Logan's Aiden Slack (1) looks to break the tackle of Winfield's Matthew Daly (44) during the Wildcats 29-7 loss to the Generals on Sept. 23. (Boothe Davis/Captured by the Moment Photography)
Bill Lusk | WVOW Sports
LOGAN Logan and Winfield are no stranger to one another.
The two Cardinal Conference rivals faced each other on Sept. 23, a 29-7 victory by the Generals in Winfield.
“We felt like we left a lot of points on the board the first time we played them. We got down there right at the beginning of the second quarter and went for it on fourth down and didn’t get it,” Logan coach Gary Mullins said. “In those kinds of games those are turning points in the game and then they go straight down the field and score.”
The rematch is set for Saturday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. in the opening round of the Class AA playoffs at Generals Stadium in what will be Winfield’s first home playoff game since 1987.
Winfield (9-1) has won its last nine games since a season opening loss to Class AAA No. 4 Hurricane to earn the top seed in the Class AA playoffs. Logan (6-4) meanwhile started the season 4-0 but lost four of its last six games, but still managed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2013.
“The guys stayed together good and kept fighting,” Mullins said. “It is always good to be in the playoffs and we got a good opportunity to make school history on Saturday and we are looking forward to that.”
Winfield will be making its 22nd playoff appearance in school history while Logan, who is making its seventh appearance, will be searching for the school’s first ever playoff victory.
“That has been the life goal for Gary Mullins. Some of these guys are going to be here for the first time and I told them that you can’t take anything for granted,” Mullins said. “It is not anything easy to get to and it’s not like it happens every year and you got to take advantage of the situations and what opportunities come our way on Saturday.”
Winfield is coming off a 39-14 road win at Point Pleasant last week while Logan was defeated by Herbert Hoover 56-14.
Entering last week Logan was one of seven teams fighting for the final five playoff spots in Class AA. For Logan it was simple, win and you are in, but a loss would leave the Wildcats scoreboard watching.
Mullins told his staff and others that he did not want to know the scores of the other games while the Wildcats game with the Huskies was occurring.
Logan and Herbert Hoover were tied at 14 in the second quarter, but the Huskies scored 21 unanswered points to take a 35-14 lead and added to its lead with a pair of third quarter touchdowns.
Once things started to get out of hand, Mullins started to check scores of other games.
“Once the game out of hand there in the third quarter that changed and that is when we looked and seen that we were still going to be in,” Mullins said. “The only I checked at that point is because if that was going to be our last game, I wanted our seniors to be able to play all the way to the end.”
Once Mullins saw that his Wildcats would be in the playoffs, he started resting players in preparations for the opening round.
“We felt like once the game was out of hand and we couldn’t come back that it was probably the smart thing to find out if we would be playing this week,” Mullins said.
The loss dropped the Wildcats from 13th to 16th in the final Class AA ratings, but Mullins said seeding doesn’t matter once you reach the postseason.
“When you are in the playoffs all the teams are good. You got to find a way to get a good game plan and get the W,” Mullins said. “We didn’t really care that much about who we played we are just happy to be in the playoffs and we will give it our best effort on Saturday.”
In the loss at Winfield, Logan gave up 391 rushing yards to the Generals as Bray Boggs ran for 122 yards, Brycen Brown added 117 yards and Caden Beam narrowly missed the century mark rushing for 92 yards in the Generals victory.
For the year, Beam has rushed for 1,177 yards and scored 17 touchdowns while Boggs has rushed for 1,154 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Mullins felt that the Wildcats didn’t capitalize on opportunities in the first meeting and failed to come up with a key stop on a number of defensive possessions.
“We got to get them off the field. They had a couple of fourth down conversions and put the ball on the ground a couple of times, but they were able to get it back,” Mullins said. “We got to make sure that we capitalize on any turnovers and punch all our redzone opportunities in and if we do that we feel like we are going to be alright.”
Saturday’s winner will face ninth seed Herbert Hoover. The Huskies, who have won eight straight games, defeated eighth seed Clay County 63-26 Thursday night at Clay County.
Mullins hopes his Wildcats can make school history Saturday afternoon, which would allow him to coach his group of seniors for at least one more week.
“It has been a really good group to work with and that will be the saddest thing when it is over,” Mullins said. “Some of these guys I won’t be able to coach them anymore and that is what I am dreading the most so hopefully we can get some extra weeks here.”