Stoodley was a rock on defense
MOUNT ULLA — West Rowan, a perennial 3A power, was on the verge of the unheard-of. It was going to lose its first-round playoff game to Northeast Guilford and stop a streak of double-figure-win seasons. Down 17-14 with just five minutes left, someone had to make a big play.
Who else but Logan Stoodley would come to the rescue?
Stoodley roared in from his linebacker position and recorded a quarterback sack, forcing Northeast to punt. West’s offense did the rest, scoring late for a 21-17 victory.
“I knew we needed a big play,” Stoodley said. “I did everything I could to get it.”
Stoodley made enough of those plays to be named Rowan County’s 2012 Defensive Player of the Year. And it comes in a season where linebackers ruled the county, from his teammate Bubba McLaughlin, to Salisbury’s freakish Keion Adams, to North Rowan stud Xavier Robinson to East Rowan monster Tyler L’Hommedieu.
“Logan isn’t the fastest guy,” said West coach Scott Young. “He isn’t the tallest guy and he isn’t the biggest guy. But he has a nose for the football. Whenever we needed a big play, it seemed like Logan was one of the leading guys who would make it for us.”
The 6-foot, 220-pound Stoodley will certainly be continuing his career at the next level.
“He’s very physical, he’s a student of the game and he’s a great kid,” Young said. “Logan will have a chance to play college football.”
Stoodley remembers sitting on the second row as an eighth-grader watching West Rowan ransack all comers, winning state titles.
“I thought, ‘Man, I hope one day I can play on that field, too,’ ” he said.
After growing up as an offensive and defensive lineman, he switched to linebacker in middle school.
“It felt natural,” he said. “It felt like that’s where I was supposed to be.”
Stoodley was brought up to varsity as a freshman and has two state championship rings and three appearances in state title games. He thought he was headed for another this year, He was feeling especially good after a Sept. 29 win over South Rowan where he scored on a 55-yard fumble recovery.
“They tell you to play until the whistle blows,” Stoodley said. “The ball rolled out and I picked it up and ran.”
His best game — and West’s best game — came a week after the Falcons were beaten by East Rowan. Stoodley led a defense that sqaushed a ranked 2A Reidsville team 35-6. Stoodley admitted the team was angry from the East loss and had to take it out on somebody.
“We were pretty heated,” he said. “It motivated us to go out there and win the game. We played how we know we can play.”
In that one, Stoodley scored again, this time of a 22-yard interception return.
“Credit the whole defense for that,” Stoodley said. “It was a tipped ball and I had great blocking all the way.”
In the end, West Rowan held five teams to single digits and was — statistically — the county’s best defense.
“We’re like a family,” Stoodley said. “We feed off each other. We play together. I’ll look back and say I played on one of the best teams in the state for four years. Really, it’s just a great program.”
A program that produced a great linebacker in Logan Stoodley.