SALT LAKE CITY — In what had the potential to be a great regular season finale between a pair of undefeated teams instead turned into a shocking blowout.
That's what happens when one of the 9-0 teams doesn't take the game seriously. Logan did and East didn't, and the result was a 46-14 thrashing for the Grizzlies.
The two coaches approached the game with varying philosophies. East coach Brandon Matich decided to rest about seven starters in the meaningless nonregion game, while Logan coach Mike Favero decided to treat the game like any other week.
"We always play our starters. My personal philosophy, and I respect the opinion of others, is it's a precious time to be able to play a high school football game and I like to be able to give our guys the opportunity to play 10. I think it's the right thing to do," said Favero.
"Our guys wanted to play and they were thrilled to play and it's an honor to play in a big game like this when you pit two 9-0 teams together."
The Grizzlies capitalized on four East turnovers in the first half alone to race to a 36-0 halftime lead. On the first play of the second half it extended the lead to 43-0 on an 80-yard TD run by John Schmidt.
"Our defense stepped it up big, the triple option is a hard offense to defend and they stepped it up," said Schmidt. "They had a really good game and they gave us good field position every time. They had a couple turnovers that really helped us get points on the board."
While Logan's confidence will be sky high heading into next week's playoffs, Matich believes his players will psychologically be just fine. In the locker room after the game, he said his players weren't really acting like they'd just lost by 32 points.
That doesn't mean he wouldn't have approached the game differently. Matich admits waffling about whether to play his varsity guys or JV guys in the build up to the game probably wasn't the best idea.
"It was really, really important to them (Logan). Our kids didn't think it was very important, and I don't think I did either and I did a bad job of prepping them for it," said Matich. "I don't think I'd approach it the same way. Coach Favero approached it, he was going to play the game. We didn't approach it that way. We approached it as maybe we'll play the game, maybe we'll play JV. I don't think you can approach a game like that."
The most notable absence from East's starting lineup was quarterback Jason Cook. After his back-up fumbled a snap on the opening possession and then tossed a backward pass out the side of the end zone for a safety on East's second possession, Matich inserted Cook into the game with Logan leading 8-0. It didn't make a lick of difference.
East's offense only mustered 61 yards of total offense in the first half with just three first downs.
With his team comfortably ahead at the half, Nelson watched the second half from the sideline, even though he was the holder for Thompson's 51-yard field goal midway through the third quarter, his third field goal of the game.