Herriman (8-3) at Logan (10-0)
4A state tournament first round
Saturday, 1 p.m.
Parry's Power Guide: Logan by 35
All-time series: First meeting
Coach vs. coach: Logan's Mike Favero leads Herriman's Larry Wilson, 1-0. When Wilson was coach at Highland, Logan beat Highland 14-0 in 1999 4A championship.
The two highest-scoring teams in 4A this season were Logan and Herriman. Oddly enough, the two will meet in the opening round of the 4A state tournament this Saturday at 1 p.m. in Logan.
Logan was dominant all season running the tables with a 10-0 record and a Region 5 title and averaging 44.9 ppg.
Second-year school Herriman got off to an impressive 5-0 start, but stumbled down the stretch losing to Skyline, Olympus and Herriman in region play to enter the playoffs as the No. 4 seed from Region 7. The Mustangs officially punched their ticket to the 4A state tournament on Tuesday night with a 44-22 play-in game victory over Springville, the Region 8 No. 5 seed.
Logan coach Mike Favero was on hand scouting the game, and he was very impressed with what he saw.
"They're dominant. They played very well on offense, their running back and quarterback are good, and so is their offensive line," said Favero.
Herriman was so dominant early on, it led 30-0 early in the second quarter before Springville had even picked up a first down.
"We started off offensively and just dominated the game, especially in the first half," said Herriman coach Larry Wilson.
Herriman's reward for the victory is a date with the No. 1 team in 4A. It would've avoided such a tough first-round game with a better region record, but such stumbles are all part of building a program.
"There's a process you have to go through with experience, tradition and other those things we don't have. A lot of those things were new to us," said Wilson. "It was a situation where we had that going on, where we also had some significant injuries and suspensions, and a combination of a lot of things put us behind the 8 ball. One thing is the kids have just kept battling, and the coaches just kept battling and we fought through the adversity."
In Logan, Herriman is facing a juggernaut that's outstanding both offensively and defensively. In addition to leading all 101 teams in the state of Utah with a 44.9 scoring average, Logan also leads 4A surrendering just 15.6 ppg.
That defense gave up chunks of points earlier in the season to teams like Cottonwood, Bountiful and Spanish Fork, but down the stretch the defense tightened up.
It has been particularly good against the run, which bodes well against Herriman.
Mustang running back Francis Bernard leads the state with 1,466 rushing yards this year, and he's second in touchdowns with 22, just one behind Hurricane's Brian Scott.
Wilson said his team can't rely too heavily on Bernard though.
"I think for us, the key is to be balanced. Whether we initially run the ball or throw the ball really depends on what the defense is giving us. At the end of the day we want to be a relatively balanced team," he said.
The same goes for Logan, even though everything goes through quarterback D.J. Nelson. He was one of 19 players in the state who eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards during the regular season, finishing with 1,102, while also adding 18 rushing touchdowns. He also threw for 2,352 yards and 34 TDs.
"It's been fun to be a part of, as good a year as I've been a part of recent memory," said Favero. "It's a tribute to him, and also his teammates. It's a team deal. To be a great quarterback you have to have a great O-line and you have to have great receivers."
As for the burden of being the No. 1 team heading into the playoffs, Favero doesn't concern himself with that. He says that in the playoffs everyone is 0-0.
"It's do or die. Playoff football is all about pressure," he said.
Herriman statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 36.2 ppg
Scoring defense: 20.8 ppg
Passing leader: Tueni Lupeamanu (94-167, 56.3%, 1,458 yards, 14 TDs, 7 INTs)
Receiving leaders: Francis Bernard (23 receptions, 3-8 yards, 1 TD), Gabe Ruflin (12 receptions, 322 yards, 6 TDs)
Sacks leaders: EJ Bernard (3.5 sacks), Derrick Kueser (2.5 sacks)
Interceptions leader: Kody Jarvis (3 interceptions)
Note: Does not include defensive stats from Springville play-in game.
Logan statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 44.9 ppg
Scoring defense: 15.6 ppg
Passing leader: D.J. Nelson (191-307, 62.2%, 2,352 yards, 33 TDs, 4 INTs)
Sacks leaders: Jacoby Wildman (6.5 sacks)
Interceptions leader: Johnny Luke (10 interceptions)
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