By Brad Morris
WILLIAMSPORT — A beautiful postcard sunset and cooler temperatures after the heat index reached the middle 90s at kickoff on Friday allowed Logan Elm to hit the reset button at halftime.
“We allowed the heat to affect us in the first half and we made too many mistakes on offense, too many mistakes on defense and we weren’t playing the way we know we can,” Logan Elm senior Landon Thompson said. “We regrouped at halftime and when we came out for the second half, it was night, the temperature had cooled off and we just reset things and got after it.”
The Braves responded by scoring 29 straight points in the second half to turn a 14-6 lead at halftime into a convincing 43-6 non-league win over the host Westfall Mustangs.
Logan Elm outgained Westfall 199-79 during the second half, powered by its run game gashing 141 of those yards.
Thompson finished the night with 18 carries for 121 yards and four touchdowns and Michael Bock consumed 86 yards on just seven touches of the pigskin.
“Our biggest point of emphasis was to establish our run game and do it consistently,” Logan Elm coach Terry Holbert said. “We were able to sustain and finish drives in the second half, using Landon and Michael to carry the load, and our offensive line did a nice job in the heat to win the line of scrimmage and continue to open up holes.”
The Braves reached the scoreboard on its first drive of the second half when they covered 63 yards on seven plays.
Thompson caught a pass in the left flat from quarterback Aaron Walters and turned up field, breaking several tackles for a 38-yard gain. Walters closed the drive five plays later when he connected with Camden Redd on a shallow post for a six-yard touchdown pass, putting the Braves ahead 20-6.
Logan Elm needed just six runs to cover 76 yards on its next drive, highlighted by Bock gaining 50 yards on a counter play where he burst past several defenders. Thompson capped the possession on the next play with a five-yard touchdown run.
Dawsen Hudson made the third of his four extra points to put the Braves ahead 27-6 with 2:49 left in the third.
“Our offensive line was gashing Westfall, especially during the second half, where they were opening holes to the left, holes to the right and all Michael and I had to do was run hard and finish the play,” Thompson said.
The Braves added a safety just 30 seconds later when Bryce Perkins, who led the defense with 7.5 tackles, dropped quarterback Bryce Wickline in the end zone for an 11-yard sack.
Cameron Smith returned the ensuing free kick 38 yards to the Westfall 17. Thompson scored his fourth and final touchdown of the night on a three-yard run to initiate the running clock with 11:14 remaining.
Backup quarterback Austin Holbrook added the final score of the night with a 13-yard run, followed by Hunter Schoenborn hitting the point after.
Logan Elm took its first possession of the night and used nine plays to cover 65 yards, capped by a two-yard touchdown run by Thompson.
The two Pickaway County rivals then combined for five turnovers, with the Braves throwing an interception and losing a fumble and the Mustangs fumbling away the pigskin three times.
Logan Elm doubled its lead to 14-0 with a minute remaining until halftime on a three-yard run by Thompson.
A kickoff return to the Logan Elm 39 by Trent Walters gave the Mustangs one more chance to reach the scoreboard before halftime, which they took advantage of when Wickline connected with Jaden Towler on a post route for a 14-yard touchdown pass.
The extra point was blocked, leaving the Braves with a 14-6 lead entering halftime.
“Westfall is a much-improved football team, because it has the skill and line play to both run and pass the football this season. We allowed a couple of chunk plays during the first half, but for the most part I thought our defense did the job,” Holbert said. “Our issue in the first half was turning the football over twice and not really cashing in on the three turnovers that our defense forced.
“Our coaching staff also decided to try and get some fresh legs in there, so we rotated a couple of sophomores, and they played well and allowed us to give a few guys a break here or there.”
Wickline completed 16 of 25 passes for 172 yards with a touchdown and added 42 yards rushing. Towler caught four of those passes for 90 yards and a score.
Walters completed 12 of 17 passes for 184 yards and a touchdown for the Braves.
“We really had to depend on Aaron throwing the football last week to beat Zane Trace,” Holbert said. “We wanted to be much more balanced on offense this week and we were able to do that, which allowed Aaron to really manage the game pretty effectively. I imagine he wants one pass back (an interception), but otherwise Aaron did a nice job of spreading the ball around and throwing the football.”
The Braves (2-0) travel to Miami Trace (1-1), which lost 24-21 last night to Wilmington, next week and the Mustangs (1-1) host another county rival in the Circleville Tigers (0-2), which fell 19-8 to Vinton County.
Westfall will also honor its 1983 football team, which was the first to win an undefeated Scioto Valley Conference championship in program history.
Logan Elm 43, Westfall 6
By Quarters 1 2 3 4 F
Logan Elm 7 7 15 14 43
Westfall 0 6 0 0 6
LE — Landon Thompson 2 run (Dawsen Hudson kick), 7:44.
LE — Landon Thompson 3 run (Dawsen Hudson kick), 1:00.
WF — Jaden Towler 14 pass from Bryce Wickline (kick blocked), 0:20.
LE — Camden Redd 6 pass from Aaron Walters (kick blocked), 9:05.
LE — Landon Thompson 5 run (Dawsen Hudson kick), 2:49.
LE — Safety, 2:09.
LE — Landon Thompson 3 run (Dawsen Hudson kick), 11:14.
LE — Austin Holbrook 13 run (Hunter Schoenborn kick), 1:15.
First downs 23 15
Rushing yards 36-253 22-94
Passing yards 184 172
Comp.-Att.-Int 12-17-1 16-25-0
Total yards 437 266
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 4-4
Penalties-Yards 5-40 8-55
Punts-Ave 1-23 3-37.3
RUSHING – Logan Elm — Landon Thompson 18-121, Michael Bock 7-86, Aaron Walters 8-35, Austin Holbrook 1-13, Damien Hebb 1-1, Carson Summers 1-(-3). Westfall — Joey Wright 11-52, Bryce Wickline 11-42.
PASSING – Logan Elm — Aaron Walters 12-17-1-184. Westfall — Bryce Wickline 16-25-0-172.
RECEIVING – Logan Elm — Camden Redd 4-65, Carson Summers 3-60, Landon Thompson 1-38, Keegan Diehl 1-12, Hunter Kersey 2-9, Michael Bock 1-0. Westfall — Jaden Towler 4-90, Brydan Gaul 3-35, Trent Walters 6-28, Cade Hall 3-19.