Lengthy weather delay not enough to deter Chiefs
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Logan scores 21 points during stretch in which Teays Valley doesn't run an offensive play in beating Vikings 27-7 on stormy Friday night
By CRAIG DUNN Sports Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
LOGAN — Let's face it: Mother Nature is undefeated… and always will be.
But it's what the Logan Chieftains did after they and the Teays Valley Vikings waited out a lengthy weather delay Friday night that, for the Purple & White, resulted in the only victory they truly cared about.
The Chiefs scored the game's first 27 points — including a 21-point first-half stretch during which the Vikings never ran a single offensive play — and defeated the Pickaway Countians 27-7 in Logan Chieftain Stadium.
Mother Nature kicked up a fuss throughout much of Ohio Friday night: thunder, lightning and rain forced football delays and cancellations all over the state.
The Chiefs (2-0) and Vikings (1-1) didn't kick off until 8:50 p.m. — well past the planned 7 p.m. opening boot — and didn't finish until 11:20.
"Crazy things (such as Friday night's weather delay) happen at odd times and you have to be able to handle that adversity," he added, "and we had to be able to handle that adversity at the beginning of the game."
The Chiefs used their funky, unpredictable kickoff game — and a costly Teays Valley miscue — to throw 21 points on the board while keeping the ball from the 6:51 mark of the opening period until 10:59 remained in the second stanza.
Quarterback Lane Little connected with fellow senior Isaiah Smith when he rolled out to the right side and found Smith in the near right corner of the end zone for a 11-yard touchdown that completed a nine-play, 59-yard drive with 2:22 left in the first period.
The Vikings then fumbled away the ensuing kickoff and the Purple & White recovered at the Teays Valley 11.
Following a Teays Valley penalty, Bryce McBride went up the middle and bulled his way into the end zone from six yards out to make it 12-0 just 16 seconds after the Chiefs' first touchdown.
Having had an extra point kick blocked after the first TD, the Chiefs went for two after the second tally and Little scrambled right, cut back hard to the left — sending a couple pursuing TV defenders sprawling — and went back to the left, outraced the Viking defense and got in just inside the pylon to make it 14-0.
The Chiefs then successfully executed an onside kick for the second-straight week — a wedge of players basically bowled over the front line of the TV return team — and recovered at the Teays Valley 49.
Six plays later, McBride scored on a 5-yard run and Smith added the PAT kick for a 21-0 Logan edge 61 seconds into the second period.
"We're trying to win all facets of the game out there, and that kickoff team, that's certainly a weapon," Burke said. "We still have to address some things on our PAT team (Logan had two such kicks blocked), there's no doubt about that, but it's nice to have that weapon with the kickoff team."
With Logan owning possession of the ball — the Chiefs had the ball for 17:05 of the first 24 minutes, and then added a seven-minute possession early in the third quarter that didn't result in any points — the Vikings simply didn't have much time with it.
And when they did, the Chiefs basically bottled them up to the point that quarterback Drew Pennington (166 rushing yards on 19 carries) was the only player who had any kind of success.
Teays Valley only had two first downs the first three-plus quarters.
"One of the hard things about playing defense in this day and age is you see such a variety of offenses," Burke stated. "Seeing things that go back and forth dramatically different, I have to give our kids credit, too. We switched gears and had to face a team that wanted to run the football and had a very athletic, running quarterback.
"We had some kids step up and step in and make plays," he continued, "and a lot of credit goes to those guys on the defensive line. I think we did a really good job of playing our keys and reading our keys and doing our job on the defensive line, which made life a lot easier for those guys on the back end."
And it helps when the other team basically hardly gets to play any offense.
"To be honest, the best defense is an offense that stays on the field," Burke surmised. "You don't give another offense an opportunity to have the football, and we did that on our kickoff team and did that on our offense and we just kept the ball, which doesn't allow an opposing offense to really get into a rhythm. That really benefitted us tonight.
"I've heard a fantastic high school football coach in Ohio say if you can keep the ball away from the opposing offense for as much as you can, and you can put your defense into great position by doing it, that's the way to win football games," he added. "Throwing the football is neat, but you have to maintain possession and keep the other team away from the football."
"We won the second half 7-6… but we spotted them 21 points in the beginning (with the fumble) and the onside kickoff," Teays Valley coach Mark Weber said. "There's your 21 points. The (Teays Valley) defense had two big picks, but we just couldn't keep (Logan) from surging from those turnovers. Those are momentum (plays) in high school. Fourteen to 21 points is momentum.
"Our guys played hard and played to the very end," he added. "Up front they were just bigger and better than us. They earned the 21 points, but we put ourselves (in a position) where they only had to go a short field to get the 21 points. We didn't win field position the first half."
It was a long evening for the Vikings — both on the road to the game and at the stadium once they arrived — but Weber refused to use that as an excuse.
"We sat in traffic — there was a traffic jam for an hour-and-a-half (on U.S. Route 33), and we sat here for two hours — but you know, they were sitting too, so I'm not going to use that as an excuse," Weber said.
"They're probably a playoff team. They could possibly run their schedule," he added. "They're a good team. We're going to get better from this game, for sure."
The Chiefs made it 27-0 early in the fourth period on a five-play, 60-yard drive that spilled over from the third quarter.
Keyed by a 38-yard run by McBride — who finished with 171 rushing yards on 29 carries — the Chiefs got deep into Teays Valley territory but were faced with fourth-and-eight from the Viking 15.
Little threw deep into the back right of the end zone and found junior Jenson Wallace, who somehow made the catch and got a foot inbounds while being knocked down, to complete a game-breaking 15-yard scoring play with 11:40 remaining.
The Vikings then averted being shut out with an 11-play, 65-yard scoring drive. Pennington more or less accounted for just about all of the yardage, including runs of 16 and 36 yards, before the Vikings converted a fourth-and-two situation inside the Logan 5-yard line.
Nathan Cornett then scored the Vikings' lone touchdown on a 1-yard run up the middle with 5:49 remaining to ruin Logan's shutout. But considering the Chiefs gave up 473 total yards and 49 points in winning their season opener last Friday night at Athens, allowing just seven points to a quality team seven days later was certainly just fine Friday night.
With a second-straight win to open the season, the Chieftains square their sights on the Meigs Marauders, who knocked off Amanda-Clearcreek 42-27 Friday night and will thus bring a 2-0 record to Hocking County next week for their first-ever game in Logan Chieftain Stadium.
Burke was confident there would not be a letdown last night after the Chiefs won their first season opener in six years last week… and he remains confident that won't happen again next week, either.
"This is a team win tonight — the kids played both sides of the football (and) played special teams," Burke said. "This is about winning a football game as a team.
"When you come off a tough loss or a big victory or you play well against a good opponent, there's always that fear of the next week," he added, "but I'm not worried about this senior class getting us ready to play. I trust they are going to be ready to come out and play every week, and for two weeks now we've shown that."