In only a matter of days, the Logan High School football team will be hitting the gridiron once again for the three-week summer practice period.
It was an exciting season for Logan football last fall as the Wildcats were 7-3 and just missed making it to the Class AAA state playoffs for the third straight season as Logan finished 17th — one spot out of the top 16 playoff qualifying teams.
Logan closed out its third winning season in a row with a 16-3 victory on the road at Scott.
The defense was the key to the Wildcats’ success last season as Logan had three shutout wins — two of which were against county rivals Man (33-0) and Chapmanville (20-0). The 2-0 mark vs. county teams meant the Cats were crowned county champs. Logan also won 48-0 at Lincoln County and racked up 608 total yards of offense in the rout — an identical 304 yards rushing and 304 more in the air.
The Wildcats, coached by Gary Mullins, are 21-11 in their last three seasons and would like to keep it going this fall.
The unofficial beginning to the season is June 10 when Logan is scheduled to get its three-week summer practice period under way.
The team will then break until early August when regular practices are slated to begin.
The season opener is set for Aug. 30 at Man.
Logan has four new opponents on its 2013 schedule — Class AAA teams Point Pleasant, University, Greenbrier East and Nitro. Only one of those games is away when the Wildcats are set to play University High on Oct. 11 in Morgantown.
University will be a formidable foe. The Hawks, coached by John Kelley, have been a Triple-A powerhouse in the state of West Virginia for years.
Last season, University went 8-3, losing 24-23 to Lewis County in the first round of the 3A state playoffs. The other two losses suffered by the Hawks during the 2012 season were setbacks to rival Morgantown (35-14) and Bridgeport (20-14), which dropped down to Class AA status last season. The school has an enrollment of 1,200.
Point Pleasant, which moved up to Class AAA last season, will also be a tough foe for Logan. The Big Blacks, a 2011 Class AA state runner-up, didn’t miss a beat last fall in the move up as Point finished 8-3, falling 49-28 to Morgantown in the first round of the Triple-A state playoffs.
Point Pleasant and Logan used to play each other in the 2000s as the two were members of the Cardinal Conference.
Logan last played the Big Blacks in 2007 as the Wildcats won 28-7 at home. In 2006, Logan defeated Point Pleasant 27-14 on the road.
Both Greenbrier East and Nitro struggled last season as East was 3-6-1 and Nitro went 2-8. Nitro’s only two wins were over rival St. Albans (17-14) and Lincoln County 27-24. Nitro was hammered three times in losses to South Charleston (70-28), Spring Valley (62-7) and Hurricane (51-21).
Logan and Nitro last played each other in the early 2000s in their post J.R. House heyday. Nitro beat Logan 21-7 in 2000 and lost to LHS 38-21 in 2001. In 2002, Nitro blanked Logan 51-0 at home. The two teams have not played each other since in football.
The four new opponents replace Johnson Central (Ky.), Winfield, Huntington and Hurricane on the schedule.
Logan will again play Man, Chapmanville, Scott, Shady Spring, Lincoln County and Mingo Central.
The Wildcats are 2-0 against Mingo Central, getting a 28-16 win over the Miners last season and a 22-6 victory in 2011. The Miners made it to the playoffs last season but finished 5-6 after a first-round defeat.
Coach Mullins said there’s no gimmies on this year’s schedule.
“We have some new teams that we have to scout and that we’re not accustomed to playing,” he said. “It will give us an opportunity to step outside of what we are used to doing. We’re looking forward to it and we’re going to practice hard.”
University and Point Pleasant will be tough challenges for the Cats.
“Those are two great football teams. University is in the playoffs just about every year,” Mullins said. “A lot of times they are 9-0 when they play their rival Morgantown there at the end of the season. They are a very tough team. Point Pleasant made it to the state finals in Double-A and then made it to the playoffs in Triple-A last year. They have a powerhouse down there. It’s going to definitely be tough to put those two on there but we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Mullins said many of his players have gotten stronger with the off-season weight lifting program.
“We’ve had a really good off-season in the weight room,” Mullins said. “We have some good numbers and we’re over 30 most days. We’ve had a good off-season. We’re looking forward to getting out there and see what we can do in the three-week period. We hope to be able to put another good team out there on the football field.”
Logan’s football team is slated to have its first three-week period practice on Monday, June 10.
The Wildcats will once again compete in a few 7-on-7 passing scrimmages. Logan is set to scrimmage Scott on June 13 in Madison. On June 18, Logan has a home 7-on-7 scrimmage. The Wildcats then head back to Scott for another 7-on-7 on June 20.
The 7-on-7s are always good practice for the quarterbacks, backs and receivers.
Since Logan has graduated its top two QB’s in Chris Marcum and Khaleel Reynolds, the job is open at this point. Four quarterbacks, including junior Ryan Miller, are vying for the job, Mullins said.
“The 7-on-7s will be especially good this year as we are breaking in new quarterbacks,” Mullins said. “The biggest thing is that it helps the quarterbacks with their reads. As far as football, I’m not sure how much it helps you as far as tackling because you can’t hit anyone. You can put some things in and let your skilled guys get in some one-on-one time.”
Logan is scheduled to have its preseason opener on Aug. 17 at home against Class A Tug Valley. Then on Aug. 23, Logan is set to hit the road to scrimmage against Ravenswood and Herbert Hoover at a site to be determined later.
Football is just around the corner.
Believe it or not.
“I can’t believe it’s this close,” Mullins said.
2013 Logan High School
Aug. 30: at Man, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 6: at Shady Spring, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 13: Lincoln County, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 20: Point Pleasant, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 27: at Chapmanville, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 4: Open date
Oct. 11: at University, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 18: Greenbrier East, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 25: at Mingo Central, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 1: Nitro, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 8: Scott, 7:30 p.m.
2012 Season Results (7-3):
Man, W 33-7
Shady Spring, W 33-7
at Lincoln County, W 48-0
at Johnson Central (Ky.), L 12-46
Chapmanville, W 20-0
at Winfield, W 38-28
Huntington, L 18-37
Mingo Central, W 28-16
at Hurricane, L 14-41
at Scott, W 16-3