MADISON — The Logan High School football team knew it had to win at Scott on Friday night in the regular season finale in order to have any shot at all at making this week’s Class AAA playoffs.
A 7-3 record might get them there.
A 6-4 mark definitely would not.
The Wildcats, sitting at 19th in the state, would then need some bonus point help in order to break into the top 16 of the computer ratings.
Logan got the job done on the field, winning 16-3 at Class AA No. 6 Scott.
But it appears as if the Wildcats will fall just short of advancing to their third straight Triple-A playoff as Logan is projected to be either 17th or 18th in the final official rankings which are expected to be released on Sunday by the WVSSAC.
Playoffs or no playoff it was another successful football season for Coach Gary Mullins and the Wildcats which closed out with a 7-3 record.
Counting the 6-5 mark in 2010 and last year’s 8-3 team, the Wildcats have gone 21-11 over the last three seasons. Logan won 21 out of 30 regular season games during the three-year span and took two county championships.
Three years ago, Logan won just a single game.
Logan ended the 2012 football campaign on a good note by getting a measure of revenge on the Skyhawks on Scott’s home field turf in Madison.
The Wildcats, just 2-7 against Scott in the last nine meetings, avenged last year’s 38-7 smackdown at home by the Skyhawks in the finale at Logan Stadium.
This time was much different as Logan took advantage of a couple of first half turnovers by Scott, kept to a disciplined ground game and kept the Skyhawks out of the end zone. Each team booted a 25-yard field goal — Logan’s by Brian Craft and Scott’s by Dezmond Cordero-Lopez. It was the only three points of the game by the Skyhawks.
With Logan leading 10-0 at the half, Cordero-Lopez nailed his field goal with 2:20 to go in the third quarter, making it a one possession game and trimming the Wildcat advantage to 10-3.
Then with Logan quarterback Chris Marcum getting shaken up and having to leave from under center, the Cats carried the seven-point margin into the fourth quarter.
Khaleel Reynolds stepped in at QB and led Logan to a game-clinching drive, culminating with the senior’s 1-yard touchdown run in Logan’s “jumbo package,” with linemen Teddy Nelson and Nick Turner in the backfield.
The PAT snap failed, leaving the score at 16-3 Logan with 11 minutes to go in the game.
The 13-point spread was all the Cats would need as Logan left Madison with a season-ending victory.
The Reynolds touchdown was set up by a 29-yard run to the Scott 2-yard line by Brant Williams.
Scott tried to make one last dash at a comeback but quarterback Cody Brown’s pass in the end zone was picked off by Marcum for a touchback with 2:52 left in the game. It was one of two turnovers on the night which was snatched up by the senior Marcum.
The Wildcats then ran out the clock to finish off Scott, which fell to 7-3 on the season. The Skyhawks are set to open play in the Class AA playoffs next week.
“It was a big win for us tonight,” Coach Mullins said after the game. “I thought that we played really physical. They whipped our butts last year. They probably beat us in the playoff game last year because they exposed us so much. We wanted to come over here, be physical and play hard. Scott had lost to two good football teams this season in Wayne, which I don’t think anybody can beat, and Robert C. Byrd. We knew that we would have our hands full.”
Mullins praised his senior class from bouncing back from a 1-9 team in 2009 as freshmen to the three straight winning teams.
“I’m really happy for our seniors,” Mullins said. “They never quit and they kept fighting. What a way for them to finish.”
Mullins commended his team’s ground attack which buried the Skyhawks on Friday night. It all started in the trenches.
“We lose (senior) T.J. (Tomblin) who is a good player for us but everyone else up front will be back. We’ve got some promise for the future,” Mullins said. “We couldn’t run the football at all against Mingo Central. We had been great at running all year but the guys took it personal and the guys starting coming off the ball harder. The running backs made better cuts and started to see the field better. I hate to imagine how good Worm (Brynden Street) will be next year. He got better and better as the year went on. He’s a great player. Whoever comes and gets him they will get a steal because he’s one of the hardest hitting players that I’ve ever been around.”
Mullins said his team stepped up defensively both this week and for the season.
“We challenged their manhood this week at practice,” he said. “Coach (Greg) Keaton did a real good job with the linebackers and Coach (Josh) Fry worked well with the D-linemen. We told them they weren’t good enough and they were better than what they were showing.”
Part of Logan’s much improved defense this season can be attributed to 320-pound senior tackle Nelson, Mullins said.
“He didn’t play his sophomore or junior seasons,” he said. “We would have liked to have had him. I’m glad whoever it was who talked him into playing. I’m not sure that we would have won a game without him. That’s how dominating that he’s been the whole season. He should be an all-state defensive lineman without question. He dominates the line of scrimmage most of the time. Nick Turner does a lot also. He’s just a sophomore, so we’ve got a lot to look forward with a lot of these guys.”
Logan jumped on scoreboard late in the first quarter as Scott turned the ball over on downs with an incomplete pass by Brown in the end zone and a 3-yard touchdown run by Reynolds with 1:51 to go in the first quarter. Craft’s PAT was good as the Cats led 7-0.
The score was set up by a 28-yard pass by Marcum to C.J. Williams on the first play of the drive.
Then with 9:54 left until halftime, Craft booted his 25-yard field goal to make it 10-0 Logan. The drive was set up by a Marcum fumble recovery at midfield and a 39-yard, hook-and-ladder play from Josh Rein to Reynolds down to the Scott 31-yard line.
The Wildcats later got the ball back as Nelson fell on a Skyhawk fumble at the Logan 38. The Cats could not capitalize on the Scott miscue this time, however, as Logan turned the ball over on downs at the Skyhawks’ 35-yard line.
Logan got the ball back but had to punt.
Scott then ran out of time as the second quarter clock expired.
Marcum was 11-of-22 passing for 125 yards and an interception for the game. He also had 72 yards on the ground on 12 attempts.
Logan rushed 37 times for 275 yards for the game.
Reynolds ran 12 times for 89 yards and had the two scores to lead Logan. Brant Williams had six carries for 70 yards. Street had six totes for 42 yards. Tyler Vernatter added one carry for eight yards.
Reynolds also had four catches for 53 yards. C.J. Williams added three catches for 37 yards. Josh Rein reeled in three passes for 19 yards. Brett Musick had a catch for 16 yards.
In addition to the field goal and PAT, Craft punted four times for an average of 49 yards per kick. For the season, he averaged around 47 yards per punt.
Robert Bias led Scott with 15 rushes for 80 yards.
Clayton Marcum led the Logan defense with 12 total tackles. Street had eight tackles, while Thomas Hunter and Nelson had seven stops each. Chris Marcum, Kade Doss and Tomblin all had six tackles.
Tyler Workman and Vernatter had five stops each. Nick Turner had four tackles. Trent Dalton, Jacob Browning, Stephen Dilly and Preston Hepler all had three tackles each. Chris Browning had two tackles.
Nelson and Clayton Marcum each caused a fumble.