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High school football: D.J. Nelson carves up Mustangs as Grizzlies advance

Published: Saturday, Oct. 29 2011 10:11 p.m. MDT

D.J. Nelson of Logan, seen here playing against Cottonwood High School on Aug. 26, 2011, threw six touchdowns and rushed for two more to give Logan a win over Herriman in the first round of the 4A state playoffs. (Ravell Call, Deseret News) D.J. Nelson of Logan, seen here playing against Cottonwood High School on Aug. 26, 2011, threw six touchdowns and rushed for two more to give Logan a win over Herriman in the first round of the 4A state playoffs. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

LOGAN — Logan quarterback D.J. Nelson almost single-handedly dismantled Herriman as the Grizzlies beat the Mustangs 56-22 in the first round of the 4A state playoffs, Saturday.

Nelson threw six touchdowns and rushed for two more to give Logan the victory.

"He's a great player," Logan head coach Mike Favero said. "Anyone who's watched him before knows that. He loves to score and plays at a very fast, competitive level. He's fun to coach."

Nelson began his impressive scoring run with 7:23 to go in the first quarter on a 12-yard pass to senior running back John Schmidt.

Herriman evened the score with 8:12 left in the first half as quarterback Tueni Lupeamanu threw a 16-yarder to junior tight end Gabe Ruflin.

Nelson brought the Grizzlies up two scores at halftime with a pair of touchdown passes to wide receiver and backup quarterback Jesse Braddy, 21-7.

From then on it was the DJ Nelson show. The 5-foot-10 senior ran in a pair of touchdowns covering 77 yards combined and threw another pair of touchdowns to junior wide receiver Hagen Andersen and senior wide out Jameson Hartman to go up 49-7 with just under two minutes to go in the third quarter.

The Utah State recruit was pulled at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but Herriman scored twice more in the quarter when Lupeamanu scrambled 25 yards for the score and later when Braddy threw an interception for a touchdown to Herriman freshman defensive back Kody Jarvis. The Mustangs converted the 2-point conversion on a pass from Lupeamanu to Ruflin to cut the lead to 49-22. The Mustangs failed to recover the following onside kick and Favero put Nelson and the first-string offense back into the game for the final 4:49.

"I wouldn't bring my first-string kids back in in that situation and especially risk an injury," Herriman head coach Larry Wilson said.

Nelson covered 43 yards on his final touchdown pass to senior wide out Jameson Hartman with 2:30 left in the game to put Logan well out of reach, 56-22.

"DJ played really good tonight," Logan lineman Jacoby Wildman said. "Even with a hurt ankle he stepped it up and played really fantastic."

Wildman had one interception and one forced fumble. Junior safety Hunter Ballam recovered the fumble forced by Wildman and had a pick of his own.

All three turnovers led to a Grizzles touchdown.

"We were just playing some smash-mouth football," Wildman said. "We were all just doing our job staying in our alignment and we just shut them down."

Logan will face Highland at home next week in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs.

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