MILLVILLE — Logan’s defense was up to the challenge on Friday night.
After allowing four touchdowns in each of the last three games — all wins — Logan’s coaches stressed with their defense the importance of getting off the field more often and getting stops.
That’s exactly what the Grizzlies did, forcing four Ridgeline turnovers and recording five sacks as they kept their perfect season intact with an impressive 24-20 Region 12 victory.
Every one of those takeaways was critical because Logan’s offense coughed it up four times as well.
“We always talk about taking care of the ball, but sometimes there’s going to be games like that where you make mistakes … but our defense, my hats off to them. If they don’t get those four takeaways our takeaways probably lose us this football game,” said Logan coach Travis Van Leeuwen, whose team improved to 6-0 with the win.
Logan quarterback Jonny Parkinson passed for a touchdown and rushed for another as Logan built a 17-0 lead midway through the third quarter. It took some heroics by Jaxson Horsley to seal the win though.
After Ridgeline cut that deficit to 17-14 with 2:09 left in the game as Breck Jackson hit Zeb Niemann on 43-yard TD pass, Horsley squashed the momentum has he left to snare the ensuing onside kick and then raced 52 yards for the touchdown for the 24-14 lead.
“That was the game-changing play, that won us the ballgame. Who knows what could’ve happened if he didn’t make that play, and typically you tell our guys to get down after they catch it. Ballsy play by him and he made a great run,” said Van Leeuwen.
Jackson engineered one more scoring drive hitting Niemann on a 2-yard TD pass with 44 seconds remaining, but Logan recovered the onside kick one more time to clinch the win.
Jackson finished the game completing 26 of 43 passes for 232 yards, but he threw four interceptions as he was under constant pressure from the Grizzlies front seven.
“That was the game plan going into this week getting pressure on him and getting him down on the ground,” Van Leeuwen.
Logan’s Isaac Larsen recorded two of those four interceptions, with Jaylen Sargent and Kevin Nye each adding one.
Parkinson wasn’t immune to the turnover bug either as he completed 13 of 22 passes for 150 yards but three interceptions.
If they don’t get those four takeaways, our takeaways probably lose us this football game. – Logan head coach Travis Van Leeuwen
There wasn’t anything wrong with Logan’s offense on the opening series. Parkinson marched his team on an 11-play scoring drive to open the game that he punctuated with a six-yard TD run as he scrambled out of Ridgeline’s pass rush for the 7-0 lead.
Logan’s offense marched quickly again on it’s second drive by Ridgeline safety Junior Damuni halted that drive with an interception at the goal line.
The turnovers prevented either offense from getting into a rhythm in the first half, but Logan did enough to build a 10-0 lead as Jonathan Coffin booted a 23-yard field goal on the final play of the half.
With 5:23 left in the third quarter Tim Van Leeuwen pushed Logan’s lead to 17-0 on a one-yard TD catch from that came three plays after Parkinson slipped out of a sack and scrambled 40 yards to the 1-yard line.
Ridgeline’s offense had a response a few minutes later with Michael Tuckett racing around the end for a 19-yard touchdown to trim the deficit to 17-7 with 2:54 left in the third.