Two in a row! Chiefs handle Panthers for second-straight win
By CRAIG DUNN
LOGAN — It would have been very easy for the Logan Chieftains to throw up their hands and give up on the football season just a couple weeks ago.
But because they didn’t, Friday night’s traditional Senior Walk across the Logan Chieftain Stadium turf was more joyous than sad.
The Chiefs turned a Maysville turnover just 14 seconds into the game into eight points and they maintained control the rest of the night in closing out their home schedule with a 26-13 victory over the visiting Panthers.
After losing their first seven games, including the worst loss in school history two weeks ago at Big Walnut, the Purple & White (2-7) have now put together back-to-back wins.
Friday night’s victory could also wind up being their 2020 swan song.
The Chiefs were scheduled to visit Sheridan for their season finale next week, but that game has been canceled after the Generals knocked off Columbus Watterson 28-20 in a Division III playoff game last night.
Since Sheridan advances to a regional semifinal next Friday at Columbus Hartley, the Chiefs will be in limbo for a few days while they see if a replacement opponent will become available next week.
Caden McCarty, one of those seniors who took the traditional walk, rushed for 163 yards on 25 carries, scored twice and blocked a kick to power the winners.
Fellow senior Ian Frasure threw a touchdown pass to junior Traten Poling and added a pair of 2-point conversion runs and sophomore Zach Chapin booted a 37-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter as Logan took a 19-0 halftime advantage.
“This is two weeks in a row where I really feel like we played inspired football,” said Logan coach Mike Eddy, whose Chiefs broke that season-opening seven-game losing streak by blasting Columbus East 50-6 last Friday. “Last week before we took the field everything just started to feel different, and that carried over into tonight.
“I thought we did a great job being able to control the game with our offense,” he added, “and the defense played really well minus one physical error where a guy falls down and another one where (a defender) jumps the wrong route. Other than that, I thought we played extremely consistent there.
“The Panthers always have dangerous special teams and I thought we were solid on that side as well. We did a great job of being able to punt the ball and change field position at times and make them drive the length of the field.”
Logan downed the Panthers (3-6) for a second-straight season by maintaining possession of the ball (a whopping 30:45 to 17:15 edge in time of possession) and grinding out carries (52) and yardage (246) on the ground.
“We had a situation where we drove the ball 92 yards,” Eddy noted. “That’s the level of consistency that we hadn’t seen earlier” in the season.
“It was like, finally, we were exiting that ‘Twilight Zone’ that we talked about earlier in the year,” he added with a laugh underneath his face covering, “and now, those kind of things are going in our favor instead of always against us.”
That certainly wasn’t the case most of the season.
“It just seemed that every negative situation that occurred was always in the other team’s favor, and tonight that was different,” Eddy pointed out. “We were the ones that were making those plays happen and not hanging our heads being afraid of when it was going to happen to us. We were out making things happen. It was a completely different mentality.”
The Chiefs forced Maysville quarterback Kaiden Hall to fumble the ball away on the Panthers’ very first play from scrimmage and, two plays later, McCarty took a pitch off left end and went 20 yards to paydirt without being touched to put the Chiefs on the board. Frasure added the ensuing 2-point conversion run.
As Eddy mentioned, Logan put together a 92-yard scoring drive, which started late in the opening period, lasting 14 plays and nearly six minutes while spilling over into the second stanza.
A 22-yard slant pass from Frasure to fellow senior Brandon Heft helped the Chiefs reach the Maysville 16-yard line. Three plays later, on fourth-and-seven, Frasure rolled left and threw a jump pass to Poling, who made the reception and bulled his way into the end zone inside the near-left pylon with 10:25 remaining in the half.
Another Frasure 2-point run made it a 16-0 advantage for the good guys.
Maysville only crossed midfield once in the first half, and that possession ended when Brayden Sturgell recovered a Panther fumble at the Logan 9-yard line midway through the second stanza.
A 51-yard punt by Frasure helped get the Chiefs out of field-position trouble after they went three-and out on offense. Then, after Maysville was unsuccessful on a fake punt, Logan got the ball on the MHS 30 with just 54 seconds left in the half.
A 13-yard Frasure-to-Poling pass helped Logan reach the Maysville 20 and Chapin came on with 1.9 seconds left to attempt a 37-yard field goal. Maysville called a time-out to freeze him, but it didn’t do any good as he drilled the kick, with the clock expiring as the ball was in the air, to make it 19-0.
The Panthers were able to pull within 19-7 when Hall connected with Logan Smith on a slant pass over the middle a little more than halfway through the third period. A Chieftain defender fell down and Smith was able to convert an easy catch into a 21-yard scoring play that pulled Maysville within 19-7 with 4:22 left in the third stanza.
Logan got that score back early in the final period, however, when McCarty took the ball on a third-and-10 counter up the middle. He found a seam, made a terrific move to fake a Maysville defender out of his shoes and socks, and went 43 yards for six points and a 26-7 Chieftain lead with 10:07 remaining.
The Panthers cashed in a seven-play, 70-yard drive when a missed coverage resulted in a Hall-to-Smith 46-yard pass-and-run to the Logan 1-yard line, with Hall then sneaking over for the TD with 8:17 left.
McCarty broke through and blocked the ensuing PAT kick, giving him five blocks on the season (PATs, field goals and punts), which is believed to be a school record.
After a change of possessions, the Chiefs took over with 4:42 remaining and McCarty and Frasure carried the ball on eight-consecutive plays to pick up three first downs and exhaust Maysville’s allotment of timeouts before running out the clock. Frasure twice kneeled in victory formation to close out the win.
“You could see it tonight on the field: that group of seniors really led us in some really big situations, just the way we were able to grind out those last couple of first downs,” Eddy said. “It would have been easy, being a little bit banged up, being a little bit tired, to give them the ball back and have to go play defense, but between 10 (Frasure) and 24 (McCarty) we were able to keep the chains moving.
“Caden got pretty banged up on that last drive and we couldn’t keep giving him the ball, even though he wanted it, so we ran Frasure in there and then came back to” McCarty, he added. “It was a very gutsy performance by all of those guys. We’re just really proud of them.”
The Chiefs were thus flush with victory when they made their traditional post-game Senior Walk, easily the most emotional moment of the season for Logan twelfth-grade graders.
“This is such a great group of young men,” praised Eddy. “As we’ve talked about before, the expectations were so high for them, and for them to have the adversity and the struggle that they had at the beginning of the year, what a tremendous way to finish their last home game. As coach (Kelly) Wolfe and I joked there at the end of the game, ‘hey, we’re on a win streak!’”
So the Chiefs will either finish their season with a 2-7 slate and that two-game winning streak or they will play one last game yet to be determined. Either way, the mere fact the Chiefs (and other Ohio football teams) even made it to this point while dealing with COVID-19 issues is a miracle in itself.
“Being able to play nine games is more than I think most people ever expected was going to happen this year,” Eddy said, “so from that standpoint it has been a blessing, because whether you’re sitting here at 0-9 or 9-0, the experience, the life lessons that these young men learned throughout the course of this struggle that is a football season, those are lessons that you don’t get anywhere else.
“These guys are proof that you can learn from those things and grow from those things and be strengthened by those things and still finish with a positive situation,” he added.
That 62-0 week-seven playoff loss at Big Walnut would have been enough to destroy a lot of football teams, but the Chieftains simply wouldn’t allow that to happen.
“It just comes back to the mental toughness these guys have shown all year and the leadership they showed to the underclassmen,” Eddy said. “You just don’t give up. You show up, you work as hard as you can every day, you stay as positive as you can and just keep working. Sometimes hard work is all you’ve got.
“I just can’t say enough about them,” he added. “We’re very proud for those guys to be able to go out with a win. We talked before the game that this might be the last time you ever wear a purple jersey. Are you going to be proud of what you do in it? And for the most part I think that’s exactly how those guys will walk away tonight. They’ll be proud of everything they’ve accomplished.
“Even though we may not have as many W’s as they wanted to have, I think with everything they’ve been through there’s a lot of things that they can be proud of. I’m sure they will be.”
Chieftain Nation will be, too.
Logan 26, Maysville 13
Maysville 0 0 7 6—13
Logan 8 11 0 7—26
Logan: Caden McCarty 20 run (Ian Frasure run), 11:27, 1Q
Logan: Traten Poling 13 pass from Frasure (Frasure run), 10:25, 2Q
Logan: Zach Chapin 37 field goal, 0:00, 2Q
Maysville: Logan Smith 21 pass from Kaiden Hall (Sammy Scott kick), 4:22, 3Q
Logan: McCarty 43 run (Chapin kick), 10:07, 4Q
Maysville: Hall 1 run (kick blocked), 8:17, 4Q
Team Statistics MAY LO
First Downs 11 15
Offensive Plays 46 65
Rushes-Yards 28-112 52-246
Passing Yards 121 52
Total Yards 233 298
Passes 11-18-0 4-13-0
Punts-Avg. 3-39.0 6-36.2
Fumbles-Lost 2-2 0-0
Penalties-Yards 2-10 7-70
Possession 17:15 30:45
Rushing — Logan: Caden McCarty 25-163 2TD, Ian Frasure 17-68, Traten Poling 7-22, team 3-(-7). Maysville leaders: Hayden Jarrett 9-77, Kaiden Hall 15-21 1TD.
Passing — Logan: Ian Frasure 4-13-0—52 1TD. Maysville: Kaiden Hall 11-18-0—121 1TD.
Receiving — Logan: Traten Poling 2-26 1TD, Brandon Heft 1-22, Henry Pierce 1-4. Maysville leaders: Logan Smith 4-69 1TD, Cade Searls 2-13, Hayden Jarrett 2-12.