Opponents should know this about James Logan High running back Warren Miles Long.
He can go long on just about any play and he can run for miles and miles.
It certainly seemed that way on Friday night when the Logan Colts turned back Freedom High, 33-18, in their North Coast Section Division I quarterfinal football playoff game.
Long, a senior who has committed to Northwestern, ran for 289 yards and three touchdowns that had the Colts (11-1) singing in the rain after a decisive victory that sends them into the semifinals next weekend at second seeded California High.
The third seeded Logan team gave the visiting number six Falcons from Oakley more than they could handle in game that wound up being played in a steady rain in the second half in Union City after a first half that was mostly dry.
Both teams committed their share of turnovers, but Freedom (9-3) had much more of them and the Falcons’ mistakes were more costly.
On the first play from scrimmage, Logan’s Victor Fualaa intercepted a pass from quarterback Dante Mayes and returned it to the Freedom 31 just 8 seconds into the game.
A 23-yard run by Long set up Logan’s first touchdown of the night, but not until fourth down when the Falcons momentarily stiffened.
Two other Logan touchdowns were set up by fumbles and the Colts’ final touchdown drive that made it 33-10 came on an 89-yard drive that started after the Colts’ Kharl Thomas recovered a fumble that stopped a Falcons drive on the Logan 3.
“We thought the game might come down to a big turnover in the fourth quarter,” Logan coach George Zuber said. “But we got one right away there at the start. That was a huge play and we got some more that were key.”
Zuber also had strong praise for Long, who came up with numerous big runs throughout the game while playing both ways on offense and defense.
“Miles had a huge game, a huge game,” Zuber said. “We don’t much have to run him in the fourth quarter, but we did tonight and he was ready.”
Long also plays outside linebacker and his coach said, “He’s been recruited on both sides of the ball, but he’s going to (Northwestern) as a running back.”
“That’s just what I’ve always done,” a happy Long said as the rain came down after the game. Of his big night running the ball, he said, “That a career high. I neven had 290 before… That’s what someone told after the game.”
After racking up 113 yards in the first half as Logan took a 20-2 lead, Long broke two long runs in the second half. A 58-yard blast down the left side keyed the Colts’ opening drive of the third quarter.
That drive was stopped at the Falcons 9, but two plays later a fumble gave the ball back to Logan at the Freedom 19 and quarterback Jeffrey Prothro passed 8 yards to Ryan Bua for a 27-2 lead.
In the fourth quarter, however, Long showed some signs of getting tired on a 65-yard run from the Colts’ 11 to the Falcons’ 24. After making the final defender miss, Long lost a little of his speed in the process and was overhauled from behind.
Joe Mixon, who ran for 98 yards, many hard-earned for Freedom, later scored two touchdowns, including one in the final minute.
Falcons wide receiver Darrell Daniels also caught several passes for key gains, but Logan pretty much prevented the big plays. That was the plan, Zuber said, and he praised his team’s defense for attaining that goal.
However, there was one pass to a wide-open Daniels in the end zone from Mayes in the third quarter that Daniels had to lunge for and dropped.
Long’s final TD of the game, a 12-yard run, put the game away with 6:42 left.