Chieftain Notebook: Arnett, Stilwell among players who are stepping up for Chiefs
LOGAN — Senior Brandon Arnett and junior Colton Stilwell enjoyed breakout games against Gallia Academy last week… and getting more contributions from them will be vital Friday night when the short-handed Logan Chieftains visit Warren for their season finale.
Arnett was inserted into the backfield for the first time this season and scored his first offensive touchdown on a 1-yard run. He was also involved in six tackles (three solo) with a tackle for loss while both causing and recovering a Gallipolis fumble.
Of the 10 fumbles Chieftain foes have lost this season, Arnett has recovered five of them.
Then, in the fourth period, Stilwell blocked a Gallipolis punt in the end zone that set up Dean Jordan’s game-clinching 1-yard scoring run.
(After watching game films over the weekend, Logan coaches determined it was Stilwell, not Arnett, who blocked the Gallipolis punt and that Stilwell had actually picked up the earlier loose punt at the 48-yard line and not the 43 as reported last Saturday).
Both will have expanded roles Friday night. With the absence of Bryce McBride, Stilwell will see more playing time at linebacker and Arnett will likely get some additional carries at running back in relief of Jordan, who will carry the ball the majority of the time in McBride’s absence.
That’s also a testament to what McBride — the team’s leading rusher and second-leading tackler — means to the Chieftains. He was All-SEOAL as a sophomore last season and was a rare freshman letterman in 2012.
Shutout slips away: If it weren’t for a fluky, deflected 66-yard fourth-quarter touchdown pass, the Chiefs would have posted their first shutout in four years last week.
Logan’s last shutout was a 13-0 blanking of visiting Marietta on Sept. 24, 2010 — a school-record 44 games ago. Prior to the current streak, the longest Logan had gone without blanking an opponent was a 35-game stretch from 2003 to 2006.
Passing dad: With five receptions last Friday, senior Chance Cox passed his father, Eric, for eighth place on the all-time single-season pass receptions list. Chance now has 41 catches to surpass his dad, who had 38 in 1994.
Whether he’ll add to that total in Friday’s finale is up in the air, however, because Cox is expected to get the bulk of the snaps at quarterback in place of suspended starter Lane Little.
Smith streaking: The Chiefs’ second-leading receiver, junior Isaiah Smith, tied Isaac Lindsey for tenth place on that same single-season list when he reached the 36-reception mark last week.
In addition, Smith is currently riding a streak in which he’s caught a pass in 15 consecutive games, placing him third on that all-time list behind Mason Mays (24) and Lindsey (20). Smith passed Chance’s dad, Eric (12) for third place a few weeks ago at Jackson.
Playoff tickets punched: It’s no secret that Logan’s five losses have been to quality opponents.
Jackson (9-0), Loudonville (9-0) and Teays Valley (7-2) have clinched post-season playoff berths, according to well-respected and highly-accurate playoff points guru Joe Eitel of joeeitel.com. Jackson is ranked No. 8 in this week’s Associated Press Division III state poll while Loudonville climbed to No. 2 in Division VI.
Lancaster (6-3) can finish 7-3 by beating Newark in a rivalry game Friday night but may very well miss the Division I Region 2 playoffs even though 16 teams make the post-season in each of the two Division I regions. The Gales are currently No. 19 in Region 2 but don’t stand to make up much ground even with a win over 2-7 Newark.
And don’t forget that Zanesville’s (4-5) five losses have been to Division III foes that are all in the top 10 in Region 9 and fighting it out for post-season berths. All five, who have a combined record of 39-6, could make the playoffs.
Unbeaten Tri-Valley (9-0) and Athens (9-0), as well as twice-defeated Dover (7-2), have clinched post-season berths, and New Philadelphia (7-2) can bust the post-season party by beating Dover tomorrow night.
And Sheridan (7-2), which also beat ZHS, is currently sitting tenth in the region. The Generals can still break into the top eight by beating New Lexington (5-4) and getting a little bit of outside help.
Playoff outskirts: One of Logan’s four victories is over a possible post-season participant as well.
Nelsonville-York (7-2) is currently sitting fifth in Division VI Region 21 and, according to Eitel, controls its own destiny — basically, “win and in” — when it comes to making the playoffs.
“Win and in” is never as simple as it sounds, of course — but for the Buckeyes, the task may be nearly impossible: they host Athens in both a rivalry game and a showdown for the Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division championship.
How difficult will that task be? Looking at it on paper in one way, there’s a separation of 81 points between the two teams.
Athens — which averages 63.2 points per game — won 66-28 at Zanesville; Zanesville won 24-14 at Logan, and Logan defeated Nelsonville-York 40-7 in a game in which the clock ran continuously the entire second half due to the 30-point-differential rule.
Don’t be surprised to see Athens — which played a pair of playoff games in Logan Chieftain Stadium last fall — make one or two return trips to Logan High School in mid-November.
Nearly every potential Division III Region 9 neutral-site game — an Athens-Tri-Valley rematch or what would be a dream local matchup between Athens and Jackson — could be played in Logan Chieftain Stadium in weeks 12 and/or 13.
What might have been: The final week of the regular season might as well be called “what-if?” week. It’s when coaches, fans, players, administrators and mathematicians alike try to figure out all the post-season playoff scenarios.
Unfortunately, the Chiefs will be on the outside looking in for a fifth-straight season. However, had they beaten Lancaster and Teays Valley in their opening two games, they would likely be looking to wrap up a Division II Region 5 playoff berth Friday night.
Region 5 is not overly strong this season — with the exception of Olentangy (9-0) and Watkins Memorial (8-1), every team has at least two losses — and a 6-3 Logan team would have been in fourth place going into Friday’s finale at Warren.
The Chiefs lost 43-42 (double-overtime) and 44-40 heartbreakers to Lancaster and Teays Valley, respectively, at the outset of the season.
Considering Logan led the Gales 42-35 in the second OT (the Gales scored a TD then, instead of attempting a potential game-tying extra point kick, went for the win with a 2-point conversion and got it), and led the Vikings by 10 points with less than seven minutes remaining, a playoff scenario involving the Chiefs was very much a possibility even with losses to undefeated Loudonville or Jackson.
While Logan rose to a season-best 12th place in this week’s official OHSAA computer rankings, the Chiefs are mathematically eliminated from post-season contention.
By using “football computer ranking examples” on the OHSAA webpage — something many people with teams in the playoff hunt are doing this week — and figuring in all the “what-if?” factors, the Chiefs would have (unofficially) 17.5944 points had they beaten Lancaster and Teays Valley.
Wooster (17.8722) would be third, Logan (17.5944) fourth, Teays Valley (17.1889) fifth and Dublin Scioto (16.95) sixth. Teays Valley would drop from its current third-place standing.
In that scenario — and if the playoffs started this week — the fourth-place Chiefs would get a rematch with fifth-place Teays Valley in Logan Chieftain Stadium.
But Logan also wouldn’t necessarily be in Eitel’s unofficial “control own destiny” playoff status column going into Friday night, either, because Warren is just 1-8 and the Chiefs don’t stand to garner many computer points from a win over the Warriors.
Of the teams the Chiefs would have beaten (again, in the scenario of having beaten Lancaster and Teays Valley), two of them (Nelsonville-York against unbeaten Athens and Gallipolis against undefeated Jackson) would be highly unlikely to win and pull in extra points.
While none of the other four (Lancaster vs. Newark, Teays Valley vs. Bloom-Carroll, Portsmouth vs. Cincinnati Hughes and Meigs vs. Alexander) would be shoo-ins for victory, all would either be favored to win or they would at least be pick-‘em games.
Ah, yes, “what if…”.
Ogg playoff bound, for sure: At least one person with Logan football connections is assured of being playoff-bound this fall.
Former Chieftain football player and 1997 Logan High School graduate Johnathan Ogg is a defensive assistant coach for the Olentangy Braves, which leads Logan’s Division II Region 5.
Olentangy hosts 3-6 Delaware Friday night having already clinched both a first-round home game and the region’s No. 1 seed. A win would mark the Braves’ first undefeated season since 1957.
The Olentangy defense is allowing only 15.2 points per game this season — second only to Watkins Memorial (9.4) among the 25 teams in Region 5.