As he warmed up before his team's 3A semifinal against Wasatch last Thursday inside Rice-Eccles Stadium, Logan running back Will Thornley didn't know how big of a role he was about to play in his team's convincing 48-24 win over the Wasps.
However, coach Mike Favero decided to get the ball to Thornley after he had some early success, and the 5-foot-9 senior didn't look back.
He finished with 116 rushing yards and two touchdowns one through the air and another through the ground and his outstanding play helped keep Wasatch's normally solid defense on its heels all afternoon.
"I was surprised on how much we got," Thornley said afterward. "But once the coaches see it working that much, there's no reason why they shouldn't do it. We had a great time doing it. A little surprised, but I'm glad it happened and glad that we won."
As the semifinal contest unfolded and Thornley realized how much he was seeing the ball, he continued to get more and more excited.
"It was sweet," he said. "I didn't lose one bit of energy. I just knew if the ball was in my hands I was going to keep it secure, and we were going to take control of the game."
Done and done.
Thornley heaped praise as one might expect on his offensive line, which opened holes for him to run through from start to finish. His coach dittoed the accolades.
"Our O-line gutted it out and played really well, and, of course, Will Thornley ran with great passion and determination," said Favero. "You get an O-line blocking and a guy with energy carrying the ball, and you got a shot."
In turn, the rushing attack started to open up things for junior QB Jeff Manning through the air. With a number of solid targets surrounding him, Manning threw for five touchdown passes against the Wasps.
The Grizzlies struggled offensively during tight wins over Park City and Delta in the opening two rounds, but they got back on track against Wasatch to advance to the 3A state title game for the second time in three years.
"The passing game's starting to get a little better (compared to the first two rounds), and I think it's because of the run," said Thornley. "We ran it a lot more (against Wasatch) than we did (against Delta), and that was huge for us."Top-ranked Logan will meet No. 4 Judge for the 3A state championship at 6 p.m. Friday at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
E-mail: [email protected]