With an entire defense focused elsewhere, Logan Carroll proved he is not the type player to be overlooked. As Hampton keyed on stopping Meigs County star running back Will Meadows, a Mr. Football semifinalist, Carroll stepped in to kick-start the Tigers offense in Friday's Class 2A second-round win.
The junior quarterback completed 8 of 11 pass attempts for 135 yards and a touchdown and also ran 22 times for 207 yards and two more scores in the 49-34 win that advanced Meigs County (12-0) to the quarterfinals.
For that effort, Carroll has been named Times Free Press Player of the Week.
"He's gotten better and better all season," said Tigers coach Jason Fitzgerald, who also praised Carroll for the way he has taken over for graduated all-state quarterback Aaron Swafford, a three-time Mr. Football finalist who signed with the Naval Academy. "I told Logan early on that he doesn't have to try to be Aaron. He just needs to be himself and that's good enough.
"He's done a great job. The way Hampton played us defensively, we had to throw it more and he made some really good things happen. We're a run-first team, but we have full confidence in Logan and our receivers."
Hampton took the opening possession for a touchdown and after Meigs County had countered with a score of its own, the Bulldogs answered with another TD to retake the lead.
"We've been behind a few times this season so our kids don't get rattled," Fitzgerald said. "They've been in so many games against good teams and they know just because we get down doesn't mean we've lost. We come right back and try to answer that score with one of our own and keep coming."
With Hampton crowding the line of scrimmage to take away running lanes, Carroll found passing lanes that allowed his team to match the Bulldogs early momentum and eventually back the defense off to create room to run the ball.
The Tigers closed the first half with back-to-back TD runs, the first a 15-yarder by Carroll, who also opened the second half with a 21-yard scoring strike to Cameron Huckabey. That TD helped Meigs County begin to pull away and Carroll later added an 84-yard run to the 1, with Meadows scoring on the next play.
"We were prepared for a hard-fought game, knowing both teams are really physical," said Carroll, who has rushed for 774 yards, thrown for 793 and accounted for 23 TDs this season. "They were keying in on the run at the start, but once we started throwing the rock around, things started to open up."
Contact Stephen Hargis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6293. Follow him on Twitter @StephenHargis.