His activity had slowed down since a four-catch night in the season opener.
Safe to say, Logan Harper has found some flow in offensive contribution of late.
After three catches in back-to-back games against Stilwell and Muldrow, Harper made it three in three with his 109 yards in receptions, all three this time for touchdowns, in the 56-13 win over Sallisaw last Friday.
And it didn’t take long to get into the action.
From midfield following the kickoff, Harper, set wide to one side in a double-wide set with a third receiver, Brayson Lawson, in motion to the other side, Harper, a junior, made a move back toward the interior line while Evan Keefe, the left tackle, drifted toward him and picked up the block on the cornerback in coverage at the point of the catch, which freed Harper with no one in front of him. Harper outraced everyone to the end zone and a quick 7-0 lead.
Near the end of the quarter, he caught a pass on a slant route in the end zone for a 21-7 advantage. On the third touchdown, an audible by quarterback Caynen David changed his route from a hitch to a fade, the result being a 40-yard pass play and a 28-7 lead.
“His timing with (David) has improved, his route running has improved and at 6-foot-3, he’s a hard guy to defend,” said Hilldale head coach David Blevins. “If you pick any of our receivers, they’ve all had good games at one time or another.”
Harper is now tied in total receptions with Lamarion Burton with 16 and has 344 in yards on catches. Hilldale’s top four receivers are separated by just two receptions— Burton’s 16 amount to 168 yards, Lawson has 15 for 22, and Jaxson Whittiker has 14 for 246.
Harper’s six touchdowns are more than the other three combined (four). Over the last three, that’s nine receptions for 288 yards and all six TD catches. The other three came over the previous two weeks.
“We try to do what we can however we can to get yards. I wouldn’t think I’m the main focus but whatever I can do to help I do,” said Harper. “If they press on me with man coverage, that’s when I think I do my best and get around them by using my height to my advantage.”
There’s something else that a 6-3 guy against generally smaller corners can do, especially if he thinks like a lineman.
“I like to block as much as I like to score,” he said. “I’ve played linebacker a little this year but I don’t know, it’s just fun for me to go out there and hit someone.”
Blevins sees that clearly, which is why Harper is a tight end in some sets.
“He’s physical. He leads our team as receivers in pancake blocks. He’d rather block you than catch a TD,” Blevins said. “He takes more enjoyment in taking you against your will and putting you where he wants to.”
It rubs off. Doing some downfield blocking on that first play were left guard Koby East and center Blair Paulson.
“It’s the best our offensive line has blocked down field all year long,” Blevins said. “I was proud of how we contained blocks and finished blocks.”
David benefitted, going 5-of-9 for 152 yards, four of which were TDs. The other was a 41-yarder with Burton on the other end.
The increased activity has occurred in tandem with some explosive scoring. The Hornets have averaged 51.6 in the last three contests. They averaged 30 points a contest in a 2-2 start.
Next up is an opportunity to expand these recent numbers. Hilldale goes into a week 9 Senior Night game as a heavy favorite over McLain, the lone winless team in District 4A-4.
Harper won’t play Friday, nursing a foot injury for a week suffered on his third touchdown of the night last Friday.
Having clinched a playoff spot with last week’s win, the Hornets (6-2, 3-2) won’t have a firm grasp on any playoff position until week 10 at Fort Gibson, which lost for the first time in 4A-4 a week ago at Broken Bow and takes on Poteau, now a game behind the two co-leaders.
“Our focus is on Senior Night,” Blevins said. “We’re developing some consistency in our play, and we’re cutting down our penalties. I want to see those things continue.”
Hilldale had just four penalties for 35 yards against Sallisaw, a season low.