Throughout the second half of its opener last Friday at Central Crossing, the Pickerington High School North football team showed an almost complete inability to move the ball during the 5 minutes, 42 seconds it was on offense.

Throughout the second half of its opener last Friday at Central Crossing, the Pickerington High School North football team showed an almost complete inability to move the ball during the 5 minutes, 42 seconds it was on offense.

Although the Panthers escaped with a 14-12 victory, they know that such offensive ineffectiveness likely isn't going to cut it Friday when they play host to Logan.

The Chieftains averaged 43.8 points and finished 9-2 last year, with their only regular-season loss to Lancaster 31-7 in their opener. They proved they might be even more difficult to stop this year when they openedĘby pounding the Gales 35-10 last Friday.

Figuring out how to move the ball consistently is at the forefront of what North knows it must work on if it's to hang with Logan, a team it has defeated only once.

"We were an absolute mess in the second half," coach Tom Phillips said. "Offensively, we couldn't move and we couldn't execute at all. Every time we could have run it, we threw it."

One thing that should help is the Panthers are getting healthier. Running back Gianni Lynch missed most of the preseason with injuries and is expected to play Friday, although Phillips believes his time on the field could be limited as he gets into playing shape. He was one of North's leading offensive threats last year with 828 yards and seven touchdowns.

Quarterback Sean Flaherty, who also missed some preseason action, saw action in just five plays in the second half last Friday because of cramps. He finished 12-for-18 passing for 136 yards, with all but 14 yards coming in the first half.

Alex Bayer also was one of the players who saw limited preseason play. He had six catches for 95 yards, seven rushes for nine yards and stepped in at quarterback when Flaherty was out to complete two of five passes.

Another area North hopes to improve in is penalties after being whistled nine times last Friday. One of the penalties wiped out a long touchdown run by Matt Ferguson, who ended up with seven rushes for 48 yards and two touchdowns.

In a 24-7 loss to the Chieftains last year, North committed six turnovers and failed to score twice in the first half after getting to the Logan 5.

"We've got a lot of cleanup to do," Phillips said. "This is a team that beat Lancaster 35-10, so we've got our hands full. We've got to really regroup fast. Their playmaker is their quarterback. They've got a couple big skilled-position players and they throw the ball well and spread the ball around."

Logan appeared to be in midseason form offensivelyĘlast Friday behind junior quarterback Patrick Angle (6-foot-1, 195). He rushed for 119 yards on 15 attempts and was 10-for-21 passing for 95 yards and three touchdowns.

His favorite target was junior Mason Mays (5-11, 175), who had six catches for 56 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to junior Zach McDaniel (5-11, 165).

Senior Clay Morgan (5-10, 180) presents the other biggest running threat after finishing with 16 carries for 61 yards and one touchdown.

Top defenders for Logan include senior noseguard Seth Sigler (5-11, 170), senior tackles Stephen Miller (6-0, 220) and Cary MacLaughlin (5-10, 200) and Morgan at linebacker.

"I just remember that they were real physical, tough and have some real good athletes," said senior defensive back Tim Smart, who had 3 1/2 tackles and broke up a pass with 40 seconds remaining to end Central Crossing's final drive last Friday. "On third and long we have to know when they're going to pass and just play smart out there."

Last Friday

For coverage of all area football games last weekend, please visit:

Friday Night Live at www.thisweeknews.com

Next game

NORTH vs. LOGAN

•When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

•Last meeting: 2007, Logan 24-7

•Logan to date: Defeated Lancaster 35-10

•Top Chieftains: Weston Andy, Patrick Angle, Jaush Huntsberger, Cary MacLaughlin, Mason Mays, Stephen Miller, Clay Morgan and Seth Sigler

•Of note: Coach Dale Amyx is 118-69 in 19 seasons at Logan coach and has led the program to five playoff berths, including last season when the Chieftains went 9-2 and lost to Dresden Tri-Valley 31-26 in a Division II regional quarterfinal. North is 1-4 against Logan, having won 13-10 in 2004.