By Brad Morris
A big sequence to end the first half was the pivotal turning point for Logan Elm on Friday in a 41-20 non-league win over the host Miami Trace Panthers.
The Braves were nursing a 14-12 lead late in the half, but the Panthers were threatening to regain the lead with first-and-goal from the six-yard line.
Carson Summers set the tone by planting Asher LeBeau firmly into the field turf on a sweep around right end for a one-yard gain.
Following an incompletion and a short screen into the left flat to bring up fourth-and-goal from the three, Logan Elm’s Ian Roese sniffed out a shovel pass from Trey Robinette to Garrett Guess, dropping Guess two yards short of the end zone to force a turnover on downs.
“It was a back-and-forth game for most of the first half with both Miami Trace and us going up-and-down the field,” Logan Elm coach Terry Holbert said. “Our defense gave up some yards on that drive, but they didn’t break and got some huge stops to keep Miami Trace from retaking the lead.”
The Braves countered with a seven-play drive to cover 98 yards and expand their lead to 21-12 going into the break.
Aaron Walters connected with Summers on a flag route to get the Braves out of the shadow of their own end zone. Following the 28-yard completion, Michael Bock gashed the Panthers for a 14-yard run and Walters used a six-yard carry to get the Braves into MT territory.
On third-and-six, Walters kept the chains moving when he found Summers again for an eight-yard pass.
Walters saw the Miami Trace blitz on the next play and threw a screen to Bock to gain 15 yards.
The Logan Elm junior quarterback then finished the drive by throwing a 25-yard touchdown pass to a leaping Camden Redd on a fade route.
“Aaron did a great job of leading us on that last drive. We got the football with around (1:44) left and scored with 27 seconds still on the clock,” Holbert praised. “We felt we had a mismatch with Camden Redd (a 6-foot-5 senior tight end/receiver), so we moved him around to different spots on the field and took advantage of that. On the scoring play, we lined up Camden out wide and he went up and caught the football.”
The Braves continued to push the initiative coming out of intermission with a five-play drive that covered 73 yards.
A 22-yard pass from Walters to Hunter Kersey negated a holding call and gave the Braves a first down.
Landon Thompson then gashed the Panthers for runs of 17, 22 and 7 yards to give the Braves first-and-goal.
Walters then faked a handoff to Thompson and rolled around left end to score from nine yards out.
“We wanted to capitalize on our momentum coming out of halftime and our guys not only did that but set the tone for what was a dominating second half,” Holbert said.
The Braves added two more touchdowns on a two-yard run by Landon Thompson and a 13-yard touchdown pass from Walters to Redd that gave Logan Elm a 41-12 lead.
After rushing for just 58 yards in the first half, the Braves amassed 151 yards during the final two quarters of play.
Thompson covered 142 yards on 21 carries and scored three touchdowns, and Bock chipped in 58 yards on 12 totes.
“We challenged our line at halftime, because we want to have a balanced offense and we needed to establish our run game more consistently than we did in the first half. We made a few adjustments, and they responded by dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football in the second half,” Holbert said. “Landon had another big night running the football and then Michael Bock gashed Miami Trace on a few big runs.”
Walters completed 20 of 29 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns that went to Redd, who had seven receptions for 121 yards. Kersey chipped in five grabs for 62 yards.
“Aaron had another really efficient game throwing the football and it started with him changing several of our plays at the line to adjust to the look the defense was showing and to put us into the best position to make a play,” Holbert said.
Miami Trace (1-2) had 243 yards of total offense in the first half but could only muster 46 yards in the second half.
“Our defensive coaching staff made a few tweaks to what we were doing at halftime and our guys really responded and shut down Miami Trace in the second half,” Holbert said. “Their last touchdown came on a kickoff return.”
Redd continued his big night on defense with 4.5 tackles and a pair of sacks. Summers made eight tackles to lead the defense and Gavin Hoover chipped in 4.5 tackles and returned an interception 57 yards to help set up the Braves’ second touchdown during the second quarter.
“We’ve known Camden is a force for a while now, but this was probably his coming out party with how well and dominating he played on both sides of the football,” Holbert said.
The Braves (3-0) finish the non-league portion of their schedule with a perfect record for the first time since 2014 and now turn their attention to opening Mid-State League Buckeye Division play next week when they host archrival Circleville (0-3) for the Backyard Brawl.
“I feel like we play a pretty competitive non-league schedule, so our guys are really excited about starting 3-0 and we’ve done a nice job of closing each of those games in the second half,” Holbert said. “Now we flip the page to league play and it’s Circleville week right out of the shoot.
“We know how much that game means to our football program, our school and community, and we’re also excited to get back home after a couple of road games.”
Logan Elm 41,
Miami Trace 20
By Quarters 1 2 3 4 F
Logan Elm 0 21 14 6 41
Miami Trace 6 6 0 8 20
MT — Julian Baker 1 run (kick failed), 5:57.
LE — Landon Thompson 1 run (Dawsen Hudson kick), 11:30
MT — Dalton Guess 8 pass from Trey Robinette (kick failed), 9:03.
LE — Landon Thompson 4 run (Hunter Schoenborn kick), 5:37.
LE — Camden Redd 25 pass from Aaron Walters (Dawsen Hudson kick), 0:27.
LE — Aaron Walters 9 run (Dawsen Hudson kick), 10:21.
LE — Landon Thompson 2 run (Dawson Hudson kick), 0:29.
LE — Camden Redd 13 pass from Aaron Walters (kick blocked), 4:19.
MT — Julian Baker 75 kickoff return (pass completed), 4:08.
First downs 30 17
Rushing yards 41-209 28-126
Passing yards 275 163
Comp.-Att.- 20-29-0 13-21-1
Total yards 484 289
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 0-0
Penalties-Yards 10-100 7-61
RUSHING – Logan Elm — Landon Thompson 21-142, Michael Bock 12-58, Aaron Walters 8-9.
PASSING – Logan Elm — Aaron Walters 20-29-0-275.
RECEIVING – Logan Elm — Camden Redd 7-121, Hunter Kersey 5-62, Carson Summers 3-49, Cameron Smith 2-15, Michael Bock 1-15, Keegan Diehl 1-7, Landon Thompson 1-6.