Football players spanning two or more generations in one family certainly isn't a rare occurrence.
Two or more generations of football playoff participants in the same family is something rarer – and special.
Such is the case with Ashland University redshirt freshman wide receiver Logan Bolin and his father, Ray. Logan will play in his first NCAA Division II postseason game on Saturday (Nov. 18) at noon at Jack Miller Stadium/Martinelli Field for the No. 9-ranked Eagles vs. No. 13 Northwest Missouri State, and Ray took part in the program's first postseason contest 31 years earlier.
Ray led the Eagles in rushing in 1986, gaining 1,092 yards – the second of three times he was Ashland's top ground gainer – and also led then-Ashland College with a 22.0-yard kickoff return average during the playoff run. For his efforts, he was named an All-American and first-team All-Heartland Collegiate Conference.
On Nov. 29, 1986, Ray and the rest of the Eagles went to Fargo, N.D., to take on North Dakota State.
"We were pretty confident. We had Fred Martinelli, a great coaching staff," Ray said of the postseason experience, despite the 50-0 result. "It was the first time in school history being selected for the postseason. We were actually sent home. We didn't think we made it, we turned in all our gear and went home for Thanksgiving break. It was a big letdown, and then, all of the sudden, we have to head back to school, get our gear reissued and get back to work. It was a little different experience.
"It was a lot of mixed emotions. We had no experience in the postseason, no one to bounce ideas or thoughts off of. We went up there and valiantly thought."
Said Logan, "Hopefully, we get a different outcome from that. He said it was a great atmosphere. He said it was a great experience for a little bit of the first quarter."
The elder Bolin also is tied for second in Ashland history with 14 rushing touchdowns in 1987, and his 31 total touchdowns are ninth-most in the near-100-year history of the program.
After playing in one game as a true freshman in 2016 before getting injured and missing the reminder of the season, Logan has stepped up to become Ashland's second-leading receiver at 33 catches for 353 yards and a team-high-tying five touchdowns. The bulk of his work has come in the second half of the campaign, as he has caught 21 passes for 243 yards and three scores in the last five games.
"As a whole, it's been going pretty well," Logan said. "As the season's progressed, we've gotten stronger and stronger, and I think the best is yet to come. I've grown a lot, maturity-wise, being in different situations.
"(Last year) I was blocking toward the end of the Mercyhurst game and got rolled up on from behind. It turned out to be for the better."
Both Ray and Logan said it was the younger Bolin's decision to come to Ashland, and no pressure was placed on Logan to come to the alma mater – or play running back.
"His mom and I both left it up to him," said Ray, who added Logan was a wideout, quarterback and safety in his pre-college days. "It's about where he wanted to go to school and where he wanted to play football. He was very impressed with the coaching staff. It was a pretty involved process. He wanted to be able to play and potentially compete for a national championship, so here we are."
There are many coaches and classmates who can school Logan on what to expect come Saturday afternoon when the ball is kicked off in a D-II playoff game. He also, of course, has that extra ear to bend in his own family.
"He's just been telling me to stay focused and just treat it as any other game," said Logan, "because if you make it any bigger in your mind, then you might make mistakes that you wouldn't make on a normal day."
What is it going to like for the Bolin family come Saturday?
"Even at my age, listening to the coaches talk and getting the players fired up, it's in your blood. It never leaves your system," said Ray about watching, rather than playing, in a playoff game. "It's a great thing to be able to progress through the game, watching young men and how well they do at their craft. We enjoy it immensely. It is a big transition, but loving it."
Said Logan, "It should be a lot of fun. I can't wait for it. It's a great opportunity to show what we can do."