Wild ending gives Raiders 1-point win

Botched WL-Salem snap results in winning safety for Ben Logan

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Benjamin Logan’s Dalton Rockhold scores on a touchdown run in the second half of Friday’s game against West Liberty-Salem. (EXAMINER PHOTO | TONY BARRETT) 


Adversity has been a driving force for Benjamin Logan’s football team over the past week. It brought out the best in the Raiders on Friday.

Ben Logan was rattled by a 27-13 loss to New Bremen in the season opener, but came back to stun host West Liberty-Salem 30-29 in the final minutes of Friday’s game during a local matchup.

“Last week we didn’t overcome adversity well,” said Ben Logan head coach Jeff Fay. “We went through more adversity throughout the week on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Our kids were able to overcome that and I’m so proud of them.”

After trailing 19-8 at halftime, Ben Logan (1-1) battled its way back in the second half to take a 20-19 lead in the third quarter. WL-Salem (1-1) pulled back ahead to take a 29-20 advantage in the fourth quarter.

The Raiders would score with six minutes left in the game and add a two-point conversion to trail 29-28. With just over two minutes to play, the Tigers intercepted a pass at their own 1-yard line. Ben Logan’s defense swarmed three plays later to record a safety and take back the lead, 30-29.

“We were confident in that situation,” said Fay. “I mean 99 yards is a long way to go. We just wanted to make sure that adversity we had overcame this week was still intact.”

Ben Logan received the free kick after the safety and ran out the clock for the one-point victory.

“It seemed like in the second half that everything that could go wrong, did go wrong,” said WL-Salem head coach Dan McGill. “We talk about working through adversity all the time and tonight we couldn’t. They say adversity builds character. So we can either let this fester and tear us down or we can be inspired to get better.”

The start of Friday’s game was far less exciting than the finish for the Raiders.

WL-Salem struck quickly after Ben Logan went three-and-out on the game’s opening drive.

The Tigers marched 67 yards on 10 plays that was capped by a 3-yard TD run by Major Stratton. An Ethan Cole extra-point kick put the Tigers up 7-0 with 6:09 to play in the first quarter.

Ben Logan couldn’t catch a break as WL-Salem found the end zone less than 20 seconds later.

The Raider offense got pinned on their own 13-yard line after the ensuing kick off. On the first play, the Tigers’ Zayne Reed and Michael Farquharson chased Raider quarterback Cole Jones into the end zone for a safety. That made it a 9-0 Tiger lead with 5:55 left on the clock.

After the free kick, WL-Salem ran just two offensive plays before throwing an interception that was picked off by the Raiders’ Trace Tevis.

Ben Logan then drove the ball 61 yards for its first score of the game. Jones found Ben Whitten in the corner of the end zone on a fourth-and-19 for a 21-yard TD pass. Dalton Rockhold ran in a two-point conversion, which left his team trailing 9-8 with 1:00 to go in the opening quarter.

The Tigers found a spark late in the second quarter by finding pay dirt twice in a matter of minutes.

WL-Salem quarterback Trevor Woodruff hit Konner Smith for a 15-yard touchdown strike with 4:52 left to play in the half. The extra point made it a 16-8 advantage.

Ben Logan went three-and-out on their ensuing possession. That set up a 64-yard drive by the Tigers that was finished off with a 26-yard field goal by Cole with 6.2 seconds left to play.

WL-Salem would carry the 19-8 lead into halftime.

“We played well in the first half and made some good things happen,” said McGiill. “We had a lot of kids cramping and that hurt us. By the time the third quarter came we were out of subs and lost some of those guys.”

The momentum shifted in the third quarter as Ben Logan emerged after halftime a different team.

“Our coaches gave some inspiring speeches at halftime,” said Fay. “Our kids responded to that and came out ready to go in the second half.”

Rockhold, who converted from lineman to running back, spearheaded a gritty comeback by the Raiders with touchdown runs of 1 and 6 yards. Both two-point conversion attempts failed, but the Raiders had regained the lead 20-19 with 2:14 left to play in the third quarter. “He is a freak on the field,” said Fay. “We’ve done a lot with him, especially tonight. We’re confident with him and he left it all out there on the field.”

WL-Salem managed to tussle the momentum back in the fourth quarter. The Tigers connected with a 35-yard field goal by Cole. That put WL-Salem back on top 22-20 with 10:12 left to play in the game.

Penalties pushed Ben Logan back to its own 10-yard line on the following possession. One play later, WL-Salem’s Jace Wade stepped in front of a Jones’ pass and took it back 20 yards for a pick-6. That pushed the Tigers to a 29-20 lead with 9:58 to go.

The Raiders responded with a 90-yard drive and a fourth-and-goal touchdown. Jones hit Nolan Roose on a 7-yard TD strike. Rockhold added a two-point conversion run, but Ben Logan still trailed 29-28 with 6:06 left to play in the game.

Ben Logan threw an interception at the 1-yard line with 2:40 on the game clock. That put WL-Salem in poor field position and the Raider defense eventually capitalized.

Offensively, Jones delivered another solid passing performance with 188 yards on 14 completions and one touchdown. Roose finished with 77 receiving yards and a score, while Whitten tallied 61 receiving yards.

Woodruff sparked WL-Salem’s efforts with 131 passing yards and a score, while Ethan Larson was his top receiver with 64 yards on two catches. Reed led the Tiger ground attack with 42 rushing yards on 13 carries.

Defensively, Larson had five solo tackles and one assist and Wade had five tackles and an interception.

Ben Logan hosts Upper Scioto Valley on Friday for another non-league contest. WL-Salem is back in action at Cedarville to start Ohio Heritage Conference play.


 

RAIDERS @ TIGERS

Benjamin Logan 8 • 0 • 12 • 10 – 30

WL-Salem 9 • 10 • 0 • 10 – 29

TEAM STATISTICS BL • WL-S

First downs 19 • 15

Total net yards 276 • 263

Rushes/yards 19/22 • 40/132

Passing 254 • 131

Comp-att-int 20-38-2 • 9-15-1

Punts/avg 3/39.7 • 3/35.3

Fumbles-lost 0-0 • 4-2

Penalties-yards 5-35 • 7-50


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