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PREP FOOTBALL: Seneca runs over Logan-Rogersville to improve to 2-0

Jeff Pinnell

ROGERSVILLE, Mo. — Seneca Indians head coach Cody Hillburn took his hometown squad to visit Logan-Rogersville on Friday night.

Hillburn, in his first year leading his tribe, led the Indians to a 35-21 victory over the Wildcats. 

Logan-Rogersville struck quickly to start the game. Senior quarterback JJ O’Neal led an impressive 9-play, 65-yard drive that he capped off with a 24-yard touchdown run around the right side. The drive lasted just over three minutes. 

“We told our kids we had to weather the storm,” Hillburn said. “We told them to stay in the fight so we can grind it out in the second half.” 

Both teams traded fumbles on the next two drives. On Seneca’s first offensive play after the fumble recovery, sophomore Jackson Marrs broke off a long 43-yard run to get the momentum started. Eight plays later, it was Marrs getting the Indians on the board with a 21-yard touchdown run near the end of the first quarter. 

“That’s our kids playing hard,” Hillburn said of the forced fumble. “We were sprinting all over the field and got a couple hats to the football. It was a huge play in the game.” 

The two teams both had excellent defensive series as they traded punts heading into the second quarter. It was clear that the Indians’ defensive game plan was to contain O’Neal. 

“He’s such an electric player,” Hillburn said. “We knew when he was fresh it would be tough to stop him.”

O’Neal had been mostly contained on the ground but was able to lead Logan-Rogersville to a touchdown the following drive with a seven-yard touchdown pass to senior Cody Rasmussen. The Wildcats led 14-7 with 6:30 left in the second quarter.  

Seneca kept grinding and it was Marrs again who answered back. The Indians ran for 48 yards on nine plays culminating in a Marrs 1-yard touchdown run. The extra point was blocked, leaving the Indians trailing 14-13 at halftime. 

“We didn’t make many adjustments,” Hillburn said. “We reaffirmed our game plan. Marrs and (Jaxson) Graham feed off each other. It is such a luxury for us to have two kids back there that we’re extremely confident with.”

Seneca’s first drive of the second half was stalled by a facemask penalty which led to a punt. It didn’t take long though for the Indians to get the pigskin back as senior Jaxson Graham picked off an O’Neal pass over the middle of the field. Graham returned the interception to the Logan-Rogersville 25-yard line. Three plays later, Graham found paydirt with a 21-yard touchdown run to give the Indians a 21-14 lead with 5:17 left in the third quarter. 

“It worked the exact same way in week one. We were down at halftime and our guys didn’t panic. They came out and finished the game,” Hillburn said of his team’s second half start. “I came in at halftime and the demeanor of our kids was that we were up two scores even though we were down. They came out ready to play in the second half.”

Seneca’s defense held again the following drive and let Graham go back to work. Four plays into the Indians’ next drive, Graham took off for a 81 yard touchdown with 15 seconds left in the third quarter. The touchdown gave the Indians a 27-14 lead headed into the fourth quarter. 

The two score lead forced Logan-Rogersville to abandon the run. Seneca’s defense was ready as Logan-Rogersville attempted five straight pass plays but ultimately had to punt. 

“Any time you can make a team one dimensional you’ve got a better chance,” Hillburn explained. “That quarterback they have is so athletic. You think you have him corralled and then he makes kids miss and makes a big play.”

Senior quarterback Ethan Fritchey added a three-yard touchdown run of his own with just under seven minutes left to seal the game for the Indians. 

With the victory, Seneca moves to 2-0 on the season. The Indians are already just one win shy of matching their win total from last year’s campaign. Hillburn, who is returning to his alma mater after 10 years in Carthage, emphasized that his team must be ready to keep grinding. 

“It’s the Big 8 and every week is going to be tough,” Hillburn said. “We have to go back Monday and be ready to go.”

Graham finished the game with 13 carries for 156 yards and two touchdowns while Marrs carried the ball 26 times for 126 and two touchdowns. 

In Week 3, Seneca will host Hollister (1-1) while Logan-Rogersville (0-2) will travel to Aurora (1-1).


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