LOGAN There's a huge difference between talking about winning football games and actually doing it, according to Logan coach Mike Favero.
The way in which Logan went about winning last year's 3A state championship was simply unbelievable, and can only enhance the program moving forward.
"Hopefully it's translated into a greater belief in tradition. I've always believed the best way to teach kids to win is to actually win," said Favero. "Talking about it doesn't get the experience of actually winning, and winning in that type of fashion is invaluable for kids to really believe that anything can happen."
After improbable wins over Park City and Delta in the opening two rounds on late special teams plays, Logan cruised through the rest of the playoffs for its second title in three years. With numerous returning starters in key spots it is a big favorite to make it three out of four in 2008.
"It's kind of crazy to look back on last year," said Logan returning starter quarterback Jeff Manning. "Last year's good, but we just want to build on that and win another one."
There are plenty of pieces in place to make sure it happens, particularly on defense.
Miracle maker Jordan Ballam is back for his senior season at linebacker after his heroics in the playoffs made it all possible last year.
"He has a burning desire to win. He gets visibly upset if he doesn't. He's one of those guys he just has a knack for being in the right spot, and it ain't luck because it keeps repeating itself over and over and over," said Favero.
Ballam's joined by returning starting linebacker Taylor Peacock, along with outstanding defensive ends Jon Edwards and Ian Haderlie.
Peacock blew out his knee in the state championship game last year, but he's ready to roll with the season just around the corner.
Unfortunately for the Grizzlies this list likely won't include defensive tackle Runem Matangi, the Region 11 defensive MVP last year. He developed spinal stenosis, the narrowing of the spinal cord, late last season forcing him to miss the playoffs. It's unlikely he'll be able to play during his senior season.
Offensively, Logan should be as dangerous as ever. A year after throwing for 2,280 yards and 29 touchdowns, Jeff Manning is a year smarter in the Logan offense and poised to have a banner senior season.
Only two of the lineman in front of him are returning starters, but the ones returning are dandies. Jared Theurer was an all-state tackle last year, and George Pauni is a beast on the line at 300 pounds.
There are definitely some holes to fill in the offensive, particularly the five wide receivers, but Stephen Gwynn and Zack Skabelund are more than ready and anxious to fill two of those spots."There's always the unknown in high school sports, that's what makes it exciting," said Favero.
Logan Grizzlies prep football preview
COACH: Mike Favero is in his 10th year with the Grizzlies, having amassed a 78-38 record and three state titles thus far.
KEY PLAYERS: Many of the players who helped lead Logan to the state title are back again this year. Jordan Ballam was the hero of the playoffs and was named the 3A MVP. Jeff Manning should easily throw for over 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns this year. Defensively, Ian Haderlie, Taylor Peacock and Jon Edwards should have big years. Josh Thompson is also back at kicker.
QUESTION MARK: For as many returning starters as Logan has back, there are definitely holes to fill. All five receivers will be new this year, while most of the secondary will be new as well. That secondary won't get tested much until Week 3 when it plays Sky View, and by then it might not even be an issue. In reality, to be successful in 3A you've got to be able to stop the run, and Logan has the talent up front to get the job done.
LAST YEAR: 12-2, Beat Judge in 3A championship game.
PREDICTED REGION 11 FINISH: First.
POSTSEASON POSSIBILITIES: The Grizzlies are loaded this year, and it would be shocking not to see them back at Rice-Eccles Stadium in November. Logan's players know better than anyone that anything can happen between now and then, but a repeat state title is a very realistic expectation.
Aug. 22 at Murray, 7 p.m.
Aug. 29 PARK CITY, 7 p.m.
Sept. 5 at Sky View, 7 p.m.
Sept. 12 at Judge, 7 p.m.
Sept. 19 HIGHLAND, IDAHO, 7 p.m.
Sept. 26 GRANTSVILLE, 7 p.m.
Oct. 3 OGDEN, 7 p.m.
Oct. 10 MORGAN, 7 p.m.
Oct. 15 at Ben Lomond, 7 p.m.
Oct. 24 at Bear River, 7 p.m.