MALVERN - A big rushing night and a stingy defense proved more than enough for Logan Magnolia to stay undefeated in Class A, District 8 Friday night.
Paul Hutson led a 444 yard rushing effort while the Logan Magnolia held East Mills to less than 200 total yards in a 48-7 victory on Homecoming Night in Malvern.
“We were able to do a few things offensively here and there in spots. Defensively we did hold them here and there and then they’d get a big play. They’re just a better team than we are,” said East Mills coach Andy Irwin.
The Wolverines (3-2 overall, 2-1 in the district) trailed 13-7 after a quarter and appeared to be handling the Panthers’ high power rushing game that entered the night averaging better than 300 yards on the ground. But Logan-Magnolia, powered by Hutson’s strong running, tallied three unanswered touchdowns, all on the ground in the second quarter, to blow open the game.
Hutson capped the first half scoring with a seven yard touchdown scamper to put Logan-Magnolia ahead 34-7 at halftime. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior did most of his damage between the tackles. He finished with 182 yards and three TD runs.
“Their offensive line fires off the ball and their running backs run hard,” Irwin said. We knew that from the beginning. We thought we might be able to handle that and keep it a little bit more manageable and they did put it on the ground three times in the first half and didn’t lose any of those fumbles, so if any of those go our way, I don’t think it makes a huge difference in the game but it would have benefited us.”
The Wolverines’ lone score came on an Austin Sommerla to Nick Pittmon pass and catch for 91 yards. East Mills never really threatened the rest of the game.
Logan-Magnolia took the second half kick off an marched 82 yards in seven plays to go up 40-7 with 9:26 to go in the third quarter on Hutson’s third and final touchdown run. The two-point conversion put the Panthers ahead 42-7 and kicked in the “mercy rule” continuous clock the rest of the game.
Irwin pulled his starters mid-way through the third frame and both teams played with their back-ups the rest of the way.
Irwin said the Panthers had a good, effective game plan and executed it well. The Panthers knew middle linebacker and leading-tackler Michael Story was key to the Wolverines’ defense.
“They really tried to key on him on defense,” Irwin said “They were watching him and making sure they got a block on him and he was still making plays. I thought our defensive line helped up their quick attack and I thought a lot of kids got to the ball. We had some plays work for us offensively. I didn’t feel like they really shut us down until that second half and we started subbing.”
With the win, Logan Magnolia (4-1 overall, 3-0 in the district) takes control of District 8. East Mills heads to Underwood (3-2 overall, 3-0 in the district) on Friday in what is sure to be a key district match-up.
“We have to get healthy for next week and make some adjustments,” Irwin said. “We go to Underwood this week and they’re another power team. We feel with these next couple games are going to be important to us how we fall in the district because I think there are some pretty evenly matched teams coming up for us.”