by Beau Wicker
Logansport’s football team had a chance to show how far it had come since the beginning of the season against Frankfort on Friday night.
But a series of unfortunate events at the end of the first half compounded by more mistakes to start the second took the Berries out of the game. The Hot Dogs, meanwhile, put together a strong performance and walked away with a 31-13 win in a Class 4A sectional game at Berry Stadium.
“Things just started to unravel quickly,” Logan coach Brad Urban said. “That’s how it goes in the playoffs, you can’t make mistakes.”
The Hot Dogs (5-5) travel to No. 8 New Haven (9-1) next week for a semifinal game. The Berries finish 3-7.
The Berries were driving late in the first half trailing just 10-7 when the mistakes started occurring. They had a dropped pass in the end zone that could have been a touchdown before missing on a 37-yard field goal attempt with 1:35 left in the half.
The defense held on a three-and-out. The Berries nearly blocked the ensuing punt but came up empty and were flagged for a personal foul for running into the kicker keeping Frankfort’s drive alive.
The Hot Dogs took advantage, needing just 34 seconds to drive 73 yards. They did so by completing two long pass plays. The first was a 40-yard strike from Isaac Rudd to Eian Stidham. The second occurred on third-and-long with 9 seconds remaining when Rudd found Stidham again open behind the defense for a 22-yard TD pass that gave the Hot Dogs a 17-7 lead at the half.
“That was a big momentum swing and frankly we never recovered from that,” Urban said.
The Berries got the ball to open the second half, but they fumbled a pitch on a third-and-5 play that James Brandenburg scooped up and ran 37 yards for a touchdown and all of a sudden it was a 24-7 game.
The Berries turned the ball over on their next two possessions on a fumble and interception. Right before the interception the Berries dropped what could have been another touchdown reception.
Stidham scored on a 1-yard run with 7:54 remaining in the game to give Frankfort a 31-7 lead.
“They took care of the ball and were efficient on offense. We were not as efficient,” Urban said. “We just didn’t get the job done.”
The Berries’ second-team offense drove the ball 84 yards in 1:48 against Frankfort’s backups and Austin Muller scored on a 7-yard run as time expired.
The Hot Dogs drove 82 yards on their second possession of the game and Brandenburg scored on an 18-yard run to give them an early 7-0 lead.
The Berries answered with an 80-yard drive of their own. Marcus Record broke a tackle and darted 34 yards to paydirt to tie the game at 7-7 with 3:06 left in the first quarter, but that would be their last score until the final play of the game.
Evan Giebel capped a 76-yard drive with a 23-yard field goal that gave the Hot Dogs a 10-7 lead with 7:20 left in the second quarter. He later had a 43-yard field goal negated by a delay-of-game penalty in the second half when the Hot Dogs decided to then punt.
The Berries drove right back down the field before they stalled out and started self-imploding.
“They all piled up on us and we had to abandon our game plan in the second half and had to throw the ball around,” Urban said. “There were still plays to be made but we didn’t make any plays, and they were solid throughout and did what they usually do.”
Brandenburg finished with 103 yards on 16 carries to lead the Hot Dogs.
For the most part the Berries contained Frankfort standout Rudd other than the key drive that ended the first half. He finished with 103 yards passing and just 12 yards rushing.
Luis Medina added 58 yards rushing on nine carries for the Dogs.
Record finished with 72 yards on 11 carries to lead Logan. Jacob Shelton returned to the field for the first time in four games after recovering from a leg injury and had 26 yards on six totes.
The Berries lose some good players to graduation that stuck with it and got things turned around after an ugly 0-2 start.
Things appear to be on the upswing after the JV and freshman teams posted successful seasons.
“We’ve got some young guys, but we’ve got to get in the weight room and get bigger, faster and stronger,” Urban said. “We don’t have very many big guys, but we’ve got to play a little bit more physical football, especially this time of year. That’s going to be what we’re shooting for and we’ve just got to get after it. But too many mistakes tonight.”