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September 7, 2013

Onside kicks, turnovers hurt Berries in loss at HN

HUNTINGTON — Logansport’s football game at Huntington North on Friday night turned for the worse for the Berries near the end of the first half.

The Vikings scored 14 points in the final 45 seconds to turn a close game to that point into a 21-point halftime lead, and they were able to go on for a 50-26 win in the North Central Conference opener for both teams.

“We did some things a lot better,” Logan coach Brad Urban told WSAL in a postgame interview. “It’s hard because you see progress. Let’s be honest, this team [HN] is probably a more talented team than we played last week, man for man. They had a lot of talent on that team, and really we were a lot more competitive in this game than we were the last game.

“It’s got to be a mental thing, as I told the kids that we have to mentally get over this hump that is causing us to give away games. When we play a team that we match up with pretty well we’ve got to bring it and when we play that maybe has a little more talent it seemed we upped our game a little bit. “

The Berries (0-3, 0-1) had problems stopping the Vikings’ (1-2, 1-0) passing game all night. But Marcus Record came up with an interception with just over a minute left in the first half with Logan trailing 28-20.

But Logan fumbled the next play right back to HN. The Vikings quickly capitalized when quarterback Keenan Leichty scored on a 9-yard run to make it 34-20 with 45 seconds left in the half.

“It’s something we do a hundred times during the week, we pitched it behind Isaac [Eastburn] there. That was a huge play,” Urban told WSAL.

The Vikings then recovered their second onside kickoff of the game. Urban argued the kick traveled just nine yards but to no avail. Leichty hit Scott McClellan for a 9-yard TD pass with 14 seconds left to make it 41-20.

The Vikings recovered their third onside kick right before halftime before the time ran out before they could record another score.

“The onside kicks, obviously we’ve got to do a better job,” Urban said. “It’s just a matter of fair catching, the things we talk about, just going up and getting it. I know sometimes when guys are running at you it’s a hard thing to do, but you’ve just got to do it. That part of the game was probably the biggest momentum changer for both sides. It brought them up and brought us down. They score and get the ball right back.”

The Berries’ offense slowed down at the start of the second half after they scored on their first two possessions of the game. Austin Gaby came up with an interception on HN’s first possession of the second half to give the Berries’ good field position, but they came up two yards short of a first down.

Bailey Craven then recovered an HN fumble but again the Berries quickly fumbled the ball right back. The Vikes again made them pay on a 5-yard TD run by Charleston Dydasco to make it 41-20.

Following an interception thrown by Logansport, HN’s Wingo kicked a 27-yard field goal, showing the Vikings could indeed kick the ball with authority though they relied on onside-type kicks for all of their kickoffs in the game.

Jacob Shelton capped off the scoring with a 12-yard TD run for the Berries with 7:09 left in the game that was set up by a 53-yard burst by him on the play before.

Shelton led the Berries with 149 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 26 carries.

Ryan Schrock scored on a 1-yard QB keeper for the Berries for the first score of the game that was set up by an HN fumble for a quick 7-0 lead.

The Vikes took a 14-7 lead when Schrock found Alex Brink for a 5-yard TD pass to tie the game at the end of the first quarter.

Shelton added a 5-yard TD run that brought Logan to within 28-20 with 3:19 left in the first half.

Quarterback Leichty lit up the Berries, completing 31 of 41 passes for 396 yards with four touchdowns and the two interceptions. McClellan was the main target, catching 10 passes for 197 yards and three TDs.

The Berries outrushed the Vikes 204-174 in the contest. Record added 46 yards on four carries.

“Our offense played better this week,” Urban said. “I wouldn’t say to the point that we were playing well, we turned the ball over way too much to play well. But we did better.”

The Logansport coach is looking for improvement from his squad.

“We have to get better. I told them that if we get better, I can easily see us turning this thing around and getting back to 3-3,” he said. “If we continue to get better and correct those things right now and say we’re going to practice like winners and practice like we know how we win. These kids practice hard. I think it’s just a mental block that we have to get over that’s causing us to make these mistakes in crucial times.

“We can work our way back. It’s going to take a lot of hard work, and that’s what football’s about. Mentally I know they’re down right now in starting out 0-3, but I have confidence in the guys that we can get this thing turned around. We’ve just got to do things a little bit better.”

Logan hosts Anderson next week.

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