LOGAN – It’s been eight years since Logan last won a Logan County title.
The Wildcats (5-3) get a chance to snap that streak on Friday night. Logan will face Chapmanville (2-5) in a 7 p.m. start at Willis-Nisbet Stadium.
For the Wildcats, it’s simple. A win and they are county champs for the first time since 2013. It could potentially be the sixth outright championship and 10th overall for coach Gary Mullins and his Wildcat squad.
A win for the Wildcats would keep them in the hunt for a Class AA playoff berth. With three weeks left in the season, Logan is currently ranked 13th in the latest West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission playoff ratings. A win would also be goal number two, which was a county championship, set by coach Mullins at the beginning of the season.
A win Friday night would also guarantee Logan its first winning season since 2013.
“The county championship is a huge deal for our team and community,” Mullins said. “A win Friday would give us a winning season and help push us towards the playoffs.”
“The biggest game of the year to date, but it seems like we say that every week now.”
A loss doesn’t eliminate Logan from the county title picture, but it would almost certainly eliminate them from the playoff picture.
Last season, Chapmanville defeated Logan to open the 2020 season, but never got the opportunity to dethrone reigning county champ Man due to COVID restrictions. A win by the Tigers would guarantee them at least a share of the county championship, and a win in three weeks at home over Man would give them the title outright.
“It’s a lot of fun for all the kids in the county to play each other in all sports,” Chapmanville coach James Barker said. “Our guys are excited to have the opportunity to play for one this year when we didn’t last year.”
Barker’s Tigers are coming off an impressive 40-16 victory over the Wayne Pioneers, which was just the fourth in school history for Chapmanville in the all-time series.
“I had a lot of former players congratulate me after the game,” Barker said. “They were there when Wayne had that amazing stretch from 2005-2016 and it was a great win for players.”
Junior Brody Dalton returned to the lineup and accounted for six touchdowns in his return. The junior suffered a cut hand in Chapmanville’s win over Nitro on Sept. 17 and missed the next two games.
Dalton ran for 177 yards and five touchdowns and threw for 116 yards and one touchdown. In just six games this season, Dalton has rushed for 584 yards and 10 touchdowns on 75 carries and has completed 39-of-77 passes for 432 yards.
“Everything goes through him,” Mullins said. “When he not at quarterback, they put him at receiver and throw it to him. He is one of the most dynamic playmakers in the state.”
Running back Kohl Farmer has rushed for 544 yards and five touchdowns on 123 carries. In last week’s win over Wayne, Dalton and Farmer combined to rush for 289 yards led by Dan Atwood, JT Craddock, Benji Crouse, RJ Jones and Evan Plumley.
“Great performance, but they’d be the first to tell you that they couldn’t have done it without the offensive line,” Barker said. “Our offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage and allowed Dalton and Farmer to rush for over 275 yards.”
Mullins said don’t let the Tigers (2-5) record fool you. In three losses to Sissonville (24-20), Winfield (28-24) and Scott (26-23), the Tigers have lost by a combined total of 11 points.
“We feel they are the second-best team we have played,” Mullins said. “They could easily be 5-2, and they have a great coaching staff, so our hands are full for sure.”
In last week’s two-point defeat at Poca, the Wildcats were unable to get off the field on third down, which is something that Mullins preached to his kids in practice this week. Logan ran just 36 plays in the defeat to Poca’s 70.
“We have to be better on third down on both sides of the ball,” Mullins said. “We had minimal offensive plays and we must get better in that department.”
Logan is led offensively by quarterback Jordan Hayes. The senior has thrown for 1,536 yards and 16 touchdowns on 91-of-176 passing. Hayes’ top two receivers, junior Aiden Slack (36 receptions, 568 yards, 7 touchdowns) and senior Carson Kirk (34 receptions, 680 yards, 9 touchdowns).
“Kirk and Slack are two of the best we’ll see all year,” Barker said. “It’s a matchup for us that we have to be prepared for a variety of things.”
Kirk is also a threat in the kick return game. Last week against Poca he had an 89-yard kick return and is averaging 33.5 yards on six returns this season.
“Every time he touches it back there, he gives their offense great starting field position,” Barker said. “We will kick it deep, but we won’t kick it to him.”
Barker feels that senior running back Kolton Goldie, who he says does not get a lot of the stats or publicity, is the best overall football player for Logan. Goldie has thrown for 214 yards and three touchdowns, rushed for 332 yards and two touchdowns, caught 10 passes for 121 yards and is Logan leading tackler with 71 tackles.
“We have to know where he is at all times,” Barker said. “He’s always around the ball on the defensive side and he does a little bit of everything on offense.”
Logan will honor its 10 seniors before kickoff Friday night. Landon Adkins, Tristian Burgess, Goldie, Christian Goodman, Hayes, Matthew Hutchinson, Kirk, Chance Maynard, Chase Maynard and Noah McNeely will play their last game in front of the home crowd.
“A great group of kids, hardworking and very respectful,” Mullins said. “We have not had a bad practice all year. Every day they show up attentive, ready to work and it would be nice to send them out with a bang.”
Chapmanville leads the all-time series 12-8-0 and has won the last seven in the series with the Wildcats.
“Exciting night of football coming on Friday, and we hope to have our biggest crowd yet,” Mullins said. “The fans really help give an extra boost when playing at home.”
Hillbillies travel to Point Pleasant
Yet another matchup for Man High School with a ranked opponent and yet another matchup with a top five Class AA school.
That is the challenge that the Man Hillbillies face Friday night when they travel to Point Pleasant to face the third-ranked Big Blacks. Man is reeling, losers of three-of-four, while Point is on a hot streak, winners of their last six games since an opening night loss to Greenbrier East, 32-22, on Aug. 27.
Man (3-4) fell behind early last week in a 74-7 loss to AA No. 4 Independence. The Hillbillies struggled fielding kicks in the special teams department that kept the defense on the field more than the offense. The Patriots rushed for 578 yards on 41 carries led by Atticus Goodson with 215 yards on 14 carries.
Man struggled to get anything going offensively as the Hillbillies had just 149 yards of total offense in the loss. Sophomore Jayden Brumfield had Man’s lone score, a 20-yard run in the second quarter.
Point Pleasant will present a challenge to the Man defense. The Big Blacks rely heavily on its running game that averages 335 yards a contest. Leading the way is a pair of juniors in quarterback Evan Roach (121 carries, 710 yards, 16 touchdowns) and running back Gavin Jeffers (94 carries, 930 yards and 9 touchdowns).
With playoff hopes fading, Man may be in a must-win situation if they hope to qualify for the postseason. While there is a possibility that five wins could put the Hillbillies in the postseason, six wins would definitely put them in the field of 16 at seasons end.