High school football: Grizzlies' defense gets a chance to shine
HYRUM — Logan's defense has played second fiddle for most of the season to its own high-octane offense that averages nearly 50 points per game. That wasn't the case Friday night against rival Mountain Crest.
The Grizzlies played suffocating defense and were a step quicker all night in leading Logan to an impressive 34-6 victory, which clinched Logan at least a share of the Region 5 title with one game remaining.
"They certainly won the game for us, they played with great energy and passion. Very well prepared for the schemes that Mountain Crest was running," said Logan coach Mike Favero.
Logan figured Mountain Crest would try and establish the run to avoid getting in long passing downs, so the Grizzlies stacked the box and made plays all day holding the Mustangs to just 46 yards rushing.
For the game, Logan limited the Mustangs to just 184 yards of total offense and forced three turnovers, two picks by Jonny Luke and another by Taylor Compton.
Luke's first interception came on the third play of the game, and set Logan's offense up with first and goal at the 3, which QB DJ Nelson punched in on his first crack to put the Grizzlies ahead 7-0 just 1:46 into the game.
"Thank you to the defense. Jonny Luke got a huge pick on that and set us up nice and easy for a walk in. That set the tone for the whole game. We came here to play and wanted to win the region title," said Nelson, who finished the game with three rushing TDs and a passing TD.
Logan increased its lead to 14-0 on its next drive as Nelson again scored on a 3-yard run.
By halftime, the Grizzlies increased the lead to 24-0 with a Jake Thompson 39-yard field goal and a Nelson 2-yard TD run on the final play of the half.
Overwhelmed early by the Grizzlies offense, Mountain Crest settled down and played great defense in the second half. After Jake Thompson booted a 37-yard field midway through the third quarter to increase Logan's lead to 27-0, the Mustangs shut down Logan's offense and were a bit unfortunate to concede a 43-yard screen pass touchdown from Nelson to John Schmidt with just over a minute remaining in the game.
Of Logan's 330 yards of total offense, 189 came in the first half.
"It's a region championship against a great valley rival that has a great program. More importantly it sets you up to have at least your first playoff game at home," said Favero, whose team improved to 8-0 with the victory.
Mountain Crest's lone touchdown came with 16 seconds remaining in the third quarter as Eddy Hall hit Famafili Laulu Pututau on a 34-yard touchdown pass on fourth and 18. Pututau was wide open in the end zone on a busted coverage, arguably the only defensive mistake of the night for the Grizzlies.
"Everything went our way for the defense, the O played great too. It was an all-around great game for us," said Logan junior Chasen Andersen.