Chiefs make big plays in final pre-season tilt
LOGAN — Seniors Bryce McBride, Isaiah Smith and Lane Little did exactly what they are expected to do — make big plays — as the Logan Chieftains hooked up with the Sheridan Generals in their final pre-season football outing Friday night.
Although Sheridan eventually won Friday's OHSAA "Jamboree" scrimmage 27-20 in Logan Chieftain Stadium, the aforementioned trio led the Purple & White to 14 quick points as Logan's first-string players outscored Sheridan's.
"We got off to a pretty fast start and I was happy with that," Logan coach Billy Burke said shortly afterward. In last Friday's scrimmage at Circleville, "we started slow but we finished well.
"I kind of have this expectation for us to be as perfect and flawless as we can be all the time, and maybe I'm a little hard on the guys about that expectation," he added, "but at the same time, that's how good I think we can be."
Then, three plays into the Chiefs' next offensive series, Little hooked up in the left flat with Smith, who made a quick move and darted down the left sideline for a 45-yard scoring play. Smith booted both extra points and Logan led 14-0 with 8:31 still to play in the opening period.
The Chiefs didn't score the rest of the half and led 14-7 at the intermission, with junior Sheridan quarterback Dylan Dupler throwing a 7-yard TD aerial to his brother, senior Connor Dupler, with less than a minute to play in the half.
After a scoreless third period, Sheridan's reserves and freshmen outscored Logan's 20-6 in the final 12 minutes for the victory. Logan's lone score came when Colton Dixon connected with fellow junior Riley Nelson on a beautiful 43-yard bomb early in the final stanza.
"We can't just be satisfied with making some plays and seeing what happens next," Burke pointed out. "That experience of making plays like we did, that's got to be something that makes us want more and more and more and more.
"I tell the kids when you show me glimpses of greatness, that's the expectation I have of us as players," he continued, "so when I see guys make plays, that's my expectation of them from there on out. That was my expectation of us in the first quarter to continue on through the game. We had a lull (afterward), but the guys are board about the expectations we have of ourselves and I'm excited to finally get going."
Little was 7-of-10 passing for 84 yards, with Smith making three receptions for 68 yards, and McBride had 79 ground yards on six attempts.
Nelson caught four passes for 70 yards in the second half, with Brady Walsh completing all three of his attempts for 27 yards and Dixon throwing his TD pass to Nelson.
There were mistakes on both sides. The Chiefs committed nine penalties — almost all of them five-yard infractions — and both teams lost a fumble.
"I wouldn't say (such mistakes) are to be expected," Burke pointed out, "but at the same time I'm not upset that they happened (because) they definitely need to get cleaned up. Guys who come out and don't make mistakes are the guys who play and guys who make mistakes have to get better and earn their opportunity.
"That what tonight was about… to figure out who is prepared to be out on the field on a Friday night," he added.
Sheridan won a freshman scrimmage 12-0 prior to the varsity game and some of those Chieftain ninth-graders also got into the varsity contest.
"The average person doesn't understand how busy and chaotic that sideline gets at times," Burke said. "You have to be ready to go in if you're number's called, the next special team has to be ready on deck to go in certain spots in a timely fashion, and some young guys who haven't got a lot of playing experience experienced that tonight."
The Chiefs play their first game of the season next Friday at Athens before hosting their next three contests — Teays Valley, Meigs and Cambridge — back in Logan Chieftain Stadium.
Look for the first of several Logan Chieftain football season preview stories in Tuesday's edition of The Logan Daily News.