Unbeaten Bulldogs solid on defense in blanking Chiefs, 14-0
By CRAIG DUNN
LOGAN — Those who may not have believed Bloom-Carroll’s defense was for real might want to reconsider.
The Logan Chieftains knew they had their work cut out for them in a lot of ways going into Friday night’s first-ever football matchup with the Bulldogs, in which B-C’s defense proved dominant as the Fairfield Countians blanked the Purple & White 14-0 in Logan Chieftain Stadium.
In a matchup of two teams going in opposite 2020 directions, the Bulldogs, ranked No. 2 in this week’s inaugural Associated Press Division IV poll of the season, are off to a 4-0 start while the Chiefs are now 0-4.
Going into the Chiefs’ final possession of the night — Logan’s lone possession of the fourth quarter — Bloom-Carroll’s ‘D’ had held Logan offense to a meager two first downs and 32 total yards.
That 54-yard drive, which turned out to be Logan’s best of the evening, ended on an interception in the end zone by Bloom-Carroll’s Beau Wisecarver.
It was Logan’s first shutout loss since the Purple & White absorbed back-to-back home-field blankings in week eight (48-0 to Garfield Heights) and week nine (14-0 to Columbus Watterson) late in the 2018 season.
The Bulldogs, who have now outscored their first four opponents 92-7 — only Amanda-Clearcreek scored against B-C in a 34-7 Bulldog win last week — entered the game allowing only 203 yards per game, 130 of those on the ground.
Logan finished with just 86 yards rushing and 28 passing Friday night for 114 total yards.
The Chieftains tried their best to establish a running game against the Bulldogs, but that just didn’t materialize.
“We said all week we feel like we should be able to have a good, strong running game this year and we haven’t established that yet,” said Logan coach Mike Eddy. “We haven’t shown that we can just line up and run the ball. We put a lot of emphasis on that this week, and then when we did want to throw the ball we were a little bit off-target tonight.”
Only once did the Purple & White get double-figure yardage on an offensive play — B-C ran 67 grind-it-out offensive plays to just 41 for Logan — that being an 11-yard pass completion from Ian Frasure to Henry Pierce on that final Logan offensive drive.
“We just weren’t as consistent as we needed to be in every phase of the game,” Eddy pointed out. “Week after week after week these kids are coming out here and grinding and playing so hard. They’re doing everything their coaches are asking them to do…and that’s what makes it disheartening and makes it frustrating.
“But you have to get back up,” he added. “It’s like a great prize-fighter: when that bell rings you have to go back in the center of the ring. That’s what we’re doing. Our kids are doing that. They’re showing up every day and working really hard. We just have to keep improving and become more consistent in what we’re doing.”
It didn’t help matters that one of Logan’s primary weapons, junior Traten Poling — who has accounted for four of Logan’s six touchdowns this season (two rushing and two receiving) — was out with an ankle injury he sustained late in the week, forcing a big change in the Chiefs’ approach. His loss took a huge component out of what the Logan offense could do against an already-stout B-C defense.
“And that’s such a huge component,” Eddy said. “He was our player of the game from last week. He creates a threat in the run game in our jet package and our perimeter run. We didn’t have any of those pieces tonight.
“I think it was obvious, it was noticeable, that we had to call the game a little bit differently because we didn’t have that piece,” he continued. “A lot other guys did a tremendous job stepping up and trying to account for that loss…but in reality, you don’t replace somebody of that caliber. We just had to do the best we could with trying to disguise some things a little bit differently and create some opportunities.”
That’s where Pierce, a talented junior on both sides of the ball, stepped up.
“We threw so much on Henry Pierce’s plate this week on short notice,” Eddy revealed. “We’d been building a package for Henry to be in the backfield a little bit but we never expected him to have to do as much as he had to do tonight on short notice. What a great job by him.”
Logan’s defense wasn’t bad Friday night, but the Bulldogs put together a great game-opening drive (13 plays, 76 yards, 5:12 of clock time) and took advantage of some great field position created by their punt team late in the second quarter to get what turned out to be an insurance score.
At the end of that game-opening drive, with his team facing fourth-and-14 from the Logan 26-yard line, Benedict hauled off and threw long into the back of the end zone for McConnaughey, who made a terrific catch just before going out of bounds with 6:48 left in the opening period.
B-C’s defense then dictated the remainder of the game. Six Logan possessions wound up being 1, 2, 3, kick.
Logan did get to the B-C 33 early in the second period, but Anthony Clark picked off an Ian Frasure pass to get the ‘Dogs out of trouble.
The Chiefs forced Bloom-Carroll to punt on three-straight series, but the latter kick — a 40-yarder by Evan Willet that B-C downed on the Logan 1-yard line — was huge late in the first half.
Logan went three-and-out and, after punting back to the Bulldogs, B-C took over on the Logan 41-yard line with 1:19 left in the second stanza.
B-C then did a terrific job running its two-minute offense — the Bulldogs burned the last of their time-outs while forcing the Chiefs to punt on the previous series — and, converting a key third-and-seven along the way (a 14-yard pass from Benedict to Drew Angelo), got inside the Logan 20.
Faced with third-and-two from the Logan 16 with under 20 seconds left, Benedict found Wisecarver over the middle, and the junior receiver took advantage of a missed Logan tackle to find his way into the end zone with just 13.5 seconds left in the half.
Chase Alwood’s second-straight successful placement kick gave the Bulldogs a 14-0 intermission lead that, with the B-C defense leading the way, actually proved to be somewhat comfortable.
The Chiefs were forced into three-straight three-and-out possessions in the third quarter before putting together that late drive that ended with Wisecarver’s end-zone interception.
Despite the shutout and just 114 total yards, Eddy saw improvement that was harder to discern due to the suffocating defense Bloom-Carroll played across the line of scrimmage.
“I thought our offensive line continued to get better,” Eddy said. “I thought we had some opportunities tonight, but we just haven’t been consistent in every phase of the game.”
It’s important to point out that the first four teams on Logan’s revamped COVID-19 schedule — Jackson (4-0), B-C (4-0), Amanda-Clearcreek (3-1) and Warren (3-1) — are a combined 14-2 thus far. Those four teams went 4-0 last night, outscoring their opponents 141-32 in so doing. Warren shut out future Logan foe Meigs 41-0.
Logan’s next two games before the playoffs in week seven are next Friday at Logan Elm (2-2) and the following Friday at Watkins Memorial (1-3), with late-season games scheduled against Meigs (2-2), Maysville (1-3) and undefeated Sheridan (4-0).
“We’re playing some really good football teams,” Eddy stated. “Sometimes it doesn’t show how good I think this football team is. We just have to keep trying every week and prove that we are that team.”
COVID-19 concerns caused havoc for a couple former Logan football opponents on Friday.
Early in the day, Gallia Academy’s game at Coal Grove had to be cancelled due to a COVID-19 outbreak at Coal Grove High School, leaving LHS graduate and GAHS head coach Alex Penrod looking for a replacement game on short notice.
Later in the day the Wellston Golden Rockets unexpectedly found themselves available as well and agreed to host Gallia Academy this evening in Wellston.
Wellston’s Tri-Valley Conference game against Athens had to be called off late in the day due to a positive COVID-19 test within the Athens program.
Bloom-Carroll 14, Logan 0
B-C 7 7 0 0—14
Logan 0 0 0 0-- 0
Bloom-Carroll: Jake McConnaughey 26 pass from KJ Benedict (Chase Alwood kick), 6:48, 1Q
Bloom-Carroll: Beau Wisecarver 16 pass from Benedict (Alwood kick), 0:13.5, 2Q
Team Statistics B-C LO
First Downs 18 6
Offensive Plays 67 41
Rushes-Yards 37-143 28-86
Passing Yards 183 28
Total Yards 326 114
Passes 19-30-0 5-13-3
Punts-Avg. 3-31.3 6-26.0
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards 5-45 3-18
Possession 27:06 20:54
Rushing — Logan: Caden McCarty 22-70, Ian Frasure 5-17, team 1-(-1). B-C leaders: Cody Harmon 11-60, Hobie Scarberry 14-60.
Passing — Logan: Ian Frasure 5-13-3—28. B-C: KJ Benedict 19-30-0—183 2 TD.
Receiving — Logan: Henry Pierce 2-12, Jonny McClelland 2-10, Hunter Hill 1-6. B-C leaders: Beau Wisecarver 5-38 TD, Brandon Totten 3-41, Evan Willet 3-23, Drew Angelo 3-20, Nick Feasel 2-28, Jake McConnaughey 1-26 1 TD.