Braves make Aces pay for late mistakes

By Brad Morris and John Howley
SportingPumpkin.com

AMANDA — Two fourth-quarter turnovers by Amanda-Clearcreek gave visiting Logan Elm just what it needed to leave town with a 20-13 Mid-State League Buckeye Division win.

It was the first time the Braves had beaten the Aces since a 28-7 decision in Amanda back during the 2013 season.

Logan Elm’s Conner Robinson tries to outrun the Amanda-Clearcreek defense. (Click for more game photos)

Logan Elm coach Terry Holbert was pleased to see the way his team bounced back from a tough 21-14 playoff loss last week to defending state runner-up Licking Valley, after leading 14-0 entering the fourth quarter.

“Our guys showed a tremendous amount of resiliency and character coming back from our heartbreaking loss last week against Licking Valley and putting that behind them,” he said. “They knew we had a lot to play for, playing a rival, playing a league game and Logan Elm historically hasn’t had a lot of success in The Pit.

“To check all of those boxes off and come out with a big win is a testament to our guys.”

Trailing 6-0, the Aces began the second half by putting together a 16-play drive that covered 70 yards – all on the ground – and consumed nearly 10 minutes off the clock.

Hunter Matheny powered the possession with 48 yards rushing on 10 carries. The drive culminated with Quintin Lott going in the final yard for a score.

The PAT kick was partially blocked which left the game tied.

Logan Elm answered with a drive that mixed the run and the pass. The Braves covered 59 yards and regained the lead when Conner Robinson hooked up with Jason Sailor in the back of the end zone for a 10-yard scoring pass on fourth-and-six. Gabe Chalfin’s PAT kick put Logan Elm up 13-6.

“I know when we go back through the film we’ll see some things that we missed on offense, but when we needed our guys to make a play they stepped up and got the job done,” Holbert said.

Logan Elm’s Hayden Hebb holds up the ball after recovering a fourth-quarter fumble recovery. (Click for more game photos)

Two plays later, Logan Elm’s Garrett Summers forced a fumble that Hayden Hebb recovered on the Aces’ 32-yard line.

Set up by a 25-yard pass to David Evans on fourth-and-11, Robinson went the final six yards and Chalfin’s kick made it 20-6 with 7:41 left in the game.

Amanda-Clearcreek put together another big drive covering 80 yards over 12 plays. Facing fourth-and-one, Matheny ran past the line to get, then spun through a tackle to score from 13 yards out. Jonathan Weaver’s kick left the difference at 20-13 with 4:16 left.

After the Braves came out of the scrum with the football on an onside kick attempt, Amanda-Clearcreek’s defense came through and knocked LE backward on the first two plays. Tayvon Miller then intercepted Robinson on third down setting the Aces up at the LE 46 with 3:21 remaining.

Amanda-Clearcreek’s Hunter Matheny fights his way closer to the goal line Friday night. (Click for more game photos)

Amanda-Clearcreek picked up two first downs and moved to the LE 15, when the Braves were able to knock the ball loose and Summers got control of it to end the Aces’ chances at a comeback.

“The two takeaways we had in the fourth quarter were the difference in the game,” Holbert said. “The first fumble recovery set-up a touchdown and then the second recovery basically won the game.

Robinson took a knee twice to run out the clock and give LE the win.

In a first half where both teams struggled to put together a drive, the Braves took advantage of a short field early in the second quarter as Robinson connected with Chalfin on a slant. Chalfin changed his direction, moving to his left to avoid a defender, and scored from 32 yards out. The Aces broke through and blocked the PAT kick, which left the score at 6-0 in the Braves’ favor.

The Braves held the Aces to just 26 yards rushing in the first half, but A-C utilized more misdirection in the final two quarters to finish with 176 yards rushing on the night.

“We figured Amanda would run right at us in the first half, and our guys did a nice job of implementing the game plan that our coaches came up with,” Holbert said. “You have to give credit to Amanda for making some adjustments at halftime.”

Matheny finished the game with 79 yards rushing and Nate Hunter followed with 74 for the Aces.

Robinson completed 12 of 26 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns for the Braves. Sailor had six receptions for 56 yards and a score.

Up next

Logan Elm (5-4, 3-3 MSL Buckeye) is scheduled to travel to Philo next week and will look to secure its first winning season since 2015. Amanda-Clearcreek (4-3, 2-2) is slated to head up to Hamilton Township to make up its game postponed from Sept. 25.

Logan Elm 20, Amanda-Clearcreek 13

Score by Quarters 1 2 3 4 F

Logan Elm  0  6  0  14  20

Amanda-Clearcreek  0  0  6  7  13

Second Quarter

LE — Gabe Chalfin 32 pass from Conner Robinson (kick blocked), 9:08.

Third Quarter

AC — Quintin Lott 1 run (kick blocked), 2:21 .

Fourth Quarter

LE — Jason Sailor 10 pass from Conner Robinson (Gabe Chalfin kick), 11:13.

LE — Conner Robinson 6 run (Gabe Chalfin kick), 7:41.

AC — Hunter Matheny 13 run (Jonathan Weaver kick), 4:16.

TEAM STATISTICS

Logan Elm Amanda-Clearcreek
First downs 11 14

Rushing yards 23-64 47-176

Passing yards 143 70

Comp.-Att.-Int 12-26-1 7-16-0

Total yards 207 246

Fumbles-Lost 1-1 3-2

Penalties-Yards 5-45 5-43

Punts-Ave. 3-34.6 4-35.2

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING – Logan Elm — Blayton Reid 16-55, Conner Robinson 5-11, Team 2-(-2). Amanda-Clearcreek — Hunter Matheny 22-79, Tim Smith 4-9, Grant Guiler 3-3, Tayvon Miller 3-10, Quintin Lott 1-1, Nate Hunter 19-74.
PASSING – Logan Elm — Conner Robinson 12-26-1-143. Amanda-Clearcreek — Nate Hunter 7-16-0-70.
RECEIVING – Logan Elm — Blayton Reid 1-16, Cole Westenbarger 1-2, Garrett Summers 1-5, Jason Sailor 6-56, David Evans 1-25, Braylen Baker 1-7, Gabe Chalfin 1-32. Amanda-Clearcreek — Peyton Cassley 4-63, Hunter Matheny 1-7.

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