By Brad Morris
The mood was so good on Friday for Logan Elm following a 28-7 Mid-State League Buckeye Division win over Hamilton Township that the team was singing along to songs by artist Taylor Swift to celebrate on the bus ride home.
And it was hard to blame the Braves for celebrating snapping a 10-game losing skid to the Rangers dating back to 2011 and their first win along Rathmell Road since the 2008 season.
“There were a lot of reasons for our guys to be celebrating and enjoying this one, especially since it has been so long since Logan Elm last beat Hamilton Township,” Logan Elm coach Terry Holbert said. “Hamilton Township is a very challenging team to play, especially on their own home turf, and with the athletes that they have.
“Our guys have really put things together over the last three weeks and we keep building off each win that we get.”
The Braves amassed 325 yards of offense, led by senior running back Blayton Reid consuming 209 yards on 35 carries and scoring all four touchdowns.
“Everything needs to flow through our run game and using a talented back like Blayton. That’s the identity the coaching staff wanted for our team, and you can see it really starting to come together during this run that we are on,” Holbert said. “Blayton ran for 209 yards, but what was even more impressive was they were 209 tough yards, where he had to keep fighting and battling.
“Our guys up front also did a tremendous job. There were times when Hamilton Township would load the box and we had to block body for body and our guys stepped up, made the proper adjustments and kept giving room for Blayton to run the football.”
The Braves (3-1, 1-0) struck first with a 12-play drive that stretched 60 yards and drained nearly four minutes off the clock.
Logan Elm converted a third-and-10 on an 11-yard pass from Aaron Walters to Landon Thompson and later kept the drive going with a six-yard connection from Walters to Keegan Diehl on fourth-and-four.
Reid capped the drive with a nine-yard touchdown run. The first of four extra points off the kicking foot of Owen Elswick gave the Braves a 7-0 lead.
The Braves then drained eight minutes and 34 seconds off the second quarter clock with a 16-play drive that went for 80 yards.
Walters had a big 26-yard run on a third-and-nine to keep the chains moving, and Reid did most of the remaining work with 11 carries for 38 yards, including a three-yard touchdown run that sent the Braves into halftime with a 14-0 lead.
Logan Elm kept the pace going on its first possession of the second half, using nine plays to cover 80 yards and bleed five minutes and 27 seconds off the clock.
Walters connected with Braylen Baker for passes of 20 and 28 yards, including a beautiful grab on the sideline, and Reid scampered for the final 28 yards to make it 21-0.
“Aaron came through in some huge situations when he was under duress and we needed a big play on third down to keep the chains moving,” Holbert said. “Aaron was very efficient and did a nice job of using his receivers on the perimeter.
“Braylen had a tremendous catch on the sideline where he was somehow able to keep his toes inbounds.”
Hamilton Township (1-2, 0-1) finally reached the scoreboard later in the quarter on a 33-yard touchdown run by Nadir Langston.
That would turn out to be the only score of the night for the Rangers. Logan Elm’s defense has only allowed two touchdowns in its three wins against Westfall, Miami Trace and Hamilton Township.
“Our coaches have put together a solid game plan over the last three weeks and the guys are doing a great job of executing it, being disciplined and making tackles,” Holbert said.
Logan Elm took another five minutes and 21 seconds off the clock in the fourth quarter on a 46-yard drive that Reid capped with a one-yard plunge over the goal line.
Walters completed 10 of 14 passes for 105 yards, with Baker leading the way with two grabs for 48 yards.
The Braves travel to Circleville (3-1, 0-1), which suffered a 42-6 loss last night to four-time defending league champion Bloom-Carroll, next week for the Backyard Brawl and the Rangers make the trip to Fairfield Union (2-2, 0-1), which fell 27-14 to Teays Valley.
Logan Elm 28,
Hamilton Township 7
Score By Quarters 1 2 3 4 F
Logan Elm 7 7 7 7 28
Hamilton Township 0 0 7 0 7
LE — Blayton Reid 9 run (Owen Elswick kick), 3:40.
LE — Blayton Reid 3 run (Owen Elswick kick), 1:39.
LE — Blayton Reid 28 run (Owen Elswick kick), 3:48.
HT — Nadir Langston 33 run (kick good), 1:43.
LE — Blayton Reid 1 run (Owen Elswick kick), 1:15.
RUSHING – Logan Elm — Blayton Reid 35-209, Aaron Walters 2-23, Landon Thompson 4-14, Team 2-(-26).
PASSING – Logan Elm — Aaron Walters 10-14-0-105.
RECEIVING – Logan Elm — Blayton Reid 1-12, Braylen Baker 2-48, Landon Thompson 2-15, Camden Redd 2-13, Keegan Diehl 2-12, Carson Summers 1-5.
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