By John Howley
See more photos from Friday’s season-opener between Teays Valley and Logan Elm at johnhowley.smugmug.com
Teays Valley overcame a two-hour delay and some early miscues to open the season with a 31-25 win over Logan Elm Friday night.
Less than two minutes had come off the game clock when approaching thunderstorms led to a delay. When the teams returned two hours later, the Vikings utilized their running game and a tough run defense to get out in front and they never trailed in the contest.
“I knew they were going to be good. They have a bunch of three and four-year players on this team,” TV coach Mark Weber said of his opponent. “I can say it all I want but my players have to believe it, too. When they got in the dogfight they were like, ‘These guys are for real.’ They have some really good skill players and are going to be really good.”
Teays Valley ran for 242 yards in the game led by sophomore Camden McDanel with 118 yards on 14 carries with Landyn Brown running for 60 on 10 carries and Hunter Young picking up 50 on three carries.
The Vikings fumbled four times, losing two in the first quarter before getting settled into their offense.
Logan Elm struggled to run the ball but found a way to exploit the TV secondary.
“Early we had to get out of the turnovers, had to get out of the bad stuff,” Weber said. “Our defense, they kind of found our weakness at safety and, once they found that weakness, they just kept going to it. We’ll fix it and he will. We just need that film to look at.”
Logan Elm’s run game was held to 29 yards, but the Braves’ Conner Robinson threw for 286 yards in the contest. Jason Sailor had 107 yards receiving on seven catches while David Evans had 81 yards on five grabs and Gabe Chalfin had 77 yards on seven catches.
The Vikings’ Brown got his team on the board with a 20-yard run in the first quarter and again with a two-yard run early in the second.
Robinson got his Braves on the scoreboard with a five-yard scoring run midway through the quarter before TV’s Cooper Booth caught a 7-yard TD pass from Tyler Love in the final minute to put the Vikings up 21-6 at halftime.
Logan Elm was first to find the endzone in the second half on an 11-yard run from Robinson halfway through the third quarter.
The Vikings answered three minutes later with a 27-yard scoring run from McDanel.
Logan Elm had two scoring passes in the fourth quarter — a 21-yard pass from Robinson to Braylen Baker and an 18-yard pass from Robinson to Evans with 24 seconds left, but a 30-yard field goal from Cale Clifton gave TV more than enough cushion to hold off its hosts.
LE’s special teams struggled a bit with the first PAT kick being blocked and the second failed after a high snap. A two-point attempt after the third score also failed to convert.
A different kind of season
With the possibility of even taking to the football field in doubt until a few weeks ago, being a disciplined football team takes on a whole new meaning this year.
Making the right choices extends to so many more aspects of a player’s life and is something coaches have to instill in their players.
Weber said he’s constantly talking to his team about it and the new coronavirus protocols take up a significant portion of the football day. But it’s time he’s willing to give up.
“I told my (athletics director), I said if anything this year the No. 1 priority is the health and safety of my players — period — the end,” he said. “We’ll see how the wins fall, but I think we’ll still be pretty good this year.”
About an hour of the normal two-and-a-half-hour practice goes to virus protocols.
“If we’re not prepared enough because we had to do the protocols, it’s going to have to be what it is. We cannot sacrifice the protocols,” Weber said. “We can’t quit wearing masks. We can’t quit checking their temperatures every day. Every single athlete gets all the questions every day.
“I have to do those protocols if we want to keep the season. We’re cutting practice down because we want to limit contact as much practice as possible. We have to do that to protect the game.”
Logan Elm (0-1, 0-1) travels to Hamilton Township (0-1, 0-1), which dropped a 10-0 decision to Bloom-Carroll Friday. Teays Valley (1-0, 1-0) will take a shot at win No. 2 when the Vikings host Fairfield Union.
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