Note: Logan finished with an 8-3 overall record in 2012 and went 4-1 in Region 5. It lost to eventual state champion Timpview 49-14 in the first round of the 4A playoffs.
LOGAN — We've often heard that "history repeats itself."
In the case of Logan High's football program, it's certainly true that twice over the last eight years — and in odd-numbered years to boot — the Grizzlies have taken home the state championship with a young left-handed man named Nelson playing quarterback for them.
In 2005, it was Riley Nelson who led Logan to the state title; in 2011, his younger brother D.J. Nelson guided the Grizzlies to the top prize.
And in 2013? Well, the Grizz have got another Nelson bro — this time it's Chase Nelson — at the controls of their offense.
So, another state championship must certainly be in the works for them again, right?
"I wish it were that easy," laughed Logan High head coach Mike Favero, who has guided the Grizzlies to four state titles — 2000, '05, '07 and '11, along with a second-place showing in '03 — in his first 14 seasons at the school. "Tell the rest of the teams that and let them know."
Favero knows all too well that nobody's going to hand anything to his 2013 team. And although Chase Nelson is a multi-talented athlete who has started at safety the last two seasons, his experience as a varsity signal-caller is very limited to say the least.
"Chase has got a lot of potential, but he's gonna have to do it on the field and then we'll evaluate how good he is," Favero said. "He's never taken a varsity snap; actually, I think he took one and threw an interception.
"He's very talented; he's a dual-threat guy; he's very competitive; he's strong; and he's put in the time and effort to be ready to have a good season."
So is he ready to step right in and live up to that tremendous championship legacy left behind by his two big brothers?
"Not right now he's not," Favero said. "Both of those guys were first team all-staters, MVPs and state champs. It's still to be determined. We'll see."
Of course, Nelson certainly can't do it alone, and he's got a solid supporting cast that should help the Grizzlies pile up another stellar winning season.
His top aerial target will be senior wide receiver Taylor Compton, who hauled in a single-season record 107 receptions last year. Junior Chad Artist will also start at wideout, with seniors Cade Watterson, Tyson Jensen, Kyler Freeman and Steve Hlavty and junior Chandler Lowry rounding out the receiving corps.
Taylor McIntire, a senior, will start at running back, but there's not much depth at that position. Backing up Nelson at the QB spot will be junior Kincade Wildman and Freeman.
On the offensive line, senior Logan Rice is a returning starter at tackle, while senior Angel Lopez is another returning starter on the O-line, where he'll be joined by senior Shawn Gudmundson and junior guard Keegan Oldham. Either Max Parsons or Beau Elison, both juniors, will start at center.
Big senior Sam Bennion anchors the defensive line and has received scholarship offers from Colorado and Weber State. He'll be joined by Gudmundson and fellow seniors Casey Coe and Caden Andersen on the D-line.
In the secondary, seniors Austin In and Cade Patterson are the strong safeties; junior Wildman and senior Joe Busby are at weak safety, and senior Kyle Gyllenskog is at free safety. The cornerbacks will be Compton, senior McKay Johns and junior Garrett Wright.
Angel Reyes, a senior, will handle the placekicking chores and Chandler Lowry will do the punting.
"It's another year; it's high school football, it's different every year, and so it's been good so far," Favero said. "It's hard to say how good we'll be, because there's a lot of factors that go into success.
"That's the goal for every team — the region championship and the state championship — so our goals are the same as everybody else's. We have a good, solid team coming back, but there are a lot of variables that go into the ultimate outcome. So we're just trying to work hard and doing our thing."
Coach Favero sized up the region title race as a five-team dogfight.
"Mountain Crest, Box Elder, Roy and Logan are probably very, very similar teams this year, and you can throw Sky View into that group as well," he said. "Mountain Crest's younger programs are outstanding and they will be right there — they've got too many kids not to (contend) — and Sky View's got a lot of talent coming back.
"Roy's junior class was probably the strongest junior class in the region last year. Their biggest thing is, mentally, can you turn the program around? They're talented but, if the kids haven't experienced success at a high level, sometimes they can be held back by that. I think the most talented team in the region is Box Elder; they're tough.
"With those five teams, it's going to be a very, very, very tight race," Favero said.
And, of course, down the line, he'd love to see that tradition-rich Logan High championship history repeat itself again, too.
Logan Grizzlies at a glance
Coach: Mike Favero begins his 15th season at the Logan High helm, and he has guided the Grizzlies to four state championships in his career — in 2000, 2005, 2007 and 2011. He has compiled a superb overall record of 120-53 at the school that gave him his first head coaching job.
(4 returning starters; spread no-huddle offense)
Logan threw the ball a ton last year, as Taylor Compton set a single-season record for receptions with 107. Compton is back for more this year and he'll be catching the ball from lefty quarterback Chase Nelson, a versatile athlete who can run the ball as well as throw it but has very limited experience as a QB on the varsity level. The Grizzlies are thin at running back, so Taylor McIntire will need to stay healthy. Logan had a high-scoring stretch last season when it scored 28 or more points eight times in nine games, including three games of 50-plus points. If Nelson lives up to the tremendous legacy left behind by his older brothers, record-setting state championship quarterbacks Riley and D.J., then the Grizz offense should be just fine.
(6 returning starters; 4-2-5 scheme)
Big Sam Bennion anchors the line, and Jaden Connor and Bracken Williams are returning starters at linebacker. They'll miss Nelson, a two-year starter in the secondary, since he'll concentrate on playing offense this year. Logan allowed more than 23 points only three times last season, and two of those turned into bookend losses — the season opener against Northridge and the playoff finale against Timpview. With six returning starters in all, look for Logan's defensive effort to again be strong.
Coaches preseason Region 5 straw poll: Fourth
Deseret News Region 5 prediction: Second
Bottom line: Odd-numbered years and left-handed quarterbacks named Nelson have been awfully good to the Grizzlies in the past. But with a league full of landmines in Box Elder, Mountain Crest, Sky View and resurgent Roy, it'll be tough for any team to get through this gauntlet unscathed. The schedule works primarily in Logan's favor, since it'll host Roy, Sky View and Box Elder and play on the road against weaker opponents Ogden and Bonneville. But the region title could very well be decided Oct. 10 when the Grizzlies make the short trip to neighboring Hyrum to tangle with league preseason favorite Mountain Crest. Logan should be in line for at least a top-three league finish if not more.
Logan coaching history
1999-current — Mike Favero (120-53)
1979-1998 — Perry Christensen (114-92)
1977-1978 — Mel Galli (16-5)
1974-1976 — Steve Malnar (3-24)
1964-1973 — Hal Lewis (42-51)
1963 — John Whatcott (4-1-2)
1947-1962 — Cliff Poole (81-52)
1927-1946 — R. Burns Crookston (76-51)
1924-1926 — unknown (7-11)
1922-1923 — Wilf Romney (9-3)
1920-1921 — Dixon Kapple (8-5)
1919 — unknown (1-3)
Deseret News Mr. Football recipients
2005 — Riley Nelson, QB
Deseret News MVPs the past 10 years
2011 — D.J. Nelson, QB
2007 — Jordan Ballam, LB
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
2012 — Luke Falk, QB
2012 — Hunter Ballam, DB
2011 —John Schmidt, RB/WR
2011 — Dalton Cole, OL
2011 — Caden Andersen, DL
2011 — Chasen Andersen, LB
2011 — Jake Thompson, K
2008 — Jeff Manning, QB
2008 — Stephen Gwynn, WR
2008 — Jared Theurer, OL
2008 — Ian Haderlie, DL
2007 — Jeff Manning, QB
2007 — Koddy Thigpen, LB
2007 — Duncan Olsen, DB
2006 — Kyle Dragnich, WR
2006 — Tanner Richins, OL
2006 — Josh Flores, SP
2005 — Kyle Dragnich, WR
2005 — Tanner Richins, OL
2005 — Junior Keiaho, DL
2005 — Pete Dien, DL
2005 — Cole Farmer, LB
2005 — Jeff Alley, DB
2005 — Josh Flores, SP
2004 — Riley Nelson, QB
2003 — Ben Macey, QB
2003 — Bobby Winder, LB
To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.
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