By John Howley/Sportingpumpkin.com
Logan Elm capitalized off Circleville turnovers and overcame its own mistakes in claiming a 41-22 victory Friday night.
“Ultimately, what’s most important is we did come away with the victory. I’m very proud of our kids – they’ve worked really hard and played really hard,” Logan Elm coach Terry Holbert said.
With the win also came the return of the Kingston National Bank Trophy as part of the Backyard Brawl series.
“We’ve got to clean some things up, it wasn’t a clean game by any stretch. But they played really hard and we’re bringing the trophy back home,” Holbert added.
The Braves won the trophy in the inaugural Backyard Brawl game two years ago 18-12 with Circleville laying claim to it last season with a 20-14 win.
“It’s a big-time deal for us. We each work hard every year and do the best we can,” LE senior quarterback Conner Robinson said. “There’s always been bad blood between us, and we came out and got the ‘W’.”
The night started off with the Braves (1-2, 1-2 MSL Buckeye) recovering a fumble on Circleville’s 47 on the second play of the game. A pair of runs by Blayton Reid, a 34-yard pass to Braylen Baker and a two-yard run by Robinson had the Braves on the board. Gabe Chalfin’s kick gave LE a 7-0 lead.
The Tigers (0-3, 0-3) had an answer for the Braves.
CHS used five ballcarriers on a 13-play drive that culminated with Legend Clifford scoring from a yard out. Isac Payne ran in the conversion to put CHS up 8-7.
LE went back to work putting together a nine-play drive that saw Robinson find Jason Sailor all alone in the endzone for a 12-yard score on the first play of the second quarter.
LE got another short field a few plays later when the Braves recovered another Circleville fumble, this time on the 36.
Robinson connected with Cole Westenbarger for an 11-yard TD and the Braves went up 21-8.
The Braves took advantage of another short field after a fake punt attempt was thwarted.
Westenbarger took the handoff on the third play for the Braves and went 24 yards for a score and a 28-8 LE lead.
The Tigers had their third turnover of the night a few plays later when Chalfin intercepted a Scott Moats pass.
The Braves moved down to the Circleville 25, but it was the Tigers’ turn to take advantage of a turnover. Omari Graham snatched a Robinson pass and raced 82 yards for a score. Payne ran in the conversion again to make it 28-16 in favor of the Braves, which is where the score stood at halftime.
The Braves scored on the opening drive of the second half when Robinson connected with Chalfin for 13-yard touchdown.
After recovering a Logan Elm fumble on the last play of the third period, Circleville ran 12 plays and got as close as the LE 11-yard line. The 13th play proved unlucky though as the Tigers lost another fumble.
LE opened its new series with a 26-yard run from Reid and then he ended it with a three-yard TD run to go up 41-16.
After another Tigers’ fumble and then the Braves turning the ball over on downs, Circleville had one last chance to score.
Despite having a long second down run called back, Wyatt Thatcher took the handoff again and raced 84 yards for a touchdown as time expired.
Circleville totaled six turnovers as the Tigers lost five of seven fumbles Friday night to go with seven penalties.
The Braves turned the ball over twice but had multiple potential scoring plays called back thanks, in part, to 13 penalties.
The Braves were led by Robinson who was 12-15 passing for 166 yards with three touchdowns and he ran for another 13 yards and a touchdown.
Braves fans were likely holding their breath when Robinson went down with an injury in the third quarter.
“I just landed it on it wrong and got a stinger,” Robinson said. “We have a great trainer and he helped fix me up. I was good after that and came back and kept fighting.”
“He’s one of the toughest kids I’ve ever had the blessing of being able to coach,” Holbert said. “He took a good shot and, I tell you what, I’m very proud of Garrett Summers. He stepped right in the game, managed it, had a couple great plays and finished it off for us as well.”
Summers took over at QB in the series where Robinson got hurt and was at the helm later in the game for the Braves’ final possession.
Reid, a sophomore, was LE’s leading rusher with 148 yards on 15 carries.
Robinson spread the ball out to six receivers with Sailor catching three.
With his big TD run to end the game, Thatcher was Circleville’s top gainer with 135 yards on 10 carries. Payne had 86 yards on 19 totes.
LE is looking to ride the momentum of this first win of the season into next week’s matchup with Fairfield Union.
“It’s big for us,” Robinson said. “This year is our year to do what everyone wanted us to do. We’ve worked so hard for this.”
The Braves will be back home to take on the Falcons (0-3, 0-3), who fell 42-13 to Hamilton Township Friday.
“We’ll work on just becoming better fundamentally,” Holbert said. “If we continue to play hard and do things right, we’ll give ourselves an opportunity to win next week.
Circleville heads out to Amanda-Clearcreek (2-1, 1-1). The Aces dropped a 31-7 contest at Bloom-Carroll Friday.
Logan Elm 41, Circleville 22
Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 F
Logan Elm 7 21 7 6 41
Circleville 8 8 0 6 22
LE — Conner Robinson 2 run (Gabe Chalfin kick), 9:36.
CV — Legend Clifford 1 run (Isac Payne run), 3:24.
LE — Jason Sailor 4 pass from Conner Robinson (Gabe Chalfin kick), 11:54.
LE — Cole Westenbarger 11 pass from Conner Robinson (Gabe Chalfin kick), 7:30.
LE — Cole Westenbarger 24 run (Gabe Chalfin kick), 3:16.
CV — Omari Graham 82 interception return (Isac Payne run), 0:04.
LE — Gabe Chalfin 13 pass from Conner Robinson(Gabe Chalfin kick), 9:59.
LE — Blayton Reid 4 run (kick failed), 3:31.
CV — Wyatt Thatcher 84 run (run failed), 0:00
First downs 20 13
Rushing yards 31-258 54-274
Passing yards 177 17
Comp.-Att.-Int 13-17-1 2-3-1
Total yards 435 291
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 7-5
Penalties-Yards 13-100 7-65
Punts-Ave. 1-36 1-31
RUSHING – Logan Elm — Blayton Reid 15-148, Conner Robinson 6-13, Matthew Dyer 6-36, Cole Westenbarger 2-23, Garrett Summers 4-38. Circleville — Isac Payne 19-86, Legend Clifford 12-37, Wyatt Thatcher 10-135, Angelo Travis 6-17, Scott Moats 6-(-3), Parker Kidwell 1-2.
PASSING – Logan Elm — Conner Robinson 12-15-1-166, Garrett Summers 1-2-0-11. Circleville — Scott Moats 2-3-1-17.
RECEIVING – Logan Elm— Blayton Reid 2-20, Braylen Baker 2-50, Jason Sailor 3-23, Cole Westenbarger 2-29, David Evans 2-16, Gabe Chalfin 2-39. Circleville — Keith Kelly 2-17.