Chieftain Notebook: New captains take roles as team leaders to heart
LOGAN — Earning the distinction of being a Logan Chieftain football captain is a sign of utmost respect… and seniors Chance Cox, Keith Martin and Will Brooks take those leadership roles to heart.
When he became head coach last season, Billy Burke made full-time captainship a privilege to be voted upon by players and coaches. Those interested in being a captain went through a process that concluded by getting up in front of the team and selling their teammates on why they should be considered for captaincy.
Cox, Martin and Brooks earned full-time captaincies and are joined by a rotating fourth captain who earns the honor on a weekly basis.
“I wanted them to look at me and say ‘he was a good leader’ and that he did this for Logan football team,” he added. “A lot of people put trust into a captain and it’s good to know I have trust of my teammates.”
“I wanted to instill into the younger guys that they need to have role models, and that’s what I was trying to be,” Martin said. “A lot of them tell me they looked up to me for summer lifting and everything, so when I went out to try to be a captain I explained to them about how Charlie (Paulsen) and Brock (Emerson) from last year were my role models and (that) I was going to try to be that for them… (that) I would push them and help them get better and be the best they could be.”
“Unlike some of the other guys, I never really got the chance to play on Friday nights,” Brooks said. “I’ve understood that; I’ve never been the fastest or the strongest. But I knew what I wanted to do as a captain: to be the biggest pep guy on the team. I wanted to be the one on the sidelines cheering up everyone and trying to keep everybody’s hopes and spirits up.
“Fortunately, I’ve been given the chance to also jump in on special teams and a couple offensive plays,” he continued. “I’ve been trying to push my hardest during practices and games to help my team.”
This year’s seniors hope to uphold the legacy of the LHS Class of 2014. The seniors on last year’s team, which was depleted by early-season injuries, helped the Chiefs regroup after a 1-3 start and earn Logan’s 26th Southeastern Ohio Athletic League championship.
“I took from them you have to have a lot of heart to play this game and you have to instill heart into a lot of players,” Martin said. “Those guys were really close. They played for each other and were a really tight class. That’s what I want our team to be.”
“I had a lot of experience with them as a sophomore,” Cox recalled. “They brought me into the team and made me work hard. That helped me a lot coming into my senior year even though I wasn’t around them as much (last season). They had an impact on me my sophomore year.”
“The biggest thing we can take away from those seniors was the heart they always brought,” Brooks said. “It didn’t matter if they had 20 guys injured or two; they always brought the same amount of heart to every single game and always fought through every single game as a team. They had heart and intensity and were well-bonded together.”
The three Chieftain captains don’t take being a part of Logan’s great football tradition for granted.
“Being said that I am a Logan Chieftain (means) being part of a select few who get a chance to play for this school and represent this school,” said Brooks, who also plays baseball. “Not many people get the opportunity for whatever reason to play for a football team, a baseball team, a soccer team, whatever team it is. We’ve been given the talents and the gifts to play for Logan and I would never want to play for any other school.”
“It’s a culture and it’s a pride thing,” Martin said. “Playing for Logan, we not only represent our athletics and our school but we represent the entire community. If we’re misbehaving on the team it represents our area and people will group us with our actions (like) they don’t have a lot of discipline.”
“It means a lot to be a Logan Chieftain for multiple reasons,” noted Cox, who is also a standout for the basketball team. “Friday nights, you see people out in the community who know that you are a Logan Chieftain. It’s a part of a culture and a legacy that most people don’t get to” experience.
“It’s a great honor to say I was on the Logan football team in 2014 and all the stories you can tell,” he added. “I follow in my dad’s footsteps the best I can — but I also try to make my own. He was a big part of the reason I started playing sports, hearing about him and his Logan Chieftain legacy that he had. Other people want to go out and make history.”
Playing away from home the past three weeks — the Chiefs play just their second home game of the season Friday night — makes the captains appreciate their school and Chieftain Nation even more.
“I feel pride knowing we have support from our fans and the people in our community to come out and watch us even when we’re on the road,” Martin said. “It brings a warm feeling knowing that we’re performing for them, (that) they’re watching us and we’re one giant community.”
“You walk out on the field on Friday,” Cox said, “and you think about all the blessings to be able to do it. You look in the stands and see everyone, and you think it’s awesome to have all that support whether we’re winning or losing. People want to come out and watch us. It’s one big family. We play for them and they watch us and give us their support, so we go out and try to do what we can to please them. Win or lose, they’re always there for us.”
There is one unique tradition that, without a doubt, always leaves each and every Logan football player with goose bumps and feeling the pride in being a Chieftain.
“Coming out of that ‘L’ (the block L formed by the LHS Marching Chieftains) at a home game is indescribable,” Brooks said with obvious emotion. “Being able to come running out of the ‘L,’ crashing through the banner, and looking up in the stands and seeing them packed is a feeling of complete awe.
“It’s just incredible to see the people who come out and support us,” he added. “It’s the reason we have this stadium. It’s the reason we’re here.”
Notes: Logan quarterback Lane Little has thrown at least one touchdown pass in all four games and has 11 on the season. … The Chiefs had not allowed their opponents to complete a touchdown pass until Loudonville did so in the second quarter of last Friday night’s game. … According to official OHSAA computer ratings, which were released for the first time this season on Tuesday, four regular-season Logan opponents (Jackson, Teays Valley, Loudonville and Nelsonville-York), two future Chieftain foes (Athens and Columbus DeSales, whom the Chiefs play in 2015) and all three schools the Chiefs played in pre-season scrimmages (Logan Elm, Sheridan and Circleville) would be in the playoffs. And how about the top six teams Division III Region 9? Ranked No. 1 through No. 6 are Logan Elm (4-0), Jackson (4-0), Athens (4-0), Dresden Tri-Valley (4-0), Sheridan (4-0) and DeSales (3-1). The three teams Logan scrimmaged are 11-1 thus far, with Circleville at 3-1. … The OHSAA has dropped three Columbus City League schools (Briggs, Walnut Ridge and West) from Division II to Division III and those schools have thus been removed from Logan’s playoff region (Region 5). CCL school Mifflin has been upgraded from DIII to DII and enters Region 5, which now consists of 25 teams. CCL schools were reclassified based on the actual number of boys and girls enrolled in grades 10-12 as of Sept. 10, 2014 as the result of last spring’s closure of Brookhaven High School.