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By Craig Dunn
LOGAN — Basically, Friday night was all about making progress — and picking up that first ‘W’ of the season in so doing — for the Teays Valley Vikings and the Logan Chieftains.
And it was an even-steven game until the Chiefs committed three fourth-quarter turnovers, enabling the Vikings to break a 7-7 deadlock with 10 fourth-quarter points, to depart Logan Chieftain Stadium with a hard-earned 17-7 triumph.
A rivalry between the Vikings (1-1) and Chieftains (0-2) has been developing for several years and, when they both become Ohio Capital Division Buckeye Division rivals two years from now as the OCC’s newest schools, should only become more intense.
“I know when we come down to Logan it’s going to be a fight and a battle,” said Teays Valley head coach Mark Weber, “so I don’t ever expect it to be a blowout. I was really kind of surprised with last year’s game with them (a 49-6 TV home win). This game is usually tight and comes down to special teams… always a kick return away or a punt return away.”
Special teams really only came into play once, but it was at a crucial time.
Senior Cade Clifton booted a 30-yard field goal with 7:46 left in the game as the Vikings capitalized on a fairly short field after the Chiefs fumbled the ball away on the first play of the final stanza.
Then, after the Chiefs completed a pass but then fumbled again while trying to begin a drive on the ensuing possession, Teays Valley recovered and drove 45 yards on five plays for a clinching score with 5:19 remaining. Gavin Karshner went the final 11 yards to pretty much end a valiant effort by the Chiefs.
“That put us up 10 points and they know to score twice they have to rush it. If they only (need to) score one, they can run the ball right down,” Weber noted. “Then they had to start passing and we had three or four sacks right there. We fumbled, then they fumbled, and once they fumbled that last time our defense just took over.”
Already down 10, the Chiefs threw an interception with less than two minutes remaining, sealing their fate.
“I said going in that part of my scouting report was that they were going to give us opportunities,” said Logan coach Mike Eddy. “They’re going to turn the ball over and have penalties and give us opportunities.”
Teays Valley, which had five miscues in a 10-point loss to Chillicothe last week, turned the ball over three times — Alex Thompson picked off a pass and recovered a fumble, and Izaac Swope also had an interception — but the Chiefs only scored once as a result.
“We just never capitalized on them with points, and when we made the mistakes they did capitalize,” Eddy said. “At the end of the game, if you want to sit down and pick apart what the difference was, you could probably settle on that and most people would agree.”
Richard Odum scored on a 2-yard run on the opening play of the second period to put the Vikings in front, but the Chiefs did turn one of those TV miscues into points when Swope picked off a pass at the TV 45 and returned it to the Viking 21 late in the opening half.
Varik Fick, who racked up 125 yards on 15 carries in replacing feature injured wingback Brayden Sturgell, then ran the ball twice, the second time around right end for 12 yards and a touchdown, to draw the Chiefs even with 4:05 left.
Teays Valley drove to the Logan 20 as the half was running out but, having exhausted all of its timeouts, threw a pass into the end zone that Thompson picked off to end the threat.
Logan outgained Teays Valley 155-147 in the first half, but the Vikings limited the Chiefs to just 64 yards in the second.
“They have an unbelievable scheme,” Weber said of the Chiefs’ offense. “You can’t replicate the offensive scheme that they have. We tried to run it (in practice) during the week, but you’re not going to know it until you play it.
“It’s really hard on the defense,” he added, “and I’m super-impressed with the (TV) defense just giving up seven (points) with the counters, the powers and the waggle passes. They try to get you in every angle on your defense and every single kid has to stay disciplined on that edge and in the middle. And they got us a few times.”
That’s the intention, and Eddy saw improvement from the offense as well as another outstanding effort from the defense.
“It’s two weeks in a row now that I thought we played great defense,” Eddy said. “I know the point spread last week (a 35-8 loss to Jackson) doesn’t show that, but if you just watch us play defense, we played great defense against teams who thought they would come in and run the ball down our throat.
“The first one (Jackson) big-played us but couldn’t run it down our throat. Neither could (TV’s) power run game tonight,” he added. “Our kids stepped up and made play after play after play until late in the fourth quarter, and I think by that point we were just a little gassed (and couldn’t) change the momentum… but other than that I thought we played our tails off.
“We had a lot more production on offense this week, but we still have to find a way to convert in the red zone. We got the ball down there multiple times but (only one time came away) with points. That changes everything. But again, execution of the offense was much better this week. We found some consistency.”
Senior quarterback Matthew Farmer completed 14-of-20 passes for 154 yards, with junior receiver Harmon Payne catching eight passes for 111 yards. Karshner ran for 72 yards and Odum for 52 to pace the Vikings on the ground.
“Our offense was all over the place,” Weber said. “We had two picks early on. We’re really working through our pass game. It’s going to take time, it’s going to take effort, because we’ve been such a run-heavy team. We’re trying to progress. We have some really good weapons out there on the edge. I think this team will continue to grow.”
Weber noted young players made a big difference Friday night for the Vikings.
“A freshman receiver caught a big third-down pass. A freshman cornerback caught the interception to seal it. A freshman quarterback was out there, a big sophomore on the line,” Weber revealed. “Of the 11 guys on the field, seven or eight of them are freshmen or sophomores.
“It’s a good sign” for the future, he added, “but people have to be patient and we (as coaches and as a team) have to be patient.”
The Vikings host Watkins Memorial (1-1) next week. The Warriors upset Logan’s next foe, Sheridan, 27-24 last night.
Teays Valley 17, Logan 7
Teays Valley: 0-7-0-10—17
Logan: 0-0-0-7— 7
TV: Richard Odum 2 run (Cale Clifton kick), 11:55, 2Q
L: Varik Fick 12 run (Kallen Wilson kick), 4:05, 2Q
TV: Clifton 30 FG, 7:46, 4Q
TV: Gavin Karshner 11 run (Clifton kick), 5:19, 4Q
First Downs: Logan 11, Teays Valley 14
Offensive Plays: Logan 44, Teays Valley 54
Rushes-Yards: Logan 33-137, Teays Valley 33-122
Passing Yards: Logan 82, Teays Valley 165
Total Yards: Logan 219, Teays Valley 287
Passes: Logan 6-11-1, Teays Valley 14-21-2
Punts-Avg.: Logan 3-45.3, Teays Valley 3-40.3
Fumbles-Lost: Logan 3-2, Teays Valley 1-1
Penalties-Yards: Logan 3-35, Teays Valley 2-10
Possession: Logan 20:57, Teays Valley 27:03
Rushing: Logan, Varik Fick 15-125 1TD, Easton Castle 1-18, Chris Gompf 3-13, Kaden Morgan 7-7, Jack Brown 1-(-1), Wyatt Woodgeard 4-(-22), team 2-(-3). Teays Valley: Gavin Karshner 15-73 1TD, Richard Odum 15-52 1TD, Jeremiah Fabbro 1-0, Matthew Farmer 2-(-3).
Passing: Logan, Wyatt Woodgeard 6-11-1—82. Teays Valley, Matthew Farmer 14-20-2—154, Kaden Hines 1-1-0—11.
Receiving: Logan, Hunter Hill 2-30, Varik Fick 1-30, Kaden Morgan 1-8, Izaac Swope 1-8, Easton Castle 1-6. Teays Valley, Harrison Payne 8-111, Trent Wolpert 3-25, Gavin Sparks 2-22, Hayden Hodges 1-7.
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