By RICK SOLEM
The key to Logan High School’s football team remaining alive in the playoffs is simple.
Executing that key may, however, be difficult.
When Logan hosts Mount Horeb/Barneveld at 7 p.m. tonight at Swanson Field in the third round of the WIAA Division 3 playoffs, everything could depend on stopping 6-foot-3, 185-pound sophomore quarterback Max Meylor.
“He's only a sophomore but he's a unique athlete,” said Vikings coach Travis Rohrer, a 1992 Logan graduate. “We ask a lot of him.
“If you don't take care of paying attention to Max, he's just as dangerous running as he is throwing.”
Meylor has 2,195 yards passing with 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He’s also rushed for 601 yards and seven touchdowns.
The Rangers (9-2) have seen teams that mix pass and run, but never to this extent playing in the Mississippi Valley Conference.
“A few (teams), but they are probably the most dynamic team we've seen,” said Logan coach Casey Knoble, “and it really stems from their quarterback. He's explosive, has a great arm and runs their offense very well.
“Right now, we're mostly worried about their quarterback. Their system is solid and they attack all parts of the field with good skill athletes. They're always looking for the mismatch. They're very dangerous.”
While the Vikings (8-3) mix it up on the ground and through the air, Logan isn’t half bad itself. In fact, the Rangers may even be more dynamic.
Mitch Schreiner is a very capable quarterback. The 5-9, 145-pound senior has 900 yards passing with eight TDs and four INTs.
Plus, they have a thunder-lightning backfield. Raekwon Tillman, the lightning, has 1,384 yards (7.5 avg.) and 20 touchdowns. Thunder, Calvin Wright, has 403 yards (4.8 avg.) and five TDs.
And then there’s the X factor in Aric Elmore. He’s only rushed 23 times but has gone for 192 yards (8.3 avg.) and three touchdowns. He also leads the team in receiving with 400 yards on 34 receptions (11.8 avg.).
Knoble said he may have some tricks up his sleeve. Elmore may be that trick at some point.
“Always,” Knoble said of stashing some tricks. "That's the only way to go. It's just finding the right time to pull them off.”
These two teams may have upset their way into the third round – MH/B, the fourth seed, beat No. 1 Lodi 40-14, while third-seeded Logan beat No. 2 Reedsburg 21-15 – but this isn’t new territory.
The Vikings made it to the fourth round last year, before being ousted by eventual state champions, Monona Grove, 49-21. Logan was defeated in this very same game last year by Marshfield, 41-7.