Logan coach Gary Mullins yells out signals in a win over Wayne earlier in the season at Willis-Nisbet Stadium (Boothe Davis/Captured by the Moment Photography).
Bill Lusk | WVOW Sports
LOGAN Some 6-3 teams may not be thrilled about having a bye week late in the season, but for Logan coach Gary Mullins the bye week couldn’t come a better time for his battered team.
Logan has dealt with a rash of injuries to starters and key reserves over the last month of the season.
For that reason alone, the Wildcats deserve a break.
“This is a great week for us to have a bye week,” Mullins said. “Guys need some rest physically and mentally to help recharge our battery for this last push.”
A little rest might be just what the doctor ordered as Logan has this week off and will return to Willis-Nisbet Stadium Nov. 4 when Herbert Hoover will come to the island.
“Our team has lost some key pieces, but our guys have pulled together and refused to use that as an excuse,” Mullins said. “Instead we will play for the guys who are out.”
Quarterback Jaxon Cogar suffered a knee injury in the Wildcats 17-6 win over Nitro on Sept. 30 and was lost for the season, but backup Drew Berry stepped in and has done exactly what the coaching staff expected behind an improving offensive line.
“He has great poise and understands the offense,” Mullins said. “With the offensive line maturing over the season our offense has done about as good as we could have expected.”
Logan started the season with wins over Class A No. 12 Man and Cardinal Conference foes Sissonville, Wayne and Poca to start the season 4-0.
The Wildcats suffered their first loss of the season at Class AA No. 5 Winfield but rebounded to defeat Nitro the following week.
Since then, the Wildcats have dropped two of their last three games heading into their bye week.
Logan dug themselves a hole they couldn’t dig out of last Friday in Chapmanville, falling to the Tigers, 49-7, to drop their record to 6-3 with two weeks left in the regular season.
A promising start on the opening kickoff soon turned sour for the Wildcats in last week’s loss. A block in the back penalty backed the Wildcats up 10 yards and back-to-back passing plays resulting in negative yardage put the Wildcats behind the sticks early.
Following a Wildcat punt, Chapmanville chewed up nearly eight minutes of the first quarter clock scoring on its opening possession. The Wildcats fumbled on their next two offensive possessions and fell behind 22-0 after one quarter of play.
Things continued to snowball for the Wildcats as they fumbled a second quarter kickoff, lost a fumble in the third quarter, and threw a fourth quarter interception finishing with five turnovers.
“They (Chapmanville) are a great team,” Mullins said. “We didn’t even give ourselves a chance.”
After a six-win season in 2021 that saw the Wildcats finish 17th in the final Class AA ratings narrowly missing out on its first playoff berth since 2013.
Exceptions were high for Logan entering this season and despite the rash of injuries the Wildcats still have an opportunity to qualify for the postseason.
“We have had back-to-back winning seasons, and all but one game we have competed week,” Mullins said. “Our intestinal fortitude has been tested almost weekly. I am proud of them and now we have to finish the deal.”
Logan can clinch its first playoff berth in nine seasons with a win next week over Herbert Hoover.
“We are sitting in pretty good shape,” Mullins said. "We control our own path.”
The Wildcats can clinch a berth this week with losses by Bluefield, Lewis County, Liberty (Harrison) and Weir.
A loss to Herbert Hoover next week doesn’t necessarily eliminate Logan as the Wildcats can qualify for the postseason with two Keyser losses, a Point Pleasant loss to Winfield and losses this week by Bluefield, Lewis County, Liberty (Harrison) and Weir.
“If we win, we are in and we don’t have to do any scoreboard watching,” Mullins said.