’t achieve any of our other goals until we are the county champion. It’s not likely that you are going to be a playoff team without being county champion. Those goals go hand in had. Friday night’s a huge game and our players know it. We can’t wait to get out there and play.”
Then there’s the game itself and the points. The winner gets a huge lift, goes to 4-1 and will be looking good in the WVSSAC’s Computer Ratings. The loser falls to 3-2 and will have to regroup.
“Both teams have tough schedules the rest of the season. It’s a game that neither team can afford to lose,” Mullins said. “The team that wins on Friday night is going to be sitting in the driver’s seat for the rest of their season.”
Logan has turned it around big-time this season.
At this point last year, Logan was 1-3 and was heading toward a dismal 1-9 grid campaign.
“We’re just glad to be in a game that matters,” Mullins said. “Last year, we played a lot of games that didn’t have any significance other than playing for personal pride. We’re just glad to be here.”
Mullins said his team is in good shape injury-wise heading into the game.
“We’re fine. We just have a few bangs and bruises that you always have going into Week 5 but nobody will not play,” Mullins said.
The Wildcats would like to walk away on Friday night with a homecoming win and the county title.
“The homecoming game is always big for the seniors,” Mullins said. “This group of seniors want to be remembered as being a special group.”
A huge crowd is expected. A standing room only crowd of nearly 5,000 was on hand for Logan’s season opening game with Man at Logan Stadium. Those numbers could be on hand again on Friday night since so much is riding on the game as well as it being homecoming for LHS.
“There’s not any doubt,” Mullins said. “Especially since the weather is supposed to be good as well.”
There’s almost no chance of rain on Friday night as Indian Summer temperatures are expected to soar to 90 degrees under sunny skies. Temps will most likely be in the 70s at game time.
n The WVU Marching Band will be performing at Logan High School’s football stadium on Thursday at 1 p.m. for 45 minutes on their way to Saturday night’s game at LSU.
The public is invited to attend.
— Coach Barker will comment on the Logan-Chapmanville game in Thursday’s sports.