A game from state, in territory the Logan High School has never been in before, and all that exudes from its football team is confidence.
At 7 p.m. tonight, the 10-2 Rangers head to Baraboo High School to take undefeated and top-seeded Monona Grove in the WIAA Division 3 semifinals. Pregame with Mike Kearns and Scott Erickson begins at 6:45 p.m. on AM 580. Click the link to the left to watch or listen to live streaming of the game.
The Silver Eagle is a team that does a little bit of everything offensively, led by its quarterback, Tyler Blang.
The 6-foot-3, 178-pound senior has 947 yards (7.3 avg.) and 13 touchdowns rushing to go along with 1,342 yards passing. He has 13 more touchdowns in the air and just three interceptions.
“He is the key in my mind,” Knoble said of Blang. “If we shut him down, we’re going to be in good shape.”
In a 35-20 win over Mount Horeb/Barneveld last week, Logan watched 6-3 quarterback Max Meylor go 27-for-36 for 323 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in the wind, rain and slop.
Blang is a good passer, but won't do anything close to what Meylor did.
That said, Knoble thinks he throws just as good a deep ball. He also noted that, from the film he watched, a lot of Blang’s passes were dropped, which makes sense considering his completion percentage is just 51, while he has just three interceptions.
What Monona Grove does offensively isn’t anything new for Logan.
“We do a lot of things offensively, going anywhere from spread to center to double-wing stuff,” Monona Grove coach Michael Stassi said.
The Silver Eagle is a mash up of everything the Rangers have seen so far in the playoffs. What they want to do is run option, but if they can't or don't, they can go in a number of other directions, and both in the air and on the ground.
“They have a nice mix,” Knoble said. “We haven’t had to throw a lot of new things in to defense these guys.”
Behind Blang, is a combination of backs with power and speed. Toren Young is a 6-foot, 205-pound fullback that has 877 yards rushing (6.6 avg.) and 10 touchdowns. Brock Offerdahl, at 5-10, 185, has 674 yards (5.1 avg.) and 12 touchdowns.
“When they’re doing things right and feeling good, they’ll stick with (a quarterback-fullback combination) and try and run their option,” Knoble said.
The formula for Monona Grove defensively is simple. Stop Logan's potent ground attack.
“Each team presents different problems and concerns and, of course, this team has more than their share of concerns for us,” Stassi said. “We just need to be able to stop Logan from running the ball the way they do.”
Stassi was very concerned with Aric Elmore and Raekwon Tillman. Elmore does a little of everything. He’s dynamite when rushing with a 9.8-yard average. He has 322 yards and five touchdowns rushing on the season. In the passing game, the 5-10, 175-pound junior has 35 receptions for 412 yards (11.8 avg.) and four touchdowns.
Tillman is Logan’s primary ball carrier with 204 rushes for 1,530 yards (7.5 avg.) and 20 touchdowns.
“If we can’t contain that type of speed,” Stassi said, “we have to shut that down or it’s going to be a long night for us.”
Complimenting Tillman in the backfield is Calvin Wright, all 270 pounds of him. The 6-foot senior has 442 yards rushing (4.7 avg.) and six touchdowns this season. Senior quarterback Mitch Schreiner is 69-for-136 for 912 yards with nine touchdowns and five interceptions this season.