Playoff Preview: Logan Elm Brings Tough Test For Undefeated Ironmen on Friday

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With the Jackson Ironmen heading into the postseason, the mayor of Jackson, Randy Heath, has proclaimed tomorrow to be Jackson Ironmen Football Day in the city. 

The road to the state finals now is now in front of the No. 3 seed Ironmen (10-0) and the first roadblock lies ahead.  The No. 6 seed Logan Elm Braves (7-3) hope to silence cheers in what looks to be a battle of the ground game at Alumni Stadium this Friday.

Rewind to August during the heat of two-a-days, Ironmen coach Andy Hall said he wanted his team to, “get to the playoffs and do great things in the playoffs.”  The temperature has cooled since the summer, but the desire for Ironmen domination on Friday’s is still red hot. 

With the Jackson offense averaging over five touchdowns per game, and a defense that typically holds opponents to fewer than 10 points, Jackson’s operation is a well-oiled machine.  Linebacker Reagan Williams is the key cog to the defense that forces opposing offenses off of the field fast and then Gridiron Glory Player of the Year finalist Hunter Sexton takes over on offense. 

However, Logan Elm will bring the Ironmen one of the toughest tests of the season.

Jackson has only played three playoff teams this season and easily won the SEOAL title, as the Braves battled through a tough schedule throughout 2014 with key players in quarterback Marcus Paul and running back D.J. White.  Paul, similar to Sexton, feels comfortable scrambling out of tough situations.  The Ironmen defense will have to deal with a two-headed monster in the Braves’ ground game.       

Veteran Logan Elm coach, Scott Bartholomew, has got his Braves teams to 10 playoff appearances in his career.  The Logan Elm senior class has also seen postseason action every year since they were freshman.   The experienced Brave coaches and players could give Logan Elm a much-needed mental boost when playing at an expected record-breaking crowd at Alumni Stadium in Jackson, as it will be the first playoff game in history to be played on the field.

Logan Elm struggled down the stretch, as they went 1-3 in the last four games due largely in part to sloppy play.  The Braves gave up 10 turnovers throughout the past 3 weeks and in order to contend with Jackson’s airtight defense the Braves will have to hang on to the football.   

In order to pull away with a playoff win, the Ironmen will have to outsource their style of play to players besides Hunter Sexton and Reagan Williams.  Sophomore running back Johnny Farley looked sharp last Friday against Gallia running for 130 yards.  If both Farley and Derek Rafferty are able to turn their wheels and find holes against Logan Elm, the Braves will have their hands full on defense. 

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in Jackson. 

'Gridiron Glory' airs every Friday night at 11:30 p.m. on WOUB. You can follow the show on Twitter @gridironglory, like the Gridiron Glory page on Facebook, and follow along on Instagram @woubsports. You can also join the conversation throughout the season by using the hashtag #GridGlory!