COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — In a game featuring two star quarterbacks, it was Logan's DJ Nelson who was able to will his team to victory as the Grizzlies defeated Cottonwood 32-25 Friday night. The senior picked up 190 yards rushing and a touchdown to go with 175 yards and three more scores through the air.
Cottonwood signal caller Cooper Bateman delivered 262 yards and three touchdowns of his own, but the Colt's offense was plagued by drops, penalties and an aggressive Logan defensive unit.
While both offenses stumbled early, it was Logan who finally got on the board late in the first, when Nelson connected with Jesse Braddy on a quick slant pass. Jake Thompson booted a 27-yard field goal minutes later for a 10-0 lead. The Grizzlies would hold the lead for the rest of the game, but not without serious challenges by the Colts.
Bateman found Inoke Lotueluei streaking across the middle of the field for a 43-yard score to put Cottonwood on the board on their next possession. Logan needed just five plays to respond, however, as Nelson hooked up with Beau Artist for a 19-yard score and a 17-7 lead. The score was aided in part by a personal foul on Cottonwood on the previous play, taking the Grizzlies from midfield to the red zone.
Cottonwood earned two safeties in the second quarter, a rarity at any level in football. The first came when Logan running back John Schmidt fumbled into his own end zone on a quick pass play. The second came on a punt snap that sailed out of play over the punter's head.
The damage was minimized for the Grizzlies because their drive sandwiched in between those mistakes was a one play, 80-yard touchdown dash by Nelson.
"They vacated a gap, and it was just off to the races," Nelson said. "The receivers did a great job getting their blocks. It was just a picture perfect play."
Bateman connected with Lotueleuei midway through the third to draw the Colts to within 24-17, but Nelson answered again with another short slant pass, this time to Caden Andersen from nine yards out.
With less than five minutes on the clock and facing a fourth down, Bateman took a snap, dropped back and rolled out to earn a few extra seconds from the pursuing defense. The extra time worked, as he tossed a long bomb to a wide open Desmond Banks for a touchdown to again bring the Colts within a single score.
Lining up for a field goal attempt on fourth down to finish off a 4-minute drive, the Logan snap failed, and Thompson lobbed a high pass to the end zone, where it was nearly caught. However the Cottonwood coaches vehemently argued that the Logan offensive linemen were downfield, but instead a pass interference penalty was called against the Colts and the Grizzlies were able to run more precious seconds off the clock.
The Colts were unable to convert on a last second pass, and the Grizzlies stormed the field in celebration after what many would consider an upset.