LOGAN – Logan Head Coach Mike Eddy won’t deny that he was disappointed and a little surprised by the lackluster performance of his Chieftains in the early part of Friday night’s home game against the St. Charles Cardinals. Logan did regroup a bit and show more spark as the game wore on, but it was too little, too late as St. Charles built up a big lead early and then sat on it for two quarters, ending up with a 27-0 win.
“When you’re down three scores, and you really haven’t run any offense at all, you know, it’s just kind of – in addition to being frustrating – it’s also kind of just a shock to your system,” Eddy said of the first quarter, which saw St. Charles pile up 20 unanswered points in fairly short order.
Until late in the game Logan wasn’t answering with much in the way of offense of their own. They were undoubtedly hampered by the absence of standout running back Traten Poling, who was sidelined by injury.
Losing a player like Poling is “always going be a factor,” Eddy acknowledged. “In my opinion he’s a first team, all-district type player. He has such a big impact in all three phases of the game for us; he’s had multiple kickoff returns for touchdowns and/or good starting field position. He’s that outside linebacker that helps on the perimeter runs – and that was a place where we got hurt (by St. Charles) as well. And then you take his productivity and his threat out of our running game. I thought guys did a great job of stepping up and playing in his role, but it’s not the same as having him out there.”
Eddy said his team seemed prepared for a team that everyone knew was better than their losing record would indicate, but that for whatever reason the Chiefs just couldn’t build up any momentum early on.
“I was really kind of surprised by it,” the coach said. “We had a good week of preparation; in the locker room I talked about mindset and the need to be focused. And I think everything just happened so fast, so quickly. We got down and I think it really was a shock to everybody’s system. And that kind of made it feel even worse than it was.”
Even up by two touchdowns, the Cardinals were still coming strong; they followed up their second TD with a surprise onside kick that they recovered, getting into the end zone a third time just one long run play later.
“That isn’t something that we’ve seen them do at any point during the season,” Eddy noted. “And then for them to do it when they’re up two scores in the first quarter, made it even more of a surprise. So that’s a great play call on their part.”
Part of the story of Friday’s game was simply size, with the St. Charles team fielding some fairly gigantic front lineman.
“Oh, they were huge,” Eddy agreed. “They had two guys that go 6-5, 300-plus pounds, and the other guys they had up there are still bigger than anything we had. So they had a huge advantage where in football matters the most, and that’s the line of scrimmage.”
If there’s a silver lining in Friday’s game, it might be found in the way the Chieftains rallied in the second half and at least seemed to mount a credible offensive threat – which unfortunately didn’t turn into any scores.
“I honestly just think we were kind of in awe at the beginning and it just took us by surprise that things went so badly so quickly,” Eddy mused. “Once we kind of regained our composure and refocus, I thought we were able to make a couple of in-game adjustments that helped us. And we played better throughout the course of the game, but obviously at that point it was just too late.”
Next Friday Logan will face Meigs at home.