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November 25, 2012

Colts, running away

Logan was considered the top threat to De La Salle in the North Coast Section Division I section playoffs for much of the season. The Colts rebounded from an opening drive touchdown by California to post a 40-7 win and earn a championship date with the Spartans next Saturday night.

There was some discussion before the playoffs if Cal or Logan should receive the No. 2 seed. Cal eventually got the No. 2 seed, but it didn't matter. The Colts were able to break off long runs and corralled the Cal offense to set up an intriguing final with De La Salle. They will need to pass the ball better next week if it wants a chance to pull the upset though.

The game also marked the first time Cal head coach Eric Billeci faced Logan as a head coach. He was the defensive coordinator for Logan coach George Zuber before leaving for Cal.

Logan

Northwestern commit Warren Miles Long had 14 carries for 148 yard and three touchdowns. A powerful runner at 6-foot-0 and 200 pounds, Long was able to get tough yards between the tackles and bounce runs outside. Four of his runs went for at least 20 yards. He has good feet and generates burst out of the pistol and zone read looks Logan uses. Long was also a force at linebacker on defense and is in line for a bump up the rankings.

Quarterback Jeffrey Prothro is also a running threat at quarterback with elite speed. He had nine carries for 128 yards and a touchdown. His signature run came on a 65 yard sprint down the left sideline after a called out route wasn't open. He has good ball skills in the zone read game and is the orchestrator of an offense which challenges a defense in all directions. In total, the Colts ran for 406 yards on 41 carries.

"That was a huge icing on the cake," Zuber said of the long touchdown run. "That's the weapon we have back there. Half of his runs are designed passes. When the pocket breaks down, he is ready to go. That was a great play."

It is tough to slow down a spread passing attack of Freedom and Cal's power running game in consecutive weeks, but Logan has done it. Starting up front, defensive tackles Augustino Elisaia and Grover Fonua plug space and allow linebackers to flow to the ball, Ansar Muhammad and Long were standouts. California only had one play of at least 20 yards, which was a 25 yard run by Karris Johnson on the first drive, and committed three turnovers.

California

Johnson, ranked No. 50 in the NCP player rankings, had 17 carries for 84 yards and a touchdown in surpassing 15 carries for the first time since a September 28 game against Foothill-Pleasanton. The 2-star recruit was held in check for the most part and had just 59 yards on 16 carries (less than four yards per carry) after his first attempt. He is the big play threat for the Grizzlies.

Defense has been an issue at points this year for Cal and Logan was able to take advantage in tallying almost 450 yards. The key factor was Logan's big play production out of zone read offense, pistol formations and getting to the corner on wide receiver sweeps and quarterback keeps. Logan scored on six of eight possessions, including six straight at one point.

Usually a well-schooled team, Cal struggled with procedure penalties in never really getting into the game. The Grizzlies had six false start penalties and a delay of game. These infractions forced Cal out of good down and distance spots and put them in third and longs, which isn't this offense's strong suit.


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