Logansport made big plays down the stretch to defeat Indianapolis Tech 24-20 Friday night in downtown Indianapolis.
The Berries (3-1, 1-1 NCC) are off to their best start in eight years and ended an 11-game losing streak in North Central Conference play.
“It was a great game, wasn’t it,” Logan coach Mike Johnson told WSAL in a postgame interview. “It was fun. We got better the second half.”
It wasn’t over until Dusten Wilson came up with an interception with 58 seconds remaining. The Berries had forced a third-and-19 from midfield and Tech called its final timeout with 1:07 before Wilson came up with the game-sealing INT.
The Berries took the lead for good on an Elijah Crowe 2-yard touchdown run with 8:21 remaining. Jamie Babcock’s 2-point conversion run gave the Berries a 24-20 lead.
Logan needed just 1:33 to drive 71 yards to take the lead. The drive started with a 45-yard strike from Babcock to Jacob Cox. Myles Dungey followed with a 12-yard run followed by a 12-yard pass from Babcock to Cox. Crowe took the fifth play of the drive into the end zone from 2 yards out.
The Berries nearly recorded a safety on Tech’s next possession but settled for a three-and-out. But a holding penalty during a nice run by Crowe hurt them on their next drive and they turned the ball over on downs at the Tech 33-yard line with 2:36 remaining.
But the Berry defense came up with another stop when they needed it on Wilson’s interception.
Logan took the opening drive of the game 59 yards for a score that was capped by a Crowe 1-yard run. The drive included a 32-yard pass from Crowe to Wilson on a third-and-long play. Crowe also broke a 20-yard run on a fourth-and-4 play down to the 1-yard line. The Berries were without their kicker for the night, so they went for 2 after every score and Babcock hit Wilson with the conversion pass to make it 8-0 just four minutes in.
The Berries’ defense came up with two stops inside their 10-yard line in the first half but a blocked punt set up the Titans’ first score of the night, a 14-yard touchdown run by Robert McBee. McBee’s conversion run made it an 8-8 game with 1:59 left in the first half.
Following a Tech interception, Logan’s defense stuffed the Titans on a fourth-and-1 from its 15-yard line with 47 seconds left in the half and the score remained 8-8 at halftime.
“You think about the first half, we rough the punter and then gave them the ball back, we also have to punt the ball and Tucker Platt has to go out and we don’t get the right upback in and they block the punt and were able to get an easy score there on us,” Johnson told WSAL.
Following a 25-minute halftime due to Tech’s homecoming night, the Titans opened the second half with a quick scoring drive, capped by a 28-yard TD run by quarterback Wanya Evans to give them a 14-8 lead.
The Berries answered back later in the quarter after converting a third-and-27 on back-to-back 17-yard runs by Colten Rozzi and Crowe, which included converting a fourth-and-10 from the 35. Cox scored on a 9-yard TD pass from Crowe and Drake McLochlin’s conversion run gave the Berries a 16-14 lead with 1:32 left in the third.
“Elijah Crowe was able to turn his wheels on and make plays and got a big fourth-down play, picked that baby up, fourth-and-10 and runs for his life and was able to get that first down and keep it alive for us. What a play,” Johnson told WSAL, adding of the rotating QB’s Crowe and Babcock, “ Hat’s to both those guys, they’re competitors, so I was happy to see them both play well tonight.
“They did it right when we needed it. Neither one of them was perfect but we actually got better offensively the second half, I thought. The first drive was pretty good and those two in the second half when we had to finally make some plays and get the ball out to some of our receivers, Jake Cox and our halfbacks in the flat, they both were able to do it.”
But the Titans again answered back. Following a 42-yard run by McBee, Evans scored from 1 yard out but the conversion failed and Tech led 20-16 with 9:54 left in the game.
The Berries quickly answered with their game-winning drive that was capped by Crowe’s 2-yard run and they were able to hold on at the end.
The Titans (1-3, 1-1) outgained the Berries 315-281 in total yardage but were 1 of 3 on 2-point conversions to Logan’s 3 of 3.
Babcock and Crowe combined for 113 yards passing and Logansport rushed for 168 yards, led by Wilson’s 62 yards on 12 attempts. Crowe added 54 yards on seven totes. Tucker Platt led the defense with 13 tackles. Dante Darden added three tackles for a loss.
McBee led Tech with 154 yards rushing on 19 carries.
Logan’s 3-1 start is its best since starting 4-0 in 2009.
Johnson said to WSAL of the win, “Hopefully it’ll make practice a little easier, maybe they don’t think we’re crazy what we’re talking about. The defense has played so much better. Hat’s off to coach [Aaron] Reed and coach [Mike] White and those guys. Like I told them, Alex Starkey and Carter Layman were probably the defensive players of the first half. I saw those guys making plays up and down the line of scrimmage. Alex Starkey and Layman are not our best athletes, but those guys, you know what, they do their job and they do it well and so guess what, the rest of you can do the same thing. What does it mean? It means we’re 3-1 and we get ready for McCutcheon.”
Logan hosts McCutcheon next week.
LAVILLE 28, WINAMAC 12
Winamac was within 21-12 when LaVille’s Rylan Martin scored from 10 yards out late in the third quarter and the Lancers (2-2, 1-2 HNAC) were able to hold on over the visiting Warriors (1-3, 0-3).
Martin led LaVille with 127 yards rushing and three touchdowns on 19 carries.
The Lancers outgained the Warriors 271-177 in total yardage for the game.
“Better, but we can’t finish drives. We take two steps forward and two steps back. We haven’t been able to put it all together yet,” Winamac coach Craig Barr said. “LaVille controlled the ball but we were able to move it but couldn’t finish drives. We got into some third-and-longs and couldn’t pick up first downs. We just don’t have that confidence to execute things yet. We didn’t turn it over tonight, we ran a lot of plays but put ourselves into bad situations on third-and-long and couldn’t finish things.”
Winamac rushed for 98 yards and passed for 79. Kyle Chumley led the rushing attack with 35 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. Austin Brandt added 25 yards from scrimmage and a TD. Harley Pugh had six catches for 46 yards. Koby Johnson led the defense with 10 tackles.
“Austin Brandt played really well defensively at linebacker. Dylan Fox had a 38-yard interception return,” Barr said.
The two young teams could meet again this season.
“We addressed that with our kids. We’re not where we want to be and they’re probably a team favored to win our sectional,” Barr said. “It’ll be six weeks before we play them again. We’ll be better and better prepared, more focused and have more things installed. We’re not going to win the conference or some of those things but we’ve got to keep plugging along and get better every week before we see them again. We took some notes from tonight to prepare for the future against them. We’re getting there but not as quick as we would like.”
Winamac travels to North Judson next week.