by Beau Wicker
Logansport’s football team got defensive for homecoming on Friday.
The Berries throttled Muncie Central and pitched a shutout in front of a packed house at Berry Stadium in a 19-0 win.
The Berries (2-4, 2-2 North Central Conference) held the Bearcats to negative-1 yard rushing for the game on 18 attempts. And the Bearcats completed just 5 of 20 passes for 77 yards with two interceptions.
“I thought we were the more physical team. We played faster than them,” Logan coach Brad Urban said. “They have some fast kids on their team. That’s two weeks in a row we played fast teams and we’ve been the aggressor.”
It was the Berries’ first shutout victory since a 39-0 win over Kankakee Valley in a 2010 sectional game.
Khalil Carter had a team-high 5.5 tackles in the game for the Berries. Caleb McLochlin and Jacob Brown each had an interception. Austin Gaby, Michael Leonard and Brian Perez each had a sack.
“The coaches all week, they put us in the right formations, the right things basically,” Carter said. “There were pretty decent athletes on that side, they were pretty quick kids. We just tried our hardest to keep them contained to see what we could do.”
Logansport’s offense, meanwhile, churned out 282 yards on the ground and 318 yards of total offense.
With the disparity of 318-76 in total yardage, the Berries also dominated time of possession, controlling the ball for nearly 30 minutes in the 48-minute game.
Urban said the Bearcats (3-2, 1-2) came out in a different defensive formation he was expecting which led to a slow start offensively. But once the offense got going it churned out 18 first downs to Muncie’s six.
“Eventually we got into the plays that we needed to. In the second half we went to the unbalanced to throw them off,” Urban said. “My hat’s off to the defense, they kept us in it when the offense was struggling and obviously we had enough offense tonight.
“We ran 70-some plays. We’d like to put more points on the board but that eats up a lot of clock and keeps their defense on the field and eventually wore them down. That’s why we run this offense.”
Brown scored on a 2-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter to get the Berries out to a 6-0 lead.
The Berries recovered the onside kick and Marcus Record caught a pass from Ryan Schrock behind the line of scrimmage and ran it into the end zone for a 36-yard touchdown reception to make it 13-0 with 10:20 left in the half.
Muncie’s Timmric Barrett returned a punt 90 yards for a score with just over two minutes left in the half but the play was called back by a holding penalty, and the Berries took a 13-0 lead into the half.
A bad punt midway through the third quarter gave the Berries good field position, and Record again made the Bearcats pay with a 36-yard touchdown run with 4:12 left in the quarter.
On their next drive the Berries controlled the ball for over eight minutes. but the drive ended with an interception in the end zone on a halfback pass on a fourth-down play with 5:41 remaining. McLochlin and Brown came up with interceptions in the final four minutes to help preserve the shutout.
Record finished with 113 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. Brown had 63 yards rushing. Jacob Shelton was the main workhorse with 62 yards on 20 carries. Schrock had 41 yards and Isaac Eastburn added 39.
“We were able to run the midline belly which we had not really ran much this year, which was the one Marcus scored on and on that long drive we had Shelton getting the ball on the midline,” said Urban, who also credited the defensive play of tackle Perez and defensive end Kevin Gonzalez in the win.
“Obviously Brian Perez playing his first full game at defense coming back from the heart condition, he was definitely a plus out there. And Gonzo did a good job at defensive end for us as well. He’s a little guy out there but he’s got the job done for us the last two weeks. He gives us more speed and he just finds a way to get open and make plays.”
The Berries were able to handle a Muncie team that had a win over Kokomo and a 4-point loss to first-place Richmond.
The Berries have been able to bounce back strong after four straight losses to start the season.
“We’re just trying to get senior leadership going, get everyone going, just showing everybody we’re down but not out,” Carter said. “The conference is still kind of wide open. We’re trying to fight back in it.”
If not for the controversial loss to Anderson, the Berries would be just one game back of Richmond. As it is, they travel to Kokomo next week two games back of Richmond, which knocked off the Wildkats 37-20 on Friday night at Kokomo.