LOGAN- Logan coach Gary Mullins had three goals for his team when he returned to the sidelines for the 2021 season.
Friday night his Wildcats checked off one of those goals with a 21-12 victory over Class AA No. 9 and Cardinal Conference rival Scott on a rainy and wet homecoming at Willis-Nisbet Stadium.
The win was the fifth of the season for Logan, currently ranked 17th in the latest West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission ratings, and kept the Wildcats in the playoff picture with three games remaining.
“It’s a non-losing season (five wins) and that was goal one, a County Championship was goal two and playoffs is goal three,” Mullins said. “You can’t get to any of those without getting to a non-losing season.”
The win also improved the Wildcats to 4-1 in the Cardinal Conference. The Wildcats, who were tied for third with Scott and Winfield, now occupy sole possession of third place heading into next week’s showdown with No. 4 Poca.
Logan led 14-12 after three quarters and had the ball to start the fourth quarter, however, quarterback Jordan Hayes was intercepted by Isaiah Brown at the Wildcat 34 and returned 25 yards to the Wildcat nine.
During Brown’s return, Scott was called for an illegal blindside block at the 14 which moved the ball back to the Logan 29 with 11:48 to play.
Momentum appeared to be on the Skyhawks side as they gained nine yards in three plays and faced a fourth-and-1 from the Logan 20. A first down would keep the drive alive, but Cooper Martin was stopped for a yard loss at the Logan 21 turning the ball over on downs to the Wildcats with 10:18 to play.
Mullins and his staff challenged the offense and they responded in a big way going on a 15-play drive that chewed up 9:21 off the clock.
“We told them we couldn’t give them the ball back,” Mullins said.
Logan would get an encroachment penalty on third down, convert a short fourth down and use different formations to move players around to keep the Skyhawks from keying on certain individuals and even deployed a Wildcat formation with running back Kolton Goldie at quarterback.
“They are starting to understanding that we can move guys in and out like wing and sniffer,” Mullins said. “We felt like we were able to get Kolton through there a couple of times.”
Goldie had 33 yards on seven carries that started at their own 21 and moved to the Skyhawk 5, where the Wildcats faced a fourth-and-goal with just over a minute to play.
Goldie took the snap and ran to the right side, but as the Skyhawks safety bit on run action, Goldie unleashed a jump pass into the end zone where tight end Garrett Williamson made a spectacular catch to give the Wildcats a 20-12 lead with 0:57 remaining. Aiden Slack’s extra point attempt split the uprights giving Logan a 21-12 lead.
“We were hoping to run it in, but we knew it would be tough from the five,” Mullins said. “We put Garrett at tight end hoping they would forget about him.”
Williamson, who had just one catch for five yards, made the catch over a linebacker and referee and maintained control as he hit the ground.
“Garrett dropped a couple of ball early and instead of being down himself kept fighting and kept blocking out there,” Mullins said. “He is a big physical body and made a good catch in the end zone.”
One of Scott’s assistant coaches on the sidelines informed the defense to watch for the tight end.
“Sure enough they slipped him out there and our safety bit a little hard trying to stop the run,” Scott coach Jeremy Dolin said. “That was an awesome play calling on the last down.”
For the most part, the Skyhawks game plan to keep the Wildcats off the field and limit the possessions worked. Up until the last drive Scott had possessed the ball for 26 minutes.
“If you can’t get off the field that is going to kill you and they did what they needed to do in that situation,” Dolin said. “We know they are a team that likes to throw, but in that situation they knew they needed to run the clock and did a good job up front.”
One play crucial to the Wildcats ability to move the football during the last drive was the jet sweep with Aiden Slack. Slack had runs of 19 and eight to keep the Scott defense on its toes.
“We just couldn’t get to the edge and stop it,” Dolin said. “It was good strategy on Coach Mullins’ part and it left us in a bind.”
Slack put the Wildcats up 14-0 early in the first quarter as Hayes hooked up with the speedy junior for touchdown passes of 25 and 9.
“We seen some things on film that we liked and matchups that we liked,” Mullins said. “We were able to hit them.”
Carson Kirk’s 48-yard kick return to start the contest set Logan up at the Scott 37. Four plays later Hayes found Slack in the end zone to put Logan up 6-0 with 10:58 to play in the opening quarter.
The rain seemed to play a factor as Logan had a bad snap on the extra point attempt and Scott had difficulties with high snaps on offense, but the one snap that proved costly was on a punt attempt that resulted a negative 14-yard punt to set Logan up with a 1st-and-10 at the Scott 15 to start its second drive.
Two plays later, Scott linebacker Gavin Sutphin stepped in front of a Hayes pass at the goal line, however the ball deflected off his hands and into the hands of Slack for a 9-yard touchdown. Hayes found Goldie on the ensuing two-point conversion attempt to give Logan a 14-0 with 8:12 to play in the opening quarter.
“I said all week we couldn’t give up big plays and we give up a couple right off the bat,” Dolin said. “We give up the kick return then we muff a punt that put them right back into scoring position.”
Slack caught five passes for 69 yards, rushed for 32 yards, returned a kickoff 45 yards, registered five tackles on defense, broke up two passes, had an interception, kicked an extra point and averaged 40 yards on two punts.
“He is a great player and it says a lot about him because everyone else knows he is a great player,” Mullins said. “They (coaches) devise things to stop him and that is why we move him around so much to get him into situations where we feel he can be successful.”
Scott responded with 12 second quarter points to trim the deficit to 14-12 at halftime. Quarterback Matt Frye got the scoring started with a 25 run with 9:58 to play in the first half and Martin raced in from 18-yards out with 4:39 remaining before halftime.
“We battled back and this team shows a lot of heart when it comes to that,” Dolin said. “I thought we settled in and scored and thought the momentum had shifted our way and would carry into the second half.”
Logan had an opportunity to extend the lead on its opening drive of the second half. Hayes found Goldie for a 70-yard gain on 3rd-and-12 moving the ball to the Skyhawk 4, however, a delay of game penalty moved the ball to the Scott 9 and a sack followed two incompletions killed the drive.
“That was poor coaching on my part and that is 100 percent my fault,” Mullins said. “I don’t know what happened, but I was unaware of the time.”
Scott responded with a 13-play drive that covered 65 yards in 6:22, but the Skyhawks bid to take the lead was spoiled as Isaac Setter’s 22-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right with 0:27 remaining in the third quarter.
“We put together a couple of runs here and there, a couple of drives here and there, but we were never really able to finish them,” Dolin said.
Scott ran 65 plays for 311 yards of offense, all of which coming on the ground, and held the ball for 27:45. Without leading receiver Jayden Sharps, the Skyhawks utilized a ground-and-pound attack to keep the ball out of the Wildcat playmakers.
“That was very similar to what we did to (Herbert) Hoover the first week,” Dolin said. “We felt like we could run the ball, chew clock and try to do what they (Logan) did in the that last drive.”
“It would keep Slack and those other athletes off the field and for the most part it worked,” Dolin said. “I thought we prepared well all week, but we just didn’t execute when needed.”
Sharps, who leads Scott with 381 receiving yards on 18 receptions, was out of the lineup due to an injury suffered two weeks ago at Chapmanville.
“We missed Jayden a ton tonight.” Dolin said. “We are shorthanded in the receiving core and Jayden is our best receiver in terms of sitting down, finding the hole, finding the open pocket and he probably has the surest hands of any receiver in the Cardinal Conference.”
Landon Stone rushed for 114 yards on 26 carries while Martin ran for 108 yards on 20 carries and one touchdown.
“We knew coming in that those guys run extremely hard,” Mullins said. “I think 20 (Martin) is the hardest running back we have faced and 5(Stone) might be the second hardest we have faced.”
Scott falls to 4-2 and will host Liberty (Raleigh) next week for homecoming. The Raiders are 4-1 and ranked seventh in the Class AA ratings.
“I told the guys that a lot of people didn’t expect us to come and have the success that we had,” Dolin said. “The two games that we have lost we have been in so it’s not a matter of whether or not we can play with them, but a matter of whether of not we can finish the game.”
“They (Liberty) are a very good football team and we got to go back start studying film, get prepared for them for homecoming,” Dolin said. “Homecoming is full of distractions and we got to eliminate that distraction and try to focus on the task at hand.”
Logan travels to Poca Friday night for a contest with the fourth-rated Dots.
“They have embarrassed us for the last five years,” Mullins said. “We are ready for the challenge next week.”
Logan’s played Friday’s game with heavy hearts after the passing of 2008 graduate and WVOW-Sports color commentator Nathan Bush.
The Wildcats placed stickers with Bush’s initials on their helmets. Bush, who passed away in his sleep Tuesday at the age of 31, was remembered as a positive guy with nothing but nice things to say about everyone.
“The community lost a great guy, who passed away way too soon,” Mullins said. “It doesn’t do everything, but we got this one for Nathan and I know he would be smiling down on us and would be the happiest guy in the stadium tonight.”
Scott 0 12 0 0- 12
Logan 14 0 0 7- 21
L- Slack 25 pass from Hayes (pass failed), 10:58
L- Slack 9 pass from Hayes (Goldie pass from Hayes) 8:12
S- Frye 25 run (run failed), 9:58
S- Martin 18 run (run failed), 4:39
L- Williamson 5 pass from Goldie (Slack kick), 0:57
Team Statistics Scott Logan
First Downs 18 10
Total Yards 311 172
Rushes-Yards 58-311 22-30
Passing 0 142
Comp-Att-Int 0-7-2 8-16-1
Sacked-Yards Lost 0-0 2-20
Punts 2-10.5 2-40.0
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 2-1
Penalties-Yards 2-20 2-17
Time of Possession 27:45 20:15
RUSHING_Scott – Stone 26-114, Martin 20-108, Frye 6-61, Brinegar 5-29. Logan, Goldie 8-35, Hayes 7-(minus 35), Slack 5-32, Maynard 1-2.
PASSING_Scott, – Frye 0-7-2 0. Logan, Hayes 7-15-1 137, Goldie 1-1-0 5.
RECEIVING_Logan – Slack 5-69, Goldie 1-70, Williamson 1-5, Kirk 1-(minus 2).
MISSED FIELD GOAL_Scott, Setser 32 (WR)