Before Friday’s game at Chillicothe, Logan football Head Coach Mike Eddy said that while getting the team’s first win of the season was obviously a goal, he wanted at the least to see some more consistency out of his team, after three lopsided losses in which the Chieftains were outscored by a whopping point margin of 124-13.
“We need to be able to put some points on the board, and we need to be able to play more consistent defense,” Eddy said before the game. “We have just not played well enough to make these games competitive. So regardless of outcome, I think if we can do those things we can at least see some progress.”
The Chiefs certainly delivered in that regard when they went up against Chillicothe, though in the end they came up just short of getting their first W on the season.
Put more points on the board they did, scoring 21 – more than their output in the first three games combined. They also showed an improved defense, and as for competitiveness, they stayed in it till the final quarter, and only failed to tie the game up when they couldn’t score on a two-point after-touchdown attempt.
Eddy said afterward that while the 23-21 loss was a disappointment, the game had some definite positives for his team, who had been struggling with multiple injuries to key players while working to master a new wing T offensive formation.
“I thought that overall, we played our best game of the year,” Eddy said. “It was nice having a lot of our pieces back, we had some guys come back from injury… So it was the healthiest we’ve been probably since week one. So obviously, that makes a big difference for us. And like I said, I thought the kids played as hard as they could play from start to finish, to position ourselves to possibly win the game at the end. And that’s all you can ask.”
While coming so close only to lose was frustrating, Eddy suggested, it was also a learning experience.
“Like I told the players, you’ve got to be in those kind of situations to learn how to handle them,” he said. “Teams that are used to winning, and are winning every week – they’ve been in those situations, a lot of times, and they’ve figured out what it takes to win games like that, that are close. And we’re still in that learning process. But you’ve got to be in those situations before you can learn from them. And so that’s at least one positive that we were able to take away from Friday.”
Tightening up on defense was another goal for the Chiefs, and Eddy said he saw that happen against Chillicothe.
“ I thought we played very well, on both sides of the ball,” he said. “We dominated in every statistical category, except for penalty yards. We gave up less than 200 yards on offense, which was a much better start for us, and had over 350 in all offense.”
The team came out of the game with an improved sense of its own potential, he added. “That was the first game all year where we really felt like we were competitive, and we had all the right pieces in the right places,” he said. “And obviously you gain a little bit of something from that, just from a standpoint of, I think they got a clear picture of who we could possibly be as a team and, and what this offense is actually supposed to look like, when you can execute it properly.”
Heading into next Friday’s game against Athens, the team’s health is improved both in terms of injuries and COVID – which caused a game cancellation for the Chiefs the Friday before the Chillicothe game.
“We still have a couple of guys out that would be really nice to have. But, unfortunately, that is the nature of this beast,” Eddy said. “There are very few football teams that are fortunate enough to have all their starters for 10 games. We’re probably about as close as we’re going to be able to get as the season goes on.”
Of the players who have returned, he said, “It’s nice to have those guys back in practice and have them in the huddle. Because a lot of those guys, you know, they have impacts not just with their physical play on the field, but also in how they interact with their teammates or inspire them throughout the game.”
As for COVID, he said, “Right now we’re not having any issues as far as the football program is concerned. We took it upon ourselves after last week’s disaster to implement a few of the protocols very similar to what we had last year for social distancing and some of those things that we can do inside of the programs to help minimize the risk of having mass quarantine. Obviously there’s no plan that’s foolproof, but we’re trying to take those measures on our end to keep us out of that kind of trouble again.”