There’s no place like home… Birchfield returns for one last encore where it all began

Published 12:34 am Saturday, September 21, 2019

Of the many memorable pieces from the timeless movie favorite the Wizard of Oz, one stands out when thinking about Austin Peay’s placekicker Logan Birchfield who will be featured in the Governors kicking game Saturday when they play the East Tennessee State University Bucs at William B. Greene Stadium.
And that phrase is, “There’s no place like home”. 
Birchfield returns back to the area where he first honed his skills as the placekicker for Coach Shawn Witten and the Elizabethton Cyclones.
After a career at Elizabethton that included connecting on 152-of-162 career PAT’s, including making 62 in a row which was the third-longest streak in TSSAA history, Birchfield was hoping to team up with his long snapper, Adam Mullins, who had committed to ETSU but there was a higher plan.
“I believe ETSU’s first year of having football back was the year I graduated and I kind of wanted to go there because Adam Mullins my high school long snapper was there but they never showed interest or contacted me,” said Birchfield.
“But on the other side of that, I love where I am at today and I know God put me at Austin Peay for a reason. I have learned so much here that I would have never learned or experienced at ETSU.”
The STAR was able to contact Birchfield leading up to Saturday’s game for a question and answer session.
How special was it for you growing up in the Elizabethton area and playing for the Cyclones?
“There really is no place better then Elizabethton,” said Birchfield. “It’s a very small town with a very large heart. Being at Elizabethton high school was a great place to play because the whole town supports the sports teams.
“Brown Childress Stadium and Dave Rider Field was always the place to be on a Friday night. Because the environment was so special there I have so many great memories.”
What does it mean to have the opportunity to come home to kick at ETSU in your senior season with Austin Peay?
“I think it is a great opportunity – I’m so excited to showcase my talent in my home town in front of my friends and family because they just get to see me on television normally so it will be special having them at a game,” Birchfield stated.
“It’s also a great opportunity for my team to play a team that made it to the playoffs last season.”
I know it must be special to play in Johnson City where your family and friends can watch you. How many people do you have coming and does it put any added pressure on you?
“I know of at least 30 people for sure I have talked to that are coming to the game and I’m sure there is some I have not talked to that are coming,” commented Birchfield.
“But no, I’m not nervous at all because I can always count on my long snapper Nic Screnock and holder JaVaughn Craig. I’m actually very excited to play in front of all them and show all the hard work my team and I have put in this offseason.”
Logan, you have had a solid career at Austin Peay. What do you credit your success to?
“I credit all my success to hard work, preparation and my support team. In high school, my dad and I were always on the T.A. Dugger field practicing until the sun went down,” Birchfield noted.
“Also the preparation is a big part of it too because you’ve got to have your head on straight for every game and always know what is going on.
“Lastly, my support back home from my mom and dad pushing me every day to be the best I can be and achieve my goals.”
What is one special moment in your Austin Peay career that you will never forget even 15 to 20 years down the road?
“My greatest memory at Austin Peay would have to be when we played Morehead State my redshirt sophomore year,” Birchfield reflected. “I broke a school record that night for the most extra points converted in a game and Austin Peay broke it’s 29-game losing streak.
“We tore down the goal post that night.”
Most young people, especially kickers, have aspirations of playing high school, college and then going to the NFL. Have you talked to anyone about possibly going to the next level and what is their feedback?
“I have been talking to my coaches a lot about going to the next level,” Birchfield said. “Coach Mark Hudspeth has seen a lot of great players at Mississippi State and he knows what it takes to get to the next level.
“So It’s for sure a goal and dream of mine to play in the NFL if given the opportunity. I have made several contacts with teams and once the season is over I’m going to be seeking some of my current and past coaches advice on what I need to do to make a preseason roster.
“I’m also looking at CFL and XFL opportunities. But if not, it’s not a big deal because I’m going to go into the Air Force as an officer.”
Birchfield has left his mark all over the record books of the Governor’s record books. Those include the following:
Points Scored By Kicking:
No. 6   10 points    Logan Birchfield,  at Morehead St.     2018
PAT Kicks Made:

No. 1   10     Logan Birchfield, at Morehead St.   2018

No. 2    8     Logan Birchfield, at Morehead St.   2017

No. 5    7     Logan Birchfield, at Tennessee St.   2018

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No. 9    6     Logan Birchfield, at Murray St.         2017

PAT Attempts:

No. 1    10    Logan Birchfield, at Morehead St.     2018

No. 2     9    Logan Birchfield, at Morehead St.     2017

No. 4     7    Logan Birchfield, at Tennessee St.    2018

No. 9     6    Logan Birchfield, at Murray St.          2018

PAT Kicks Made:

No. 1    41    Logan Birchfield  2018

            41    Logan Birchfield  2017

PAT Kicks Attempted:

No. 1    43   Logan Birchfield  2018

            43    Logan Birchfield  2017

PAT Kick Percentage:

No. 9   95.3   Logan Birchfield     2018

            95.3   Logan Birchfield     2017

Aside from all the records, Birchfield has also garnered several awards and honors including:

Dean’s List (F16, S17, F18, S19); AD’s Honor Roll (F15, S16, F17, S18)

2018 (Redshirt Junior): Tied career and program highs set in 2017 by connecting on 41-of-43 extra-point attempts… set a program record by hitting on all 10 of his extra point attempts at Morehead State (Sept. 15)… named OVC Specialist of the Week after hitting both of his field-goal attempts against Eastern Kentucky (Nov. 3), each from 40-plus, including a 45-yarder that tied his career high… hit 5-of-7 field goal attempts on the year… finished second on the team with 56 points scored… assumed kickoff duties during the second half of the season.

2017 (Redshirt Sophomore): Blew away the single-season records for most PATs converted (41) and attempted (43) on the strength of the highest-scoring offense in school history… tied the school record with eight PATs made in a game against Morehead State (Sept. 16)… the following week at Murray State, converted both field-goal attempts, including a season-long 45-yarder… also hit all three PAT attempts for a season-high nine points scored… notched eight points against Southeast Missouri (Oct. 21) on a 36-yard field goal make and five extra points.

Birchfield is the son of Johnny and Crystal Birchfield. He graduated in May 2019 with a degree in general studies with minors in health and engineering tech and is pursuing a second degree in leadership.