Bridgewater senior quarterback Willie Logan, a former Luray High School star, has led the Eagles to a 3-0 start this season. (Photo by Jason Lenhart / DN-R)
In more ways than one, the Bridgewater College senior is unlike most college students.
He’s also the quarterback and captain of a BC football team that is undefeated heading into conference play Saturday night at Shenandoah (7 p.m.).
He may have some quirks, but the stories Logan tells and others tell about him are … um … fascinating. As a junior at Luray High School, he separated his shoulder, got a concussion and broke a rib in a scrimmage. The doctor treating his shoulder cleared him to return to action a few weeks later, while the doctor treating him for his concussion did not. Logan said he turned in the note from the shoulder doctor and played the next week, to the shock of the other doctor.
Wily, though risky.
The first night he delivered pizzas for Dominos this summer, Logan said his co-workers sent him on a delivery to an address that ended up being another Dominos store, which took Logan 30 minutes to figure out.
Not so wily.
Last year, he power-cleaned 308 pounds, a quarterback record at Bridgewater. Eagles coach Michael Clark said Logan was aiming to beat Virginia Tech QB Logan Thomas’ mark of 355 pounds, even though Logan is 45 pounds lighter.
It was an ambitious, if unlikely, goal. Another goal appears more attainable.
It’s not a stretch to say BC has one of its best chances of returning to the Division III playoffs — somewhere the Eagles (3-0) haven’t gone since 2005 — this season with Logan at the helm. Bridgewater ranks No. 31 in D-III in total offense (478.3 yards per game) and No. 16 in total defense (240.3 ypg).
“Coach Clark always says it’s a bottom-line business,” the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Logan said recently. “At the end of the day, that scoreboard says it all. It doesn’t matter if I go out and throw for 5,000 yards this year. If we don’t go out and win, it’s not going to matter.”
Much like the Mannings are the NFL’s first family, the Logans are Luray football’s first family. Logan’s father, Jim, played quarterback for the Bulldogs in the late 1960’s and is the leading passer in Luray history. Willie is second.
“I liked throwing the ball, but other than that, I don’t know if I ever understood the game like [Willie] does,” Jim Logan said. “He’s a student of the game, and I think one day if his heart leads him in that direction, he’ll make a wonderful coach.”
Logan’s dad is a big reason why he plays like he does today. His elongated throwing motion stems from his father telling him to bring the ball back and whip it rather than use the more technically accepted motion most college quarterbacks employ. In August 2010, Clark said in an interview that Logan “isn’t ready to be a college quarterback.” Now the No. 7 passer in school history, Logan adapted to his skill set.
“My throwing motion is stuck the way it is, but I’ve thrown so many times that I’ve kind of overcome the fact that it’s a poor motion,” Logan said. “If you know your reads and where you’re going with the ball, that helps a lot too.”
In 2010, four area quarterbacks were drawing college interest: Broadway High School’s Adam Caplinger (who walked on at Virginia as a linebacker), Spotswood’s Chad Williams (now a wide receiver at Emory & Henry), Page County’s Dakota Wolf (now at Campbell) and Logan. Each drew interest from Clark.
“These were the four big local kids that all had good grades and were good athletes,” Clark said. “I went and met with them all and we studied them and looked at the film, and at the time I remember telling the [BC assistants], ‘[Logan] is the one we want.’ Even playing for Luray, that was a choice.”
Logan said he considered schools like Guilford (Greensboro, N.C), McDaniel (Westminster, Md.), Emory & Henry and St. Vincent (Latrobe, Pa.) before choosing BC.
In no way was the carpet rolled out for Logan at Bridgewater. He sat on the bench his freshman year and played sparingly in an option run package his sophomore season.
Entering last season, Logan was in a quarterback battle with incumbent starter Carlos Gonzalez, a transfer from Division I-A Florida International. By the end of preseason practice, Logan had beaten out Gonzalez, a big-armed pocket passer.
It ended an infatuation at BC with quarterbacks more adept at passing than anything else.
“We had gone about four years where we were married to guys with arms at 80 percent and feet at 20 percent,” Clark said. “To be honest, it was a marriage that we didn’t really want to get into. A year ago, when we made the decision to go with [Logan], it was like you did it for the skill, but you also did it for the intangibles.”
So far, Logan has completed a healthy 65.7 percent of his 70 passes for 682 yards (227.3 ypg) with five touchdowns and one interception. He’s second on the team in rushing, behind Jacob Wright, with 117 yards.
BC’s Old Dominion Athletic Conference title run in the early 2000s is now a distant memory to most in the program. Two of the quarterbacks when the Eagles were on top – Jason Lutz and Brandon Wakefield – had toughness not unlike Logan’s.
Clark enjoys showing a play from this season’s opener against St. Vincent, one in which Logan hands off to tailback Jacob Wright, then sprints downfield and lays a huge block on a defender.
Surprising? Not to Clark.
“He’s a guy that if we would’ve put on defense from Day 1 when he got here, he would’ve been starting for us on the defensive side of the ball; he’s a football player that happens to be a quarterback,” Clark said.
As Clark says, it’s a bottom line business, and the Eagles are 1-11 the past six seasons against ODAC rivals Hampden-Sydney and Randolph-Macon. With a strong senior class led by Logan, do the Eagles have the right stuff to return to the playoffs?
“I think there’s a little something special about Willie, there’s just a spark,” Jim Logan said. “I hope he has the opportunity to let that shine a little bit more than just a regular season.”