RUSSELLVILLE – The Warren East football team picked up some much-needed momentum heading into the postseason, beating host Logan County 39-28 on Friday at Logan County High School.
A week after allowing 56 points in a loss to Daviess County, Warren East (3-5) forced six turnovers and shut out the No. 10 team in Class 4A in the latest AP poll in the second half to allow the offense to come storming back for the victory.
“I can’t say enough about our kids on the defensive side and our defensive coaching staff,” WE coach Jeff Griffith said. “They had a really good week of preparation and did some soul searching after last week. Our kids really rebounded and we came out and played well tonight.”
Logan County (4-3) finished with 397 yards of offense, but miscues and penalties plagued the offense all night. The Cougars’ first three drives ended with interceptions, but Warren East’s offense only cashed in once – with a Nolan Ford touchdown pass to Tray Price midway through the first quarter.
The Cougars finally broke through late in the first quarter with a six-play, 65-yard drive that ended with an Anthony Woodard touchdown run – pushing Logan County in front 7-6.
It was the first of five lead changes in the first half.
Price and Ford hooked up again for a 73-yard touchdown to give the Raiders the edge again, but Logan County answered with a 2-yard keeper from Davin Yates that gave Logan County a 14-13 lead.
Ford’s third touchdown pass of the half – a 27-yard strike to KJ Alexander – pushed Warren East briefly in front again, only to have Logan County answer with a Ryan Rayno TD run that gave the Cougars a 21-20 lead with 50 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
Logan County would add one more score after recovering the onside kick on the ensuing kickoff and marching down the field, with Woodard scoring on a 17-yard pass from Yates with 0:00.3 seconds left.
That would be the Cougars’ final points of the night, with Warren East limiting Logan County to 53 yards in the second half.
“I think we put our defense in some bad spots in the first half that gave them a short field,” Griffith said. “Our kids just bowed their necks and decided that we were going to get after them. We continued to grow up. We are an extremely young football team and we grew up tonight on the defensive side in the second half.”
With the Logan County offense unable to add to the lead, Warren East’s offense was able to get going and start the comeback.
Ford scored on a keeper early in the fourth, but the two-point conversion failed and Logan County was able to hold on to a 28-26 advantage.
A fumble near midfield gave the Raiders the ball back with 10:35 left and Warren East struck again. with Ford connecting with Simon Ghee for a 27-yard touchdown pass that gave the Raiders a 32-28 lead with 7:46 left.
Warren East’s defense stopped Logan County on fourth-and-short on the next drive, giving the Raiders a chance to run out the clock. Facing third-and-14 at its own 44, Warren East opted to go to the air – with Ford throwing a strike to Price, who made a one-hand catch and raced 56 yards for the touchdown that stretched the margin to 11 points.
“Tray has been a huge part of our offense this year,” Ford said. “Coming in as a freshman, I know it is tough. There are a bunch of kids out there, but he’s making plays for us.”
Logan County got the ball back one more time, with DeSean Gilbert’s interception in the final minute securing the win for the Raiders.
“Coach told us to come out like we did in the first half, to keep fighting and we did,” Gilbert said.
Ford finished with 258 yards passing and added 143 yards rushing, while Price had 159 yards on six receptions.
“It was great,” Ford said. “Our defense – all night. I think they had five picks and a fumble. That just gives us opportunities to score and we took advantage of it.”
Wyatt Blake finished with 168 yards rushing for Logan County.
Both teams will open play in the 4A playoffs next week. Warren East is scheduled to play at Russell County, while Logan County is scheduled to host against an opponent to be determined.
WEHS 6 14 0 19 – 39
LCHS 7 21 0 0 – 28
WE – Tray Price 12 pass from Nolan Ford (kick failed), 5:36
LC – Anthony Woodard 2 run (Lucas Arevalo kick), 0:10
WE – Price 73 pass from Ford (Kobe Kawaii kick), 8:52
LC – Davin Yates 2 run (Arevalo kick), 4:58
WE – KJ Alexander 27 pass from Ford (Kawaii kick), 2:18
LC – Ryan Rayno 1 run (Arevalo kick), 0:50
LC – Woodard 17 pass from Yates (Arevalo kick), 0:00.3
WE – Ford 5 run (run failed), 11:53
WE – Simon Ghee 27 pass from Ford (run failed), 7:46
WE – Price 56 pass from Ford (Kawaii kick), 2:25