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Sept. 14: La Crosse Logan vs. La Crosse Central

Central High School quarterback Johnny Davis is pursued by Logan’s Harper Jankowski as he scrambles during Friday night's Battle for the Ark at UW-La Crosse's Veterans Memorial Field. The Red Raiders won 22-10.

Anyone playing defense for the Central High School football team on Friday was gassed when the game clock at Veterans Memorial Field ticked down to zero.

But every single one of them was happy to celebrate, too.

Central activities director Joe Beran stood holding the Ark of Victory for what seemed to be an eternity before the Red Raiders got their second win, rushed to him and held the prized possession above their heads after beating Logan 22-10.

Central (4-1, 2-1) was pushed hard by a Logan offense that gained 343 yards but scored just twice after turning it over four times.

“We were resilient,” Central senior Zach Fellenz said. “It was bend but don’t break, and there were times we had our hands on our knees, but we never quit, and we weren’t going to let them in the end zone.”

That only happened once, but the Rangers (2-3, 1-2) provided pressure a number of times behind the direction of senior quarterback Calvin Mavin, who passed for 180 yards but was intercepted three times.

The biggest was probably when he threw a long pass toward the right sideline near the end of the second quarter. The Red Raiders led 8-3 at that point, and Max Popp pulled down the interception at Central’s 19-yard line with 3 minutes, 18 seconds on the clock.

The Red Raiders ran eight plays and scored when quarterback Johnny Davis connected with his brother Jordan on a 23-yard touchdown pass with 1:02 left. The junior receiver caught the ball in single coverage at the front corner of the end zone, and Johnny Davis ran the conversion for a 16-3 lead his team took to halftime.

“We just made a couple of big mistakes again,” Logan coach Casey Knoble said. “The mistakes we are making in big moments are really costing us.”

Damond Butler rushed for 81 yards, and the Rangers got within 16-10 by taking the ball 57 yards on Logan’s first possession of the third quarter. Mavin reached the end zone from the 9 with 7:14 left before Central answered that with a 67-yard touchdown drive for the final margin. Steven Cross scored from 8 yards out for that touchdown.

The Red Raiders had the ball for around 9 of the 24 second-half minutes and intercepted two passes in the end zone in the fourth quarter.

“The turnovers we got were huge because that’s something we didn’t get last year,” Central coach Tony Servais said. “I think we had one interception last year, and we may be up to seven this year. We’re been opportunistic this year, and we were again tonight.”

Logan started the game by doing the best thing it could do followed by the worst.

The Rangers put together a long drive after taking the opening kickoff, getting four first downs and moving the ball to the Central 15 before Calvin Mavin was stopped for no gain on fourth-and-3.

Logan converted two fourth downs during the drive, but the Red Raiders came up with the big stop to force Tyler Harris to kick a 32-yard field goal.

The drive was just what the Rangers needed to do to keep Central’s offense off the field. Mavin rushed for a first down and passed for one.

It didn’t take long for Central to take the momentum away. Johnny Davis was flagged for illegal procedure before taking its first snap, but Davis completed a 13-yard pass to Jordan Davis before finding Cross open for a short pass that turned into a 72-yard touchdown.

Davis was given several seconds by his offensive line and looked away from a couple of receivers before Cross drifted toward the left sideline without a defender near him. Cross ran more than 50 yards to the end zone, and AC Riley ran a successful conversion for a quick 8-3 lead.

The Rangers later lost the ball on a fumble and again on Popp’s interception as they tried to get back on track after the big play.