NEWARK — Logan coach Billy Burke has talked during the pre-season, and through the first two weeks, about the ability to adjust his defense based on the opponent.
That flexibility has only been challenged by personnel, thanks to the run-heavy offenses played by both Lancaster (five pass attempts) and Teays Valley (eight).
Friday night, when Logan plays the second of a two-game series with the Newark Wildcats at Logan Chieftain Stadium, it’s not out of the question for the Wildcats to look to the aerial route 40 times.
Grant Russell (6-4, 215, senior) completed 24-of-47 passes for 265 yards last week against Westerville North and became the school’s all-time career leader in passing yardage.
Russell is a four-year starter and the key to the Wildcat offense. Russell passed for 241 yards in last year’s win over Logan.
Newark won’t pass the ball on every down. The Wildcats have a pair of running backs capable of grinding out yardage in Dasanto Daniels (5-9, 163, junior) and Travon Eller (5-11, 175, junior). Daniels had his first 100-plus yard rushing game last week.
The Newark offensive line was boosted by a pair of transfers who left perennial state-power Newark Catholic. Brent Benner (6-4, 280, senior) and Jordan Comer (6-2, 285, senior) will start at tackle and guard, respectively.
Rounding out the offensive line are center Dylan Maring (5-7, 170, junior), guard Bobby Spring (5-10, 210, junior), and tackle Wes Jackson (5-9, 234, junior).
Despite scoring 35 points last week, the Wildcats are 0-2 because the defense gave up 489 rushing yards against Westerville North (2-0). Wildcat coach Gregg Forsythe will have his defense geared up to improve against the Chieftain running game this week.
The Licking Countians will line up in a 4-4 defense, led on the line by Benner and Spring at the end positions and Comer and Derek Amspaugh (6-0, 275, senior) at the tackle spots. Jackson and Vinny Pancini (6-1, 210, sophomore) add depth at end while Garrett Tingler (6-0, 215, junior) adds depth at defensive tackle.
Maring and Alex Trujilo (5-11, 225, junior) are the starting inside linebackers with Brenton Williams (5-10, 184, senior) and Austyn Mays (5-9, 161, junior) among the rotation. Dillon and Alex Vanick (5-10, 138, senior) are the starting outside linebackers with Alex Lust (5-11, 185, senior) and Daniels pushing for time as well.
Kameron Hicks (5-9, 147, junior), Diantre Pressley (5-8, 145, senior), and A.J. Oiler (5-11, 170, senior) will all play at cornerback and Eller and Shackleford will rotate at the safety position.
Freshman Jed Quackenbush (5-9, 125) will handle the plackicking and Russell will do the punting for the Wildcats.
Logan football historian Spencer Waugh of loganfootball.com previews the Chiefs’ opponent every Thursday in The Logan Daily News.