Aric Elmore didn’t sleep much leading up to Friday. With a chance to make Logan High School football history, his mind was consumed with thoughts of defeating Mount Horeb/Barneveld and becoming the first Rangers team to advance to the WIAA Division 3 state semifinals.
The junior can now rest easy. At least until he starts looking forward to next week.
Elmore scored two rushing touchdowns and returned an interception 59 yards for a score to lead the Rangers to a convincing 35-20 victory over Mount Horeb/Barneveld Friday night at Swanson Field.
“It’s really exciting,” said Elmore, who finished with 130 yards rushing. “It’s getting us more and more jacked for the next game.”
The Rangers (10-2) will attempt to keep this historical season alive next week against Monona Grove, which defeated defending Division 3 champion Catholic Memorial 20-17 in its quarterfinal game.
“We hear that Logan has zero chance of beating Reedsburg, and then we beat Reedsburg. We wanted to come (out) stronger at (Mount Horeb/Barneveld) and show them that we have the ability to do anything if we put our minds to it,” Elmore said. “We did that.”
Elmore and the Rangers will now put their minds to defeating Monona Grove (12-0).
“I’m ecstatic right now,” Logan running back Raekwon Tillman said. “I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else out there. ... We always wanted to amount to something great, and we’re doing that right now.”
Tillman, after being held to just 26 yards in last week’s 21-15 victory over Reedsburg, erupted for 146 yards on 19 carries. He didn’t carry the ball until Logan’s third possession, but he looked determined when he finally got his hands on the ball.
Tillman bolted up the left sideline and took his first carry 49 yards and into Mount Horeb/Barneveld (8-4) territory.
That run came in the wake of two explosive touchdown plays for Elmore that put the Rangers up 14-7 midway through the first quarter.
Elmore took his first carry 24 yards for a touchdown in response to Mount Horeb/Barneveld’s opening touchdown — a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Max Meylor.
“That was key just for our confidence,” Logan coach Casey Knoble said of Elmore’s first score. “It’s still kids playing football, and when they’re confident, they’re a lot better than when they’re unsure.
“That gave us that boost that we’re OK and then our defense kind of settled down.”
Elmore scored on a 49-yard run on Logan’s next offensive play, but it was his interception return for a touchdown late in the first half that put the Rangers in complete control.
Meylor threw over the middle, but Elmore read the pass, jumped the route, picked off the pass and took it for a touchdown to give the Rangers a 28-7 lead at the half. It was the only real mistake made by the sophomore quarterback, who completed 27 of 36 passes for 323 yards and a TD.
“I just read it,” Elmore said. “I saw it coming and had to take it.”
He took it all the way into the end zone and the Vikings were never able to recover.
“The kid’s electric, and you sense that every time he touches the ball,” Mount Horeb/Barneveld coach Travis Rohrer said. “He can go the distance whenever he touches the ball, and his first two touches ended up in touchdowns against us tonight.”