The wrapped cast that started at the left wrist and extended to the left elbow of Raekwon Tillman looked uncomfortable and detrimental for a running back.
A broken bone in his hand forced Tillman to protect an injury he sustained Oct. 4 even more than he had in the past two games, but it didn’t slow the senior’s production.
Tillman carried 21 times, gained 223 yards and scored four touchdowns as the third-seeded Rangers beat sixth-seeded Evansville/Albany 34-13 in a WIAA Division 3 first-round playoff game at Swanson Field on Saturday.
“It’s healing very well, but the pain is still pretty bad,” Tillman said. “I could have gone without it, but we thought I should use it for safety precautions.”
Even with the cast, Tillman didn’t fumble once as Logan (8-2) earned a second-round game at second-seeded Reedsburg (9-1) next weekend.
The Rangers rushed for 407 yards — Calvin Wright added 108 on 15 carries — and controlled the Blue Devils (5-5) from beginning to end.
Logan made three big plays in the second quarter to allow it to keep that control.
The Rangers maintained a 6-0 lead when senior Zach Hoeth defended perfectly a pass from Matt Sperry to Kyle Rutkowski in the end zone.
The pass was on a third-and-goal play from the 1-yard line, and Hoeth kept inside position and pulled down the interception.
Logan followed that with an 80-yard touchdown drive that resulted in Tillman’s second score and a 13-0 lead.
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Kyle Bakalars then forced and recovered a fumble on Evansville/Albany’s next play, and Tillman followed that with a 9-yard TD run.
The two touchdowns in an 11-second span gave the Rangers a 20-0 lead late in the second quarter.
“Oh, jeepers, did that change things,” Blue Devils coach Ron Grovesteen said. “We were just getting some momentum (with two good drives), and (Bakalars) made a good tackle and popped the ball loose.”
The Blue Devils did answer with another good drive — it went nine plays, covered 81 yards and resulted in a touchdown — before the Rangers hit them with the third play of the trifecta.
The ensuing kickoff sailed out of bounds, and Logan asked for another kick instead of the ball at its own 35-yard line.
Aric Elmore caught the next kickoff at the Logan 21 and took it to the end zone with 12.3 seconds on the clock for a 27-7 halftime lead.
“Boy, that kid is something else,” Logan coach Casey Knoble said of Elmore, who has four kickoff/punt returns for touchdowns. “He’s one of the more explosive players around, and he can make a play at any time.”
Elmore also had a 60-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter called back on an illegal block and a 69-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter called back on a hold.
The big plays provided plenty of cushion for Logan’s defense, which held Evansville/Albany to 41 rushing yards on 25 carries and made it a pass-only offense.
“That’s what we wanted to do,” said Wright, a linebacker. “We always want to go out there and shut down that run, and that’s what we did today.”