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Note: Logan High finished with a perfect 14-0 overall record and was first in Region 5 with a 5-0 record in 2011. It beat East, 18-11, in the 4A championship game.
LOGAN — The nature of high school football is that, whenever a team wins a state championship, most of that team's key players are typically seniors who are subsequently lost to graduation.
Thus, it stands to reason that a bit of a drop-off might be expected the following season.
Logan High, however, is not your typical high school football program.
The Grizzlies, who rampaged through an undefeated season in 2011 and captured the 4A state championship with a dramatic last-gasp victory over East, are actually loaded for bear — again — and will definitely contend for a second straight state title this fall.
Sure, they lost some great players off that championship squad, but a bunch of great ones return, including several on the defensive side of the ball.
And with a no-nonsense coach like Mike Favero, who begins his 14th season at the Logan High helm, nobody's going to get too cozy or comfortable with what they accomplished a year ago — because, check your calendars, folks, that's in the past.
"It's a new year," said Favero, who has guided the Grizzlies to three state championships over the last seven seasons and four state titles in all. "Sure, last year was great, but it has no impact on this year other than people will be coming after us a little more.
"You've got to be a little careful. You relish it from the standpoint that the previous year's team created a great history that'll last forever. But this year, it doesn't win you any games; it can only lose you games because if you think you're just gonna show up and rely upon what happened last year, you're gonna get beat.
"So it won't help us win any games and we're gonna make sure it doesn't cause us to lose games by thinking we're just gonna show up and win," he said.
With five returning starters from last year's explosive offensive squad that averaged 44 points per game, the Grizzlies should still be able to light the scoreboard with regularity.
And on defense, they have seven starters returning — and that number would've been eight if not for a serious head injury suffered by all-state defensive end Caden Andersen, who was hurt in a skateboarding accident.
"He was a great player for us, so that'll set us back a bit," Favero said. "He was a first-team all-state end for us last year. He cracked his head and it was a pretty serious injury."
Nonetheless, the nucleus of a stout defensive unit remains intact with seniors Jacoby Wildman and Jaxton Birky at the tackle positions, juniors Sam Bennion, Casey Coe and Shawn Gudmundson at the end spots, and senior Chasen Andersen, a first team all-state selection last year, and junior Jaden Connor at linebacker.
Throw in junior free safety Chase Nelson, senior strong safeties Dallin Dahl and Hunter Ballam and junior Taylor Compton and senior Josh Wilson at cornerback, and the Grizzlies have definitely got the makings of a 'D' that'll be darned difficult to penetrate.
"Most of our defensive guys are back and we played good defense last year," Favero said, "so that's a good foundation to start with."
Over on offense, senior quarterback Luke Falk steps in to take the place of last year's All-Everything signal-caller, D.J. Nelson, the sparkplug behind Logan's 2011 state title team.
But while Nelson left behind some mighty big shoes, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Falk, who played last season in California, certainly appears to have the potential to fill 'em.