By Brad Morris
When Logan Elm coach Terry Holbert distributed the scouting report in preparation for a non-league game against Miami Trace, two words were prominent on the top.
“That was our theme all week. We had to prove it,” he said. “We were coming off a good (35-0) win over Westfall last week, but it’s hard to win football games and it’s really hard to string wins together.
“It comes down to hard work and execution, and that’s what our guys did against a good team like Miami Trace.”
The Braves proved it by coming away with four takeaways and scoring the final 21 points on Friday to run away with a 35-10 victory over the visiting Panthers.
“Our defense and special teams have really stepped up in the last two weeks,” Holbert said. “We had three interceptions and a blocked punt last week against Westfall and we recovered four turnovers (on Friday) against Miami Trace, with two of those coming on special teams.
“Those turnovers led to a myriad of positives for us, setting us up with short fields to work with and great momentum. Miami Trace, on the other hand, had long fields because of how effective Braylen Baker was with our punting game.”
Logan Elm (2-1) snapped a four-game losing skid to Miami Trace dating back to 2017 and needed just 230 yards of total offense to come away with a momentum building win.
Sophomore quarterback Aaron Walters led the charge by completing 9 of 16 passes for 130 yards and three touchdowns. Blayton Reid accounted for 84 yards of total offense and scored three times.
“Aaron has made a lot of progress every week so far this season and he’s playing wise beyond his years right now,” Holbert praised. “He’s turned into a great leader for our team and program, especially as just a sophomore.
“He’s making great decisions with the football; he’s getting the ball to different guys and also taking good care of the ball.”
Logan Elm wasted no time coming away with its first takeaway of the night as RJ Weber recovered a fumble of the first possession of the night at the Miami Trace 36-yard line.
The Braves took their first lead five plays later when Baker leaped over a Miami Trace defender to haul in a 20-yard touchdown pass from Walters. The first of five extra points from Owen Elswick put the Braves ahead 7-0.
Miami Trace (1-2) came right back to tie the game on a two-yard touchdown run by Asher LeBeau.
Blayton Reid responded by giving the Braves another lift with a 60-yard kickoff return to the Miami Trace 30.
The Braves went ahead to stay three plays later when Reid scored from seven yards out to make it 14-7.
Miami Trace reached the scoreboard for the final time on a 32-yard field goal by Zach Warnock that trimmed the LE lead to 14-10.
A 30-yard run by Walters set up a 30-yard touchdown pass from Walters to Landon Thompson that opened the second quarter and put the Braves ahead 21-7.
Logan Elm took possession of the football right back when Nolan Brumfield recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff at Miami Trace’s 31-yard line.
The Braves turned the ball over on downs, but soon had another golden opportunity when Ian Roese recovered yet another fumble on his own 34-yard line.
Logan Elm used eight plays to over 66 yards, capped by a 26-yard touchdown pass from Walters to Reid that made it 28-10.
Logan Elm tacked on its final touchdown in the third quarter on a four-yard run by Reid.
Miami Trace entered the contest averaging 33.5 points, but the Braves shut out their guests over the final three quarters.
“We felt like we had a good game plan going into the game, but it comes down to our guys executing what the coaching staff has worked up for them out there on the football field. Our guys certainly did that,” Holbert said. “Miami Trace has a well-balanced, explosive offense and they came out and put 10 points on the scoreboard pretty early.
“Our guys battened down the hatches after that. Our secondary did a nice job of breaking up some passes and Braylen Baker had an interception. Then, we played a bend-but-don’t-break defense against Miami Trace’s run game.”
The Braves open Mid-State League Buckeye Division play next week at Hamilton Township (1-1), which suffered a 24-17 setback to Heath last night.
“You want to take momentum into league play, and that’s what our guys have right now,” Holbert said. “We know Hamilton Township is an athletic team that’s going to be another formidable challenge for our guys.”
Logan Elm 35,
Miami Trace 10
Score By Quarters 1 2 3 4 F
Miami Trace 10 0 0 0 10
Logan Elm 14 14 7 0 35
LE — Braylen Baker 20 pass from Aaron Walters (Owen Elswick kick), 8:41.
MT — Asher LeBeau 2 run (Zach Warnock kick), 6:06.
LE — Blayton Reid 7 run (Owen Elswick kick), 5:42.
MT — Zach Warnock 32 field goal, 0:16.
LE — Landon Thompson 30 pass from Aaron Walters (Owen Elswick kick), 11:51.
LE — Blayton Reid 26 pass from Aaron Walters (Owen Elswick kick), 4:59.
LE — Blayton Reid 4 run (Owen Elswick kick), 1:21.
RUSHING – Logan Elm — Blayton Reid 16-46, Landon Thompson 10-25, Aaron Walters 5-23, Nolan Brumfield 3-6, Team 1-0
PASSING – Logan Elm — Aaron Walters 9-6-0-130.
RECEIVING – Logan Elm — Blayton Reid 2-38, Landon Thompson 1-30, Camden Redd 2-25, Braylen Baker 1-20, Carson Summers 2-15, Tanner Holbert 1-2.
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