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James Logan Downs Freedom in NCS Football Quarterfinals
By Nick Zambrano
Photos by Mike Heightchew
November 16, 2012
The James Logan Colts football team was met with a difficult challenge this past Friday night. The mission at hand? To shut down a Freedom High Falcons team that came into this quarterfinal North Coast Section game averaging almost 40 points per contest with an arsenal of weapons.
Challenge accepted and challenge completed.
The Colts kept the high-powered Falcons offense grounded and walked away with a 33-18 victory and earned a berth in the NCS semi-finals. The 18 points was the lowest total that Freedom scored in a game all season.
“We really just wanted them to work for their touchdowns,” Logan head coach George Zuber said.
On the first play of scrimmage, the Logan defense answered the call when linebacker Victor Fualaau picked off Freedom quarterback Dante Mays. A solid return on the interception by Fualaau gave the Colts an excellent starting position at the Freedom 29-yard line. Prior to Logan, Mays had thrown just four picks all season.
After a 21-yard bootleg by quarterback Jeffrey Prothro put Logan at the Falcons’ goal line, running back Warren Miles Long notched the game’s first score with his first of three touchdown runs.
It would be a night to remember for the Northwestern University-bound Long.
The senior finished the contest with a career-high 290 yards rushing to go along with his three touchdowns. In his last two games alone, Long has seven scores and has averaged 250.5 yards on the ground. On defense, he was equally effective with one fumble recovery.
Back on the other side of the ball, the Colts defense was handed the daunting task of shutting down Freedom star running back Joe Mixon.
Mixon led the Bay Valley Athletic League this season in total rushing yards with 1,354 and in total points scored with 170. In addition, the junior has racked up 26 total touchdowns.
On perhaps the most impressive play of the night though, Mixon took a pass from Mays, fumbled after the catch, recovered the fumble and then reversed field and navigated his way to the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown. Another touchdown run late in the fourth quarter gave Mixon two scores for the night but that would be all the offense that the Falcons could muster up.
“He’s a heck of a back, but we certainly contained him,” Zuber said of Mixon.
Up next for the Colts will be a semi-final game against the California High Grizzlies, scheduled for Nov. 23 in San Ramon.
The Grizzlies run an offense similar to the same style that the Colts use, relying heavily on a power running game. Featuring senior running back Karris Johnson, the California running game averages what most teams get on total offense with 254.7 yards per contest.
“Cal’s a good running team and we’re a good run-stopping team, so we’ll see how that goes,” said Zuber.
The winner of this contest will face the winner of Amador Valley High Dons and De La Salle High Spartans in the NCS championship game. Kick-off for the Colts and Grizzlies is set for 7 p.m.