LOGAN- How long has it been since Logan was getting ready for a meaningful fall football game?
It turns out that eight years, 2013 – which also happens to be the last year that the Wildcats qualified for the playoffs – was the last meaningful October football game played. Eight years, but it feels like forever to Wildcat fans and supporters.
The Wildcats, who are ranked 13th in the latest West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission Class AA ratings following last week’s 21-12 victory over No. 15 Scott, are knocking on the door of the postseason.
The Wildcats jumped on the Skyhawks early with 14 first quarter points before the visitors rallied for 12 points in the second quarter to close the gap to 14-12 at halftime. In the second half, the two teams took turns establishing momentum, but each time one team would get close to the goal line, the defenses would step up and keep them out of the end zone.
That was until the last drive when Logan embarked on a 15-play 79-yard drive that chewed up 9:21 off the fourth quarter clock. The drive was capped off by a Kolton Goldie jump pass to tight end Garrett Williamson for the game-icing touchdown.
“Overall we played well, but we missed a couple of scoring opportunities in the second quarter,” Mullins said. “They (Scott) are a good team and we expected them to make plays too.”
Coach Gary Mullins and his staff typically don’t pay much attention to the ratings, but with three games left to play in the 2021 season, Mullins and his Wildcats could be in the final 16 at seasons end.
“We do not talk about the ratings, but if you are talking about them then that means you are winning,” Mullins said. “Hopefully the ratings matter after week 11.”
The Wildcats hope to improve their playoff standing Friday night when they travel to O.O. White Stadium for a contest with the second-ranked Poca Dots.
Poca (5-0) remained undefeated last week with a come-from-behind 28-26 victory over Cardinal Conference rival Winfield.
“Poca is a very good team, and they are number two for a reason,” Mullins said. “They have weapons everywhere you look.”
“They have good running backs, good receivers and a good offensive line,” Mullins said. “They have a tough defense that swarms to the ball and when you match that with a good coaching staff, they are a tough out.”
The Dots, who lost 39 straight games from 2013-2017, have been a program on the rise winning 31 of their last 35 games since the start of the 2018 season.
Leading the way for the Dots is senior wide receiver Toby Payne. Payne (6’4’’, 230 pounds) had just one catch for four yards in last week’s victory over Winfield, but the talented receiver made up for it by rushing for 91 yards on 11 carries. Dating back to the 2019 season, Payne, who has committed to Marshall, has over 20 touchdown receptions.
For Logan, Jordan Hayes has completed 80-of-his-151 passes for 1,339 yards and 14 touchdowns. Hayes’ favorite target, Aiden Slack leads the receiving core with 35 receptions for 561 yards and seven touchdowns. Carson Kirk is not far behind with 28 receptions for 523 yards and seven touchdowns as well.
On the ground, Logan is led by Goldie, who has 320 yards and two touchdowns on 58 carries. Hayes has 45 attempts for 173 yards and two touchdowns while Slack has rushed 21 times for 141 yards.
Goldie leads Logan in tackles with 63 and is followed by Brayden Chambers (49 tackles), Bryce Davis (48 tackles) and Slack (46 tackles). Chance Maynard leads the team in interceptions with two picks.
Poca is undefeated in the Cardinal Conference at 4-0. The Dots trail Herbert Hoover, who is 6-0 in the conference, while Logan is third with a 4-1 conference mark.
“Cardinal Conference is always tough,” Mullins said. “Great players and great coaches make for a tough Friday night. You have to come ready to play or you will get beat every time you step out on that field.”
Poca leads the all-time series, 6-4-0, and has won the last four meetings by a combined score of 160-64.
“This is a huge game for us, not only for playoffs, but to show that we can compete on the highest level of Class AA football,” Mullins said. “They have embarrassed us for about the last four years but we are ready for the challenge.”