It’s going to be one of the state’s marquee games of the week.
And it’s also Logan High School’s homecoming game.
There won’t be a bigger game around this Friday night as last week’s No. 9-ranked team, Logan, hosts No. 4 Huntington in a clash of Class AAA state powers.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. at Logan Stadium.
Both the Wildcats and the Highlanders enter the contest with identical 5-1 records. Logan is projected to fall to 11th in this week’s ratings, while Huntington is expected to climb two spots to No. 2.
Logan was off last week, while Huntington is coming off a 30-22 win at No. 11-ranked Beckley Woodrow Wilson.
The two teams played a memorable game last season at Huntington, which resulted in a 28-27 come-from-behind victory for the Wildcats. Logan won the game in the final minute when then senior running back Joe Street tossed a halfback option pass for a successful two-point conversion.
It expects to be another barnburner on Friday night at Logan as both teams are fighting for Class AAA playoff berths and home field advantage.
Wildcats’ coach Gary Mullins said it’s these kinds of games that you dream of playing when you are a high school football player.
“If you can’t get up for a game like this I’m not sure what kind of game that you can get up for,” Mullins said on Monday. “They are ranked No. 2 this week and they are coming to our house and it’s homecoming. This is definitely a game that you should get up for and be excited about playing.”
Huntington has shown its dominance this season with its only loss a 14-13 setback at home to top-ranked Cabell Midland on Sept. 21.
The Highlanders opened the season with a 63-8 blowout win over Lincoln County. Logan also had its way with the Panthers this season with a 48-0 victory over Lincoln County earlier in the season at Hamlin.
Huntington then won 17-0 at Spring Valley and took a 21-3 win at home over Winfield in Week 3. Logan also toppled the Generals this season by a 38-28 count a couple of weeks ago.
The Highlanders then followed with a 44-0 win at Parkersburg, the loss to Cabell Midland and last week’s victory at Beckley.
Huntington, coached by Billy Seals, passed a tough test last week over the Flying Eagles.
The Highlanders were able to pressure Beckley quarterback Andrew Johnson all night long and were able to seal the deal in the fourth quarter with a 59-yard touchdown run by Donte Hendricks.
Four different players ran for touchdowns for Huntington.
The Highlanders also proved they have a weapon with kicker Zac Stevens, who drilled a 37-yard field goal.
Paden Christian led Huntington as he rushed for a game-high 116 yards, including a 47-yard TD in the first quarter.
An 8-yard TD run by Charles Crawford put Huntington ahead 23-8 midway through the third quarter but Beckley was able to stay in it with a touchdown and two-point conversion to make it a 23-16 game with nine minutes left.
But then it was Hendricks, who took a toss sweep down the right sideline for a long TD run, putting the Highlanders up two scores. Hendricks finished with 10 rushes for 79 yards. Huntington senior quarterback Matt Shaver added 10 totes for 58 yards and was 7-for-15 passing for 86 yards and two touchdowns. Jarod Martin and Nathan Haikal led the HHS receiving corps with two grabs each.
“Obviously, that was a big play for us,” Seals told the Beckley Register-Herald about the big run by Hendricks. “We didn’t play very good tonight, but a lot of that had to do with Beckley. They have a good football team. I’m just glad to get out of here with a win.”
Mullins said Huntington’s offense will be a big challenge for Logan’s defense, which been tough to score on all season.
“They are very fast and they are very experienced,” Mullins said. “They played Cabell Midland right down to the wire. I’m sure that they think that they should have won that game because they missed some opportunities there late in the game and Cabell Midland is ranked No. 1 in the state. They are very explosive and we know that we’ve got our hands full but we’re looking forward to giving it our best shot.
“This is the one that you play for. This is a game that separates the pretenders from the contenders.”
Mullins said his team is close to 100 percent health-wise heading into the game. Logan used its bye week wisely last week, taking Tuesday off and studying Huntington game film.
“We’re a little banged up here and there but we’re ready to go,” Mullins said. “We took Tuesday off last week. I think everyone is rested and ready. This is the toughest part of our schedule these last four games. We know that we’ve got to be ready to play harder than we have at any point this season.”
Logan leads Huntington 2-1 in the series since 2000. The Wildcats split with the Highlanders in 2001 and 2002 back in the George Barker era.
The Wildcats are led by senior quarterback Chris Marcum and tailback/wide receivers Khaleel Reynolds and Brynden “Worm” Street. Reynolds, just like last season, has also seen playing time at quarterback.
In his last action a couple of weeks ago at Winfield, Marcum completed 17-of-31 passes for 359 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. Logan had an additional 130 yards rushing and finished with 489 yards of total offense.
Marcum also led the ground game with 12 carries for 56 yards.
Reynolds reeled in five passes for 180 yards and a score. Josh Rein had six catches for 81 yards. Street snared five passes for 63 yards. C.J. Williams had one catch for 35 yards.
Street and Clayton Marcum led the Logan defense with seven tackles each in the Winfield game. Street, Tyler Workman, Thomas Hunter and Trent Dalton had one interception each.
Series since 2000:
2011: Logan 28, Huntington 27
2002: Huntington 31, Logan 0
2001: Logan 6, Huntington 3