Members of Chieftain Nation, can we talk? Good. Please have a seat.
When speaking of you — fans of Logan High School athletics — I use the term “Chieftain Nation” with both affection and respect. I have a tremendous amount of both for you.
That said, it pains me to have to do this. But I have something to tell you: many people — myself included — have come to the conclusion that you (well, a large number of you, anyway) have become spoiled by success.
On a personal note, I’ve known this about you for some time, Chieftain Nation. I’ve talked to many people about you, and I really thought that you might see the error of your ways… but now I think it’s time for a much-needed intervention.
(Those of you who don’t fall into this category — those of you who attend every game, or at least every one that you possibly can — are welcome to get up and leave. Those of you who don’t, well, please remain seated as I explain).
You began thinking that gridiron success was simply automatic, a given. Logan compiled a 103-28 overall record (a winning percentage of .786) and went an astounding 69-6 (.920) in league play during those 12 seasons — a run of success unparalleled in more than 100 years of Chieftain football.
But three sub-par seasons followed, during which the Chiefs went just 6-24 — compare those 24 regular-season losses in three years to 21 regular-season setbacks (plus seven playoff defeats) the previous 12 — and you, Chieftain Nation, demanded change.
You got what you wanted. Now it’s time for you to show some appreciation.
New head coach Billy Burke, his coaching staff, and a determined group of seniors have delivered for you. They’ve powered Logan to no worse than a share of the 2013 SEOAL title, and they can win the whole darn thing outright by defeating Warren Friday night in Logan Chieftain Stadium.
They’ve won five of their last seven games, and their two losses have been to 9-0 Zanesville and 8-1 Loudonville — two teams destined for the post-season playoffs — and it took another undefeated team (9-0 Caledonia River Valley) to knock Loudonville from the ranks of the unbeaten last week.
Chieftain Nation, the football team has upheld its end of the bargain; the Chiefs have brought at least a portion of the league title back to you. Now it’s time for you to deliver. It’s time for you to put up or shut up.
Friday night, Logan football fans need to turn out en masse to help the Chiefs win it outright. Chieftain Nation needs to be the proverbial 12th man. Chieftain Nation needs to show up for the season finale in Logan Chieftain Stadium, be supportively loud, and show appreciation.
When I spoke with coach Burke earlier this week, he offered up how important you, Chieftain Nation, are to Chieftains… and how important you are to, well, each other.
“This is something that’s very important to the community,” Burke said. “If it’s important to them, they’ll want to be here and celebrate along beside of us. It’s not just about us. It’s about a community that comes together for a common goal.
“We talk about playing roles; the people in the stands get excited, cheer and create energy,” he added. “That’s a role, too, in the success of a football program. Our fans give us energy for us to feed off of.”
Hear that, Chieftain Nation? You are the 12th man.
More of you should have been in Gallipolis last week. Where were you? Yes, it was cold last Friday night in the Old French City… but that still wasn’t an excuse for a disappointing turnout of Logan fans who made the trek for what amounted to a league championship game.
Heck, with the Nelsonville Bypass now open, the trip from Logan to Memorial Field in Gallipolis only takes 70 to 75 minutes (a little longer if you stop at the Shake Shoppe). More of you should have been there. The Logan stands should have been overflowing; instead, they were little more than half-full. Again, where were you?
Proud members of Chieftain Nation, if you call yourselves true Logan football fans, this is the game you need to attend. If you have season tickets, this is the game you need to attend. And even if you’re an Internet know-nothing whiner/complainer/blowhard, this is the game you need to attend.
If you don’t show up Friday night (obvious reasons such as illness, injury, family issues, work, etc. notwithstanding, of course), you’re not a true Chieftain football fan. I’d have to question your loyalty to Chieftain Nation and/or how much some of you really care, despite all your whining and moaning about the football program in recent seasons.
In my opinion, it’s kind of like politics. You may or may not like the candidates, or you may or may not support the issues — but if you don’t turn out to cast a vote, I feel you have little room to complain when the final results are tabulated.
So if you’re a Logan football fan, prove it Friday night. Turn out. Fill up the Logan side of the stadium. Overflow into the Warren side if you have to (just please don’t get into any altercations). Carpool to get to the game. Get there early and have a tailgate party. Just get there and show your support for a team that’s worked tremendously hard to make this school and community proud.
No one is going to say this Logan team is among the school’s all-time greatest when it comes to wins and losses. It’s not. But when it comes to heart and resiliency, considering all they’ve had to overcome — not only this season but in their efforts to bring the program back to its previous stature — in my book, at least, the ’13 Chiefs are an all-time top ten squad.
Considering football drives sports interest in Logan and Hocking County, this group of Chieftains has worked hard to earn — and fully deserves — your all-out support and appreciation.
And, while the downsized SEOAL admittedly isn’t very strong this season — the SEOAL won’t have a post-season playoff participant for the first time since 1998 — the five teams are competitive with each other. Warren won’t be a pushover by any means; Logan needs its 12th man.
The Chiefs have had to fight like heck to reach the cusp of attaining an outright championship — and isn’t winning a league title important? Isn’t that what you wanted, Chieftain Nation?
The answer to both questions is a resounding yes.
I know this is tough love, Chieftain Nation, but you need to get off your collective duffs and fill the stadium Friday night. Help push the Chiefs over the top. Show them you care. Make Logan proud.
And please, please don’t make me have to stage another intervention to get the point across.