Chieftain Notebook: Offense gives opponents more things to prepare for
LOGAN — After having rushed for just 143 yards the first two games of the season — 70 of them on one play — last week’s 455 ground yards at Meigs were a welcome site for the Chieftains.
Not just because of the numbers, of course, but because it showed that the Chiefs, despite being a predominantly passing team, are more than capable of running the football and can offer a balanced attack for opposing defenses to worry about.
It’s probably best to say, however, that they’re still in the process of establishing a running game rather than saying that it’s flat-out in place. Logan coach Billy Burke stresses the Chiefs are still a work in progress.
“When you have a quarterback as capable as Lane (Little) and quality receivers like we have, sometimes it’s easy to get discouraged and/or excited and want to come up with the big play since you have that capability in the passing game,” he added. “But all in all, teams who can run the football generally do better than teams who can only throw the football.”
The Chiefs certainly ran the ball well last week.
Running backs Bryce McBride (227 yards) and Dean Jordan (109) both busted a long scoring run and cleared the century mark, and reserve Corey Wilson (82) nearly reached triple-figures during running-clock time in the second half.
McBride was already on the all-time Chieftain list for single-game rushing yardage — he had 223 against Portsmouth last season as a sophomore — and his 227 yards last Friday tied him for the 22nd-best single-game performance in school history.
And, had Wilson gained 18 more yards, he, Jordan and McBride would have went down in school history as only the second trio to run for at least 100 yards in a single game. Bob Thomas (177), Eddie Joe Grandy (105) and Bob Emerson (101) accomplished that feat against Athens in 1952.
“If you have a strong running game, it can dictate what the opposing defenses can do,” Burke surmised. “And as I’ve told the kids before, what’s really demoralizing as a defense is when they know you’re going to run the football and they can’t stop it as opposed to big plays you generate in the passing game. You know they’re going to run and they’re still getting six and seven and eight yards every time they do anyway.
“We were able to do what we wanted to do from an offensive standpoint (against Meigs) and we also played pretty good defense against a team that’s pretty talented on offense as well,” he added, “so overall we’re pretty happy with our performance on Friday.”
Making the trip?: If you’re planning to make the 90-to-95 mile trip to Loudonville (and if not, The Logan Daily News is… and you’ll get all the game details in Saturday’s edition), the Logan-Hocking School District’s transportation department advises that portions of state routes 3 and 13 in the Loudonville area are closed due to various construction projects.
There are several other routes — but no real simple way — to Loudonville High School, which take from two-plus to two-and-a-half hours.
We’re not going to give specific directions in this space because, well, we don’t want you making a wrong turn and ending up in Toledo or Cleveland on our account.
Please either call ahead, check with a reliable travel source, or get detailed instructions off a reliable Internet map service — and, if at all possible, leave as early as you possibly can if, like this author, you’re unfamiliar with the area.
However, you can also rest assured knowing this is the only time the Chiefs will be making this trip. The two-year home-and-home contract expires after this game and will not be renewed.
Cambridge (home in 2015 and away in 2016) will be the Chiefs’ week-four foe the next two seasons. While Cambridge High School, located in Guernsey County, isn’t just around the block — it’s around 70 miles from Logan — it’ll be much easier to reach basically by jumping on I-70.
Playoffs? Playoffs?: A pair of heartbreaking, season-opening losses to Lancaster and Teays Valley haven’t closed the Division II playoff door on the Chieftains.
Only three DII Region 5 teams — Lewis Center Olentangy, Teays Valley and Watkins Memorial — have started the season 3-0, and it would be a huge shock if any of those teams went 10-0.
In addition, only nine Region 5 teams have started out 2-1, and most of them are destined for at least another loss or two because many of them play each other as well as the three undefeated teams.
A victory at undefeated Loudonville would certainly be a huge boost to the Chiefs’ post-season aspirations.
Out of 27 teams in Division II Region 5, only one — Hamilton Township (2-1) — has scored more points than the Chieftains. The Rangers have scored 140 points, with Logan (137) second in the region. Meanwhile, seven Region 5 teams have allowed more than the Chiefs’ 94 points.
One last look back: In 14 all-time meetings — the last, until last week, being in 1982 — Logan and Meigs had almost always played tight, defensive games.
With the exception of Logan’s 44-3 victory in 1976, neither team had scored more than 28 points in a single game. Logan averaged 10.9 points per game to 10.2 for the Marauders.
Needless to say, 55 points is the Chiefs’ all-time best against the Marauders and the 48-point-differential is the all-time high for the series.
State rankings: While Loudonville is the only Logan regular-season foe ranked in the inaugural Associated Press poll of the season, several other teams of Chieftain Nation interest cracked this week’s AP lists.
Athens, which has played three-consecutive running-clock games and outscored its opposition 187-34 — the Bulldogs hadn’t even been forced to punt until the second half of last week’s 69-6 rout of Warren — is rated No. 3 in Division III.
Both teams the Bulldogs played in playoff games last season in Logan Chieftain Stadium — Dresden Tri-Valley (tied for 11th) and Columbus Marion-Franklin (tied for 19th) — are also in the DIII poll, as well as Sheridan (21st), whom the Chiefs played in the pre-season OHSAA Jamboree exhibition game.
Sheridan (3-0), which has outscored its first three foes 128-13, blanked week-eight Logan foe Zanesville 15-0 last week.
Columbus Ready (3-0), which played in the first-ever neutral-site playoff game in Logan Chieftain Stadium back in 2008, is rated No. 2 in Division VI while defending state Division VII runner-up Trimble (3-0) is ranked No. 2 in D7.
Noteworthy: Junior Josh Rardain also blocked the punt that he recovered for a fourth-quarter touchdown last week at Meigs … Freshman Brady Walsh, who had been playing on special teams for the varsity, sustained a wrist/arm injury in last Saturday's ninth-grade game against Warren and is out indefinitely. He is the son of defensive coordinator Pat Walsh ... Linebacker Domonic Micochero’s playing status won’t be determined until Friday while linebacker Caleb Lewellen is expected to be able to play. Both missed the Meigs game with concussion symptoms … Three teams who will be on Logan’s 2015 schedule — Athens, Cambridge and Columbus DeSales — are off to a combined 7-2 start, with Cambridge and DeSales both 2-1. They will replace Lancaster, Loudonville and Zanesville, respectively, next fall.