Aces hold off Chieftains in first-ever football meeting
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With heavy hearts, Amanda-Clearcreek edges Logan 17-12
By CRAIG DUNN
AMANDA — On what was a heart-wrenching night of raw emotions in this western Fairfield County village, the Amanda-Clearcreek Aces were able to pay tribute to a fallen, beloved classmate by securing a football victory in her memory.
With the visiting Logan Chieftains making too many mistakes, the Aces took an 11-point halftime lead and held on in the final seconds to edge the Purple & White 17-12 in the first-ever meeting between the two storied football programs Friday night at “The Pit.”
A state Division V playoff team each of the last two seasons, the Aces improved to 2-0 on the season while the Chiefs dropped to 0-2 in what would have been a winnable game save for a number of miscues that all seemed to occur at crucial times.
Earlier in the week, the village of Amanda was rocked by the death of Sophie Mazgay, a 17-year-old A-C senior, who was involved in a traffic accident around noon Wednesday. She passed away that night.
After a moment of silence prior to the game, grieving A-C students and fans released black and purple balloons in her honor, with black representing the school’s primary color and purple being Sophie’s favorite color… such an irony indeed with the visiting Chieftains’ primary color being purple.
Sophie’s softball uniform number “8” was painted at midfield and, after the game, A-C players sang their school alma mater while gathered in front of the play clock, where the digit “8” flashed on and off in a touching final tribute.
On the field, the Aces scored on their opening drive and then tallied 10 points late in the second period, generating just enough offense against a Chieftain team that was its own worst enemy much of the evening.
“And there you go… you just gave the whole interview,” Logan coach Mike Eddy told loganfootball.com afterward, “because that’s exactly what it was. We got a couple things cleaned up as the game went on and you could see some improvement in the play on the field. But yeah, just too many mistakes in all three phases of the game, whether it was guys lining up wrong, or guys missing assignments, or guys running a wrong route and getting hit in the back with a football.
“Little things. That’s what’s hurting this team right now,” he continued. “This is a good group of kids. They work hard, and this is two weeks in a row where regardless of the score they were playing as hard as they could play right up to the end. They’re doing the things in that manner that we’re asking them to do.”
Trailing 17-6 during almost an entire, lethargic second half, the Chieftains certainly gave themselves a chance when, after getting the ball back with just 1:36 to play, they went 77 yards on seven plays to score.
With Ian Frasure throwing completions of 19 yards to Jonny McClelland and 30 yards to Traten Poling, the Purple & White got into scoring position but found themselves faced with third-and-10 from the A-C 11.
Frasure scrambled to his left and, just before being hit as he neared the line of scrimmage, sidearm-flipped a pass to Caden McCarty, who was able to find paydirt just inside the near sideline with 51.5 seconds remaining. A 2-point conversion pass failed, but Logan was within 17-12.
A-C quarterback Nate Hunter, playing on the hands team to recover the ensuing onside kick that everyone in the stadium knew was coming, did just that to secure the win for the Aces, who ran out the final seconds with three kneel-downs from victory formation.
“We had an opportunity to win this game,” Eddy said. “We got behind early but kept plugging along. The defense got better and we were able to move the ball enough late in the fourth quarter to give ourselves a chance… just too many mistakes.”
The Aces went 70 yards on seven plays after receiving the opening kickoff and Hunter connected with Andrew Harber on a 10-yard slant pass for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead after Jonathan Weaver booted the extra point less than three minutes into the game.
Logan mounted an eight-play, 52-yard scoring drive that spilled over from the end of the opening period to the opening play of the second stanza when Poling took a jet sweep around left end 13 yards for six points. The Chiefs’ attempt at a 2-point conversion failed but they were within 7-6.
The Chiefs failed to take advantage of an A-C turnover when the Aces fumbled the ball away at the Amanda 34-yard line. Logan had a long pass play inside the A-C 10 nullified by an illegal formation penalty…a harbinger of things to come.
“I am at fault because I’ve said a couple times that a couple of our younger guys are making key mistakes,” Eddy said, “but in reality, that’s not true either. Tonight, we saw some older kids, some veteran guys, also made some of those kinds of mistakes. I don’t know the answer to that. If (I knew) I’d wave my magic wand and we’d fix it.
“I don’t think it’s a lack of preparation,” he continued. “When we talk about it on Thursday walk-throughs, they know their scouting (reports), they know what they’re supposed to do (and then) when we get out here it’s just the mental piece isn’t always there every snap. The physical part is; they’re playing hard, they’re flying around to the ball and making good plays, but then the next play we’ll have a mental bust. That was the story of the game tonight.”
The Aces held the ball for more than six minutes in driving 80 yards on 13 plays to their final touchdown of the night near the end of the first half.
With Hunter completing several key passes along the way, including a 22-yard pass over the middle to Peyton Cassley, the Aces reached first and goal at the Logan 5-yard line.
From there, they gave the ball to senior Tim Smith four-straight times and Smith eked out the five yards needed for six points, getting the final yard on a fourth-and-goal power run off tackle with 2:16 left, to make it 14-6 after Weaver’s successful placement.
Logan then started to put together a nice drive in the waning moments of the half but fumbled the ball away at the its 47-yard line with 1:20 remaining until the intermission.
The Aces took advantage.
Hunter connected with junior Tayvon Miller (four catches for 83 yards) on a 28-yard slant pass over the middle to the Logan 17, and the Chiefs had eight more penalty yards tacked on for a penalty after the play.
A-C didn’t pick up any more yardage, but Weaver came on and drilled a 25-yard field goal through the uprights with 15.3 seconds left as the Aces took a 17-6 lead at the half.
It stayed that way until the final moments as the Chieftains stiffened on defense but just couldn’t put anything together on offense until their final possession.
Frasure finished 13-of-25 passing for 172 yards, throwing an interception and a TD pass, with Poling catching five aerials for 78 yards and Jonny McClelland adding 45 yards on four receptions. McCarty ran for 59 yards on 15 carries (also catching two passes for 25 yards) and Frasure added 49 on 12 rushing attempts.
Hunter was 12-of-21 passing for 164 yards to lead the A-C offense, which was held under 100 yards on the ground by the Logan defense.
While the final team stats were nearly even — the Chieftains outgained Amanda-Clearcreek 284-257 — it was those mistakes that did them in.
Friday night was just the third time the Chieftains had donned helmets and shoulder pads to face an opponent — a scrimmage with Marietta and regular season games with Jackson and A-C — so in a sense, under normal circumstances, it would have been Logan’s third and final tuneup scrimmage of the season.
But as we’re all well aware, 2020 is anything but a normal year.
“And that’s exactly right,” Eddy said. “As much as I would love to be able to use that as an excuse, everybody is in the exact-same situation we are. If you have a more-veteran team maybe you have a little bit of an advantage over somebody that’s breaking in new guys and rookies, but at the end of the day everybody’s got to line up and play 11 guys.
“And tonight I thought our 11 guys played really hard,” he added. “They just didn’t always play really well. If we can find that formula to get those two pieces going at the same time, we’re going to win games…and not just have chances to win games.”
The Chiefs return to action next Friday night against former Southeastern Ohio Athletic League rival Warren, whose head coach, Matt Kimes, was Eddy’s offensive coordinator at Parkersburg South before Eddy came to Logan prior to the 2019 season. Warren (1-1) lost 27-20 to Fort Frye on Friday night.
Amanda-Clearcreek 17, Logan 12
A-C: Andrew Harber 10 pass from Nate Hunter (Jonathan Weaver kick), 9:02, 1Q
Logan: Traten Poling 13 run (run failed), 11:51, 2Q
A-C: Tim Smith 1 run (Weaver kick), 2:19, 2Q
A-C: Weaver 25 field goal, 0:15.3, 2Q
Logan: Caden McCarty 11 pass from Ian Frasure (pass failed), 0:51.5, 4Q
Team Statistics LO A-C
First Downs 15 14
Offensive Plays 57 59
Rushes-Yards 32-112 38-93
Passing Yards 172 164
Total Yards 284 257
Passes 13-25-1 12-21-0
Punts-Avg. 5-37.8 4-30.0
Fumbles-Lost 3-1 2-1
Penalties-Yards 7-64 2-15
Possession 20:45 27:15
Rushing — Logan: Caden McCarty 15-59, Ian Frasure 12-49, Traten Poling 3-12 (1 TD). A-C leaders: Hunter Matheny 8-36, Tim Smith 8-26 (1 TD).
Passing — Logan: Ian Frasure 13-25-1—172 (1 TD). A-C: Nate Hunter 12-21-0—164 (1 TD).
Receiving — Logan: Traten Poling 5-78, Jonny McClelland 4-45, Caden McCarty 2-25 (1 TD), Brayden Sturgell 2-24. A-C leaders: Tayvon Miller 4-83, Peyton Cassley 3-33, Andrew Harber 1-10 (1 TD).