Canes beat Govs 35-24
Morristown East’s Chris Logan races towards the end zone to score a touchdown during Friday night’s 35-24 win over William Blount at Burke-Toney Stadium.
Chris Logan had the biggest night of his career Friday at Burke-Toney Stadium to propel Morristown East to a 35-24 victory over William Blount despite a record-setting air raid by the Governors.
Logan carried 17 times for 181 yards and three touchdowns as the Hurricanes evened their record and handed Dewayne Wells his first victory as their head coach in the process.
However it wasn’t easy because every time it looked like the ‘Canes were ready to put the visitors away, East committed a costly turnover or penalty that kept the Governors in the game. East had 10 penalties for 108 yards and turned the ball over three times.
The Hurricane pass defense was certainly put to the test as William Blount, now 0-2 for the young season, connected on 28 of 45 passes. That’s more attempts and completions than any team has ever had against East. But the Govs’ 282 passing yards was nowhere near the record of 454.
The old record for pass attempts against East was 42 by Knox Carter in 2004 and Greeneville in 2005. The record for completions was 23 by Anderson County in 2010.
Those passing stats were also a bit misleading as 18 of the completions were for 8 yards or less and 13 of those were 5 yards or less because quarterback Reed Daniels hit mostly short, quick passes all night long. However, he did connect with Joel Graham for touchdowns covering 22, 23 and 19 yards.
Daniels completed passes to nine different receivers with Graham catching 11 for 100 yards.
The ‘Canes secondary did a great job all night long of making tackles on those short passes to keep the receivers from turning them into big plays and also came up with four interceptions, three of which set up touchdowns.
Jacob Samsel got two of the picks and Bryson Stephens and Jordan Seal one apiece. Samsel returned one of his for a touchdown only to have a penalty wipe it off and Seal returned his to the Govs’ 1-yard line before fumbling as he was tackled with the ball going out of the end zone for a touchback.
Another defensive standout was J. R. Seals, who recorded three sacks.
Coach Wells remarked, “I was proud of the way our kids played. I thought we did some really good things on both sides of the ball.
“What we talked about was being more consistent in our play,” he added. “Sometimes we took two steps forward and two steps back, but we had some kids that really made some big plays for us tonight.
Wells continued, “We also hurt ourselves. We had too many penalties and some critical mistakes in some areas that hurt our progression in what we’re trying to do.
“Chris had a great night for us. He’s a great young man and such a team player,” said the coach. “He was kind of overshadowed last year by Matt (Thompson) but he’s a really good running back. We knew our speed would be a factor and it was.”
William Blount coach Justin Ridge echoed that thought. “It was a good effort, we just made too many mistakes. When you make mistakes against those guys, it’s easy touchdowns.
“That’s a fast team that wasn’t a great matchup for us, and they took advantage of our mistakes,” he said. “We just have to keep working hard and get better.”
The Hurricanes finished with 213 yards rushing and quarterback Devon Young hit 7 of 17 passes for 92 yards, including a 21-yard TD to Samsel at a critical point in the game.
William Blount totaled 378 yards as the Govs managed only 96 rushing.
The visitors threatened right out of the gate as Daniels completed four straight passes totaling 49 yards as he moved the Governors to a first down at the East 26. But Seals came up with a 10-yard sack on third down.
Daniels threw for Graham in the end zone on fourth-and-16 but Bailey Overbay tipped the ball away and Samsel came up with his first interception.
Starting at their 20, it took the Hurricanes just three plays to reach the end zone. Logan went up the middle for 27 on the first and Young hit Malique Dailey with an 11-yard pass on the next.
Young then ran the option to the left, got a great block from Logan on the corner, cut all the way back across the field and turned it into a 42-yard touchdown. Logan kicked the PAT with 7:36 left in the first.
WB came right back down the field, this time to the ‘Canes’ 24 before Cole Sargent and Mark Seals combined for another sack and Overbay broke up a fourth-down pass.
After East punted, Stephens intercepted and threaded his way back upfield for 48 yards to set the Hurricanes up at the WB 30. Young hit Logan with a swing pass out of the backfield for 10 yards and, after a penalty, Logan burst free for a 20-yard TD three plays later. Logan’s extra point made it 14-0 with 10:27 remaining in the half.
The Governors went three-and-out and East wasted a 45-yard punt return by Overbay to the visitors 38 with a three-and-out of its own.
Blount reeled off three first downs before Samsel intercepted and went 64 yards for the touchdown that was called back, so the ‘Canes started at the WB 43. Logan had a 17-yard run to set up his second touchdown on a 20-yard run with 1:32 left in the half.
The visitors got on the scoreboard when Tony Mejia tipped a pass and then pulled it in for an interception and Daniels connected with Graham on a 22-yard TD just 19.6 before intermission. Will Hodgeson kicked the point after.
On the Govs first possession of the second half, Daniels hit Brandon Tipton with a 56-yard pass and the visitors pulled within 20-10 as Hodgeson booted a 24-yard field goal with 7:30 left in the third.
But East bounced right back with a 72-yard, 9-play drive highlighted by a 26-yard pass to Samsel and Logan’s 15-yard run. The points came when Young fired to Samsel on a slant pattern across the middle for a 21-yard score. The snap wasn’t good on the point after attempt and Samsel picked up the ball and passed to Grant Sliger for a two-point conversion.
The teams exchanged punts before Daniels hit Graham with a 23-yard TD toss on the second play of the fourth period as the Govs pulled within 28-17.
East punted again and WB went for it on fourth-and-10 at their 40 with a pass going incomplete. Logan scored on the first snap for East and then kicked the point after with 8:31 left in the game.
Midway of the quarter, Jacob Krajnik recovered a fumble and Daniels and Graham teamed for a 19-yard TD. Hodgeson’s PAT closed the scoring with 4:25 left.
-By Derwin Helton, Tribune Sports Writer