The actors were the same and the script was the same when top-ranked Logan and No. 4 Judge met for the 3A state championship Friday evening.
However, aside from the obvious implications that accompany a title game, there was one other major difference between this production and an earlier one: the roles were reversed.
When they traded swords in Week 4 of the preseason at Logan High, Judge jumped out to a quick lead and throttled the Grizzlies, 35-7.
Wary of how important a quick start would be in the rematch, Logan placed high emphasis on making sure it got things going early against the talented Bulldogs 10 weeks later.
My, how it paid off.
This time, it was the Grizzlies who came out hot, and they didn't look back from there.
"Pretty much," said bruising fullback KC Taylor, "this game (was) in reverse."
Senior Devin Peterson recovered a pooch kick on the opening kickoff, the Grizzlies jumped out a 21-0 lead in the first half, and the end product was a convincing 28-12 win over Judge.
Amazing to think that Logan came within a whisker of elimination during the first two rounds of the 3A tournament. Instead of folding, however, the Grizzlies found ways to survive, and they subsequently thrived on the big stage of Rice-Eccles Stadium en route to their second 3A title in three seasons.
"I think they thought they had us," said quarterback Jeff Manning. "We just came out and took it to 'em. You don't like a team that comes out hard and hits you in the mouth."
Peterson's recovery of the early pooch kick or, 'floater kick' as coach Mike Favero described it really set the tone for Logan, which scored a touchdown three plays later off a run by QB Jeff Manning.
Manning accounted for three touchdowns in the first half before leaving with a thumb injury, but leading 28-6 at halftime Logan simply handed the ball off to Peterson, Manning's backup, in the second half.
When Judge beat Logan earlier in the season, they played man coverage on the outside and locked up Logan's receivers.
Favero, known as one of Utah's most brilliant offensive minds, turned what was a huge mismatch against Logan the first time into a huge mismatch for Logan this time. Essentially everything Logan did offensively was designed to force Judge's talented defenders into unfavorable matchups.
"We knew their speed was going to be tough, but we knew we could get in good calls because they were so consistent with their man coverage," said Favero. "That's why they pay me a nickel-an-hour to figure stuff out like that."Going the other way, Logan's defense was simply outstanding. Aside from two big plays that resulted in Bulldog TDs, the Grizzlies kept Judge's balanced rushing attack under wraps from start to finish. The Bulldogs pounded out 420 rushing yards in a semifinal win over Union last week but were held to just 120 yards by Logan.
E-mail: [email protected]