Editor’s note: The following article is the last of a seven-part series of Logan High School football history stories written for The Logan Daily News by LHS sports historian Spencer Waugh commemorating the anniversaries of the greatest Chieftain football teams of all time. Waugh is continuing the process of speaking with LHS athletes and coaches from all eras and can be contacted either via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 740-974-4531.
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
But luckily for fans of the Logan Chieftains, legendary football coach Dale Amyx ignored nearly two decades of familiarity to reshape an offense that resulted in the greatest two-year run in school history.
“Patrick Angle at quarterback — that was the cog for the whole success,” Amyx said of his final team at Logan High School. “Leading passer, leading rusher, leading everything.”
The class of 2010, whose seniors made up the core of that 2009 championship team 10 years ago, are arguably the most-successful group of football players to ever graduate from Logan High School.
They finished 31-4 in their three-year varsity career, tying a school record, and never lost a Southeastern Ohio Athletic League game.
Under Amyx, power running and suffocating defense was built into the DNA of the program. But in his final two seasons, he embraced the spread offense and the skillset of a talented senior class.
“We were small, athletic, and fast. It was a lot more of a speed thing,” Amyx recalled. “We committed to the spread, which was a departure from what we had done my whole career. It even carried over to the defensive side where we stopped huddling and emphasized our speed.”
“We grew up running the I-formation,” noted record-setting quarterback Patrick Angle. “We started using some shotgun in the eighth grade, but still had split backs and a tight end. We were similar as freshmen.”
With all due respect to names like Gasser, Myers, and Conrad, Angle may have been the most-anticipated quarterback prospect to ever move from middle school to high school.
The signal-caller lived up to the hype: he never lost a regular-season game as a starting quarterback and is the only Chieftain football player to be named the state’s Offensive Player of the Year.
Also a finalist for the coveted “Mr. Football” award, Angle held virtually every single game, season, and career passing mark when he graduated.
“I owe a lot to my coaches,” commented Angle. “I was a running back and played both ways in seventh grade with my dad. And then in eighth grade Jimmer (Breining) was my quarterback coach. I still remember he brought in a Sports Illustrated with Peyton Manning on the cover. He was trying to teach the quarterbacks how to hold the football — relaxed and not too uptight but with a firm grip — I always held the ball like that, even all through college.
“And freshman year, they were hard on us,” Angle continued. “They’d get on us for little stuff and we were terrified of coach (Randy) Ogg. Later they told us they had to be so hard on us because they were worried our heads would swell up and we wouldn’t fit in the locker room anymore.”
The Chieftains had finished 11-1 in 2008. Along the way, they recorded memorable wins at home, opening Logan Chieftain Stadium with a win over Lancaster (35-10), dominating Ironton (35-10), and defeating Dublin Jerome (23-7) for the school’s first-ever home playoff victory.
Away from home, they survived a three-hour lightning delay at Pickerington North (35-10), clinched the league title in the rain at Chillicothe (23-13), and lost a heartbreaker to defending state runner-up Louisville (7-0) in the rain at Zanesville.
“Being undefeated the year before, there was some pressure,” Angle remembered. “We returned so much and we wanted to make sure we went undefeated again.”
“That was the most fun I had in my three years,” added two-way lineman Bobby Russell. “Coach Amyx was a little more laid back — we had 19 seniors, so we pretty much knew how to play with each other, how to keep control of each other, and how to take care of the underclassmen.”
“We had played together since third grade Tomahawks,” said standout receiver and linebacker Mason Mays. “We had always gone undefeated at every level, so that was the expectation. We knew we had a chance to go far.”
Offensive coordinator and LHS Athletic Hall of Famer Kelly Wolfe was the architect of the new “aerial circus” Chieftain offense... but it didn’t develop overnight.
“I owe a lot to coach Wolfe,” explained Angle. “He was my position coach. I worked with him every day. Even as a sophomore when I played some receiver, I never practiced with them. I was always working as a quarterback.
“With him taking over and transforming the offense for me and the guys in my class, it opened up opportunities for after high school for which I’m extremely grateful,” he added.
“By the senior year, we were a lot better on offense,” commented Amyx. “We had a lot more wrinkles.”
“It (the spread) started my sophomore year when coach Wolfe took over,” recalled Angle. “We ran a little more spread, some four-wide sets. Up until that point, Logan had never thrown the ball a whole lot.
“Heading into my junior year, we really had worked on both the spread and the more traditional sets during two-a-days,” he continued. “I remember against Lancaster, we went with the spread and had early success. Then for one series we went under center with the fullback and tight ends, we went three and out. From then on we committed to the spread.”
Angle recalled they were still implementing the new offense as preparations began for his junior season.
“We had to figure out how to run out of it,” he said, “so we used QB run, ice, blast and counter. But once I got used to seeing everything defenses would do, by the second week that (junior) season I threw for over 300 yards.
“My senior year we could be a lot more creative,” he concluded. “We were a lot more diverse in the run game using the slot guys. We threw it a ton that year. All those guys made so many big catches. We trusted them to make plays.”
Angle was the key player on offense. The senior completed 193 of 302 passes for 2,546 yards with 26 touchdowns and only five interceptions while also leading the ground game with 418 yards and eight touchdowns on 117 tries.
But the offense only worked because of the skill around him.
“My name is in the record book, but the offensive line and receivers we all made it happen together,” Angle pointed out.
Mays, Zach McDaniel, Jordan Rutter, and Korey Swaim lined as receivers in Logan’s four-wide base offense.
“It’s nice to throw a short pass and have it go for a bunch of yards,” said Angle.
Mays and McDaniel were the top targets. Mays caught 60 passes for 845 yards and 11 touchdowns while McDaniel countered with 58 snags for 774 yards and five scores.
That duo also keyed the run game. The pair would line up in the slot and get the ball on jet sweeps or reverses or would motion into the backfield as more traditional running backs. They nearly evenly split 85 carries for 547 yards and 11 touchdowns.
“We started using those slot running plays toward the middle of the season,” recalled Mays. “We were always adding more plays. Each game we’d introduce one big ‘trick’ play to open each game with. Most of them worked. They were just something we hadn’t put on film before.”
Michael Snider often lined up as the team’s running back but only carried the ball 32 times in 12 games. His role was as a sixth pass blocker to help protect Angle.
Up front, a veteran offensive line kept Angle upright all season. Russell anchored the group at center while Ralph Robinson and Jeff Murphy were quick and mobile from their guard spots. Robinson converted from tight end to fill the gap.
Brock Thompson started at right tackle while junior Tim King was the lone underclassman to start on the offense at left tackle.
The offense scored 34 points and averaged over 355 yards of total offense per game.
But while the offense got the headlines, the defense was more than adequate as well, holding opponents to 10 points and under 222 yards of total offense. They forced 33 turnovers, including 23 interceptions.
“We had lost some really good kids off that (2008) defense,” recalled Amyx. “Some big, physical kids. Carey MacLaughlin was a two-way starter and an animal. Stephen Miller, he was a stud, Jon Neff one of the best ends, and Seth Sigler gave us versatility. Zack Adams and Clay Morgan had been multi-year starters at linebacker.”
Like on offense, seniors led the way.
Robinson returned at one end and was joined by Ryan Sigler while Russell and T.J. McCray replaced Miller and MacLaughlin at the tackle slots. Junior noseguard Tyler Dement was the lone underclassman starter on defense.
Snider returned at middle linebacker where he was flanked by Angle and Mays.
“Going back to linebacker felt like going home,” remembered Mays, who had played cornerback the previous two seasons.
“Patrick played defense, even though the offensive guys didn’t want him to,” said Amyx. “That’s how we got the 14-point rule: once we went up by 14, he had to come off the field on defense.”
“It was awesome to play defense for Coach Amyx,” Angle added. “The preparation he put in — you came in on Monday and the whiteboards were covered with every formation drawn out, whether it was the best or worst team on the schedule. He put 110 percent into making sure you were prepared.”
Brandon Graham filled in for Angle at linebacker once the Chiefs had a two-touchdown cushion... which was often.
McDaniel and Swaim were the cornerbacks, with Rutter playing safety. Eleven players intercepted passes for the purple and white, with McDaniel leading with four and Mays, Snider, Swaim and Angle all stealing three enemy passes.
Angle did the punting and averaged over 36 yards per boot.
Junior kicker Derek Montgomery also played a key role in the team’s success. He successfully converted 44-of-48 point-after-touchdown kicks and made 8-of-10 field goal tries, with a long of 37 yards.
The season opened with a trip to Lancaster and Logan hoping to record a second-straight win over the Golden Gales. Logan had only defeated Lancaster in back-to-back seasons one other time, and that was way back in 1934 and 1935.
“That was one of my favorite games,” remembered Mays. “We had beat them the year before but going up and beating them there… I mean, we pretty much embarrassed them on their own field.”
The Gales tried to control the clock and keep Angle, Mays, and company off the field, but weren’t successful. Mays caught six passes for 129 yards, with three of those receptions going for touchdowns of 64, 19 and 13 yards.
“We punched them in the mouth,” added Russell. “They made a couple plays, but we were able to shut them down.”
The next week the purple and white hosted Pickerington North, which was emerging as a Division I power in the Central District.
To add to it, the Southwest City School District — which included Grove City — was going through a teacher’s strike and many of the Grove City players, and their head coach, found their way to Pickerington.
“They had that teacher’s strike,” recalled Amyx, “and bunch of players came from Grove City.”
Logan took a 21-0 lead in the first half and appeared to be headed to a second victory.
“We were successful on one of those opening plays,” recalled Mays. “I came in motion on a reverse and threw it downfield to McDaniel for a big (48-yard) completion. But I got hurt in that game and missed the second half.”
Robinson was already missing from the lineup due to an injury against Lancaster, and the addition of Mays to the sideline caused a domino effect that stretched Logan’s defensive depth.
“They ran spread in the first half,” said Amyx. “But in the second half they went power with a more jumbo set. That allowed them to come back.”
The Panthers tied the score with 9:48 to play and Logan was out of answers on either side of the ball.
“It killed me to watch them come back on us while I was on the sideline,” Mays admitted.
A key fourth-down decision swung the game in Logan’s favor. The Panthers had a fourth and five from Logan’s 28-yard line.
“They had a good kicker,” remembered Angle. “But they decided to go for it on fourth down.”
“Bobby Russell — what a great kid he was,” Amyx said. “He goes ‘coach, I can get that (pulling) guard, I can tackle him.’ Luckily he did, and they didn’t call him for holding. And we got the stop.”
Logan wasted no time, driving to the Pick North 20-yard line in 90 seconds. Montgomery came on the field with 7.1 seconds to play and calmly booted the game-winning 37-yard field goal.
“After the game I was real happy and kissed him on the cheek,” admitted Amyx.
That moment would end up being one of the many running jokes the rest of the season.
“That just goes back to him (Amyx) being loose,” said Russell.
Logan got healthy in dominant wins over Hamilton Township (49-7) and Gallipolis (57-6). In a scheduling quirk, the Logan-Gallipolis game was a non-league game for the first time in over 80 years.
Next up was a trip to Ironton’s Tanks Memorial Stadium.
A 7-0 Ironton lead held up until midway through the third quarter and Logan didn’t lead until 4:24 to play when Angle connected with Mays for a 34-yard scoring pass. McDaniel later broke loose for a 57-yard run that sealed the 21-7 victory.
“That was a close call,” remembered Angle. “We pulled away in the fourth quarter, but I was a little nervous that game. It was the only league game that tested us.”
“It’s always such a long bus ride down there,” added Russell. “It rained the whole week. It was a wet, sloppy field. We had the windows down in the pouring rain the whole way because it was so humid on the bus. A couple guys forgot their cleats or maybe brought the wrong ones. It was just one of those nights.”
The next week Logan hosted Zanesville in a marquee matchup. Both teams were 5-0 and the Blue Devils had held the Chiefs to a 16-14 score in 2008.
“They always game-planned well against us,” Angle recalled. “But we scored on the first play... that was a tone-setter. They had a really good quarterback who was headed to Ashland. We didn’t want him to hurt us.”
“First play of the game Pat threw a bomb and I made a diving catch in the end zone,” added Mays about the game-opening 42-yard touchdown pass.
Logan held the highly-touted Zanesville offense to only 147 total yards, including a dreadful 5-of-20 passing with three interceptions. The Devils had thrown only a single interception in the opening five games.
“That was the most-prepared we had been for a regular season game,” explained Russell. “Defensively it was total domination. We were in the spot before they were. Amyx knew that was a big game and treated it that way. We responded.”
“That was the game (in the regular season) we hit the hardest,” continued Russell. “We had a chip on our shoulder. We knew we were good!”
Marietta went down 48-3 before a late-season trip to Warren proved more difficult than usual. The Warriors would finish 7-3 — still their best overall record in the last 20 seasons — and had a game plan designed to slow Logan down.
“It was like we were in slow motion that night,” Russell said. “It was a muddy, wet field and we were pretty used to turf at this point.”
“They had a really good middle linebacker and fullback (Kaleb Wolfe),” explained Angle. “They played him off the line of scrimmage on defense and allowed him to just run around and make tackles. It was a different look.”
The Warriors had cut the lead to 14-7 midway through the third quarter before an Angle touchdown put the game out of reach.
“It was a QB draw all the way,” Russell remembered. “I didn’t have anyone lined up over me. So I told Pat in the huddle, I said ‘yell, go!’ and I’ll hit the first guy in the middle that I see. I hit the middle linebacker and Pat was gone.”
Logan won 31-15.
Jackson (27-7) and Chillicothe (51-14) went down easily in the final two home games to complete the perfect season.
“Going undefeated — that was always a big deal,” revealed Amyx. “I remember as a player always wondering what it would be like to play on an undefeated team. I got to coach four of them, so that was always a thrill for me. When that final whistle was blown, you were 10-0.
“I always told the kids that was something you’ll remember the rest of your life,” he continued. “There aren’t too many 10-0 teams statewide or in school history. That’s perfection. You ran the table. It might be even more memorable than the playoffs.
“Imagine the rest of your life when people ask: How was your senior year? We were 10-0. I wish I was able to say that.”
But the Chiefs still had unfinished business: a second-straight home playoff game, this time against Canal Winchester, the Mid-State League Buckeye Division champions.
“The lead-up to the home playoff games, that was a lot of fun,” explained Russell. “The school was the most into it. Some weeks during the regular season games seemed routine, but those playoff games were special all week long.”
Logan dominated, taking a 14-0 halftime leading and turning it into 20-0 with 6:14 to go in the third quarter. The Chiefs won going away 30-7.
“That was fun,” Russell said. “I went to Otterbein with a kid from that team. He said they couldn’t find a weakness in our team. They couldn’t figure out how to attack us.
“We won the only two home playoff wins in school history,” he added. “That’s the kind of thing we still talk about. It came up at the Captain’s Appreciation Day (earlier this fall).”
Sadly, the Chiefs’ season came to an abrupt end the next Friday in suburban Columbus when Brookhaven defeated Logan 21-10 at Hamilton Township High School.
The Bearcats’ size and athleticism caused some problems for the Chieftains. But just as the offense was finding a rhythm, Angle suffered a knee injury and couldn’t play nearly the whole second half.
“It’s a shame with Patrick getting hurt,” recalled Amyx. “I would love to have seen what would have happened had he finished the game. That’s always on the back of your mind.
“He carried the load for us,” continued Amyx. “And unfortunately, that all showed when we got into that game and he got hurt. We just couldn’t overcome that.”
Despite the abrupt ending, that team still has perspective on what they accomplished.
“Our class was tight-knit, top to bottom,” explained Russell. “We did everything together, from the lunch room to the film room. We were just coming into the age of smart phones, so we were still calling each other on landlines. We’d all get together and watch some film and then play Madden until 2 a.m.”
“We were brothers,” added Mays. “We knew what each other brought to the table and we trusted each other. We came up from Tomahawks together, and all we did was win. We were winners with a winning mentality. That’s what pushed us to have our success.”
The 2009 team would be the swan song for Amyx, who left as the most accomplished grid boss in school history.
“That team probably got along better than any team I coached,” remembered Amyx. “Those guys all liked each other and hung out together.”
“Those kids liked practice,” interjected former assistant coach Bob Cassady. “You know, most teams don’t like practice.”
“It was fun,” concluded Amyx. “Everybody was always in a good mood. We joked around a lot more than other teams I coached. Obviously, that’s easier when you’re winning. But they practiced hard — they earned that all.”
Those seniors didn’t know it at the time but, looking back, they can tell Amyx might be finishing his career with them.
“He was more laid back than we expected,” said Angle. “We had heard stories. Maybe he wanted to enjoy it more — I mean, we’d have him laughing.”
“Even in the hallways at school he had a different look,” added Russell. “He really showed a range of emotion that year.
Angle, for one, was glad Amyx stayed through his senior season.
“He had taught with my mom,” he said. “That was special knowing they had had such a tight relationship.”