Courageous. Noble. Heroic.
What Logan Tice did was not only self-less, but it enhanced the success of Elco’s football season, and it has come to represent the principles that the Raiders stood for. But what Tice’s actions – or inactions – also did was blur the very thin line between the team concept and personal safety.
Tice, a senior guard for the Raiders and the Lancaster-Lebanon Section Four Lineman of the Year, played the final three games of Elco’s historic season with a torn ACL in his right knee. It’s the kind of injury that is extremely painful and that routinely ends the seasons of players competing at higher levels.
Elco enjoyed one of its finest years in school history, going undefeated during the regular season, capturing the L-L Section Four championship and winning just its second District Three playoff game ever.
“I didn’t want to be selfish,” said Tice. “I knew I wasn’t feeling that good. I just felt I needed to be with the boys and keep playing. It (going to see a doctor) didn’t come to my mind. I had so much adrenaline in me. I just felt at home with my coaches and teammates. It felt like one big family.”
“I think he did it for two big reasons,” said Elco head coach Bob Miller. “The first was the love of his teammates. That kid was real close with his teammates, and especially the fellow seniors. They wanted to do anything for each other. The other is his love for the game of football.”
Tice suffered his injury over the course of two games in the middle of the Raiders’ 7-1 season, at Octorara on October 9 and at Northern Lebanon on October 16.
The initial blow came against the Braves and may have been the result of friendly fire, when he believes a teammate rolled up on his leg during the course of making a tackle. The second trauma came near the end of the first half against the Vikings, a game in which Tice didn’t play during the second half.
Tice was examined by two members of Elco’s medical staff at halftime of the Northern Lebanon game. Miller said he did not find out about the severity of the injury until after the conclusion of the season.
“Every time that I went down with it after the Northern Lebanon game, I always went back in,” said Tice. “At Octorara, I was going to make a tackle and a teammate hit me in the legs. Against Northern Lebanon, I got a shot from the side and I knew it gave out.
“They (the Elco medical staff) said it was probably the ACL, and that the cartilage didn’t feel too good,” added Tice. “They told me to go to the doctor to get it checked out. I didn’t think I could do that right now. It felt good in practice, but when I made sharp cuts in games, it gave out on me.”
“I found out about it when I saw Logan in the weight room after the season was over,” said Miller. “He had been to the doctor and had finally got it looked at. Like a lot of people, my reaction was of disbelief. He said he was fine. He’s a college football player. He got the surgery and he’s going to come back.”
Instead of seeking further medical advice, Tice returned to the Raiders’ practice.
“No, I didn’t go to the doctor,” said Tice. “I figured they’d say I couldn’t play. I thought if I did that, I’d be thinking of myself and not the team. I felt like they really needed me. If I had it to do all over again, I probably would’ve done the same thing. It could’ve been worse.”
“He didn’t even have a limp,” said Miller. “You didn’t see it in school. You would’ve never have known looking at him. On film, there was no lack of movement. He’s a really tough kid. It’s hard to get a read on injuries with some kids. On that Saturday morning (after the Northern Lebanon game), he said it felt better.
“You trust the kid to say something,” Miller continued. “He didn’t play in the second half of the Northern Lebanon game. But sometimes you have to make the decision for the kid. We can preach ‘family’ all we want, but we look at these kids as our own. You certainly wouldn’t want to put kids in positions where they hurt themselves. I’ve got a lot of respect for him.”
Tice’s play and that of his fellow lineman was a key element of what Elco was able to accomplish on the field during the recently completed campaign.
Elco’s rushing attack churned out 2,641 yards on the ground during 2020, compared to 276 yards through the air. The Raiders ran the ball 363 times and threw it 29 times.
“The key was definitely our running game,” said Tice. “I thought we were very successful. We had Braden (Bohannon), Jake (Williams), Luke (Williams) and Cole Thomas. Our linemen did a pretty hefty job. Our line definitely had a big part in it. I felt like the senior linemen showed the younger linemen what to do.
“I thought we had a great season,” continued Tice. “We worked our butts off every day in practice. Personally, I thought I had a pretty good season. I was surrounded by great talent and they made me a better player. We all know each other. We pushed each other really hard.”
“He’s the kind of kid you’d write a letter of recommendation for,” said Miller of Tice. “He’s hard-working and respectful. He’s fun to have in class.
“As the season went along, the thing that stood out to me was the fun we had, and that hard work was rewarded,” Miller continued. “The fun, the camaraderie, the team success made it an incredible season. The offensive line definitely set the tone. The fact that we were able to do so well running the ball is a credit to the offensive line. Logan was a leader, not only in practice but also in games.”
After sustaining his injury, there was little or no drop off in Tice’s level of play. The Raiders’ season concluded with a 20-3 loss at Lampeter Strasburg on November 13, in the District Three Class AAAA championship game.
“I played either three or four games – probably half the season – on a torn ACL,” said Tice. “It was in the back of my head, but I tried not to think about it. I didn’t really have pain. I’d get so hyped up because I was with the boys. It was like, ‘Let’s go do this.’
“Sometimes I’d have to walk it off,” added Tice. “During the L-S game, it was my senior year and I told myself, ‘You’ve got to push through it.’ But after that it hurt so bad that I had to ice it and lay in bed for two days. I felt like I was pretty effective. I definitely felt like I was helping the team.”
“I would trust the medical staff,” said Miller. “He said he was getting it looked at, and his parents were very involved. I trust his judgment. I don’t think it was a dangerous thing. I trusted the medical staff and the parents with how it was handled.”
Tice had surgery to repair his torn ACL in Lancaster on December 22. His prognosis is good, and with rest, physical therapy and exercise, he should be able to resume normal football-related activities in August, before the start of the 2021 football season.
“They said I should be back healthy in August, running and jumping again,” said Tice, who’s considering Lebanon Valley College, Lycoming and McDaniel as possible future college and football destinations. “Sometimes you have to push through the pain. People say, ‘No pain. No gain.’”
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