Last week, it was the run game that got it done for Logan’s football team as it rushed for 294 yards in a win over Viewmont.
But on Friday night in their home opener against Juan Diego, the passing attack led the way. Senior quarterback Kody Kirk threw for 298 yards and six touchdowns, and Logan coasted to a 50-21 victory over the Soaring Eagle.
Facing a Juan Diego defense that was big up front and thin in the secondary, Logan’s initial plan was to move the ball laterally. Several edge runs and behind the scrimmage passes turned into big plays, including a pass from Kirk to senior running back Matthew Mason that went for 58 yards.
The lateral plays, as well as the Grizz offensive line’s ability to hold their own against the larger defensive front, opened up the downfield passing game. Kirk found time to throw and had plenty of playmakers to throw it to, targeting six different guys throughout the night.
“We got what we wanted. We wanted the edges and they gave it to us and we just capitalized,” said Logan head coach Bart Bowen. “We caught some incredible balls tonight and our guys were making plays right and left.”
The biggest plays were made in the second quarter, where Kirk was perfect 11 of 11 passing with 194 passing yards and four touchdown passes.
He found senior Gage Jensen for the first two of those touchdowns and senior Jaelin Hoth for third, when Hoth broke a tackle in the open field and finished with a 35-yard reception to the end zone. The fourth touchdown was the highlight of the night. With eight seconds remaining in the half, senior tight end Payton Cox extended and made a one-handed grab to make it 35-14.
“I got a lot of targets out there and it’s good to be able to spread the ball around and everyone out there is able to make plays for me,” said Kirk. “My line did a great job of moving around and making adjustments to their blitzes and stuff. And we were able to get the ball out quick because they were bringing a lot (of pressure), and their secondary wasn’t the best.”
Beyond the passing game, a major part of Logan’s success Friday night was the ability of its defense to get stops.
But going up against Juan Diego’s wishbone offense, the Grizzlies’ ability to stop the dive and the Soaring Eagle running attack was initially in question.
On the first defensive series of the game — which started 13 yards from the goal line due to a botched punt — Juan Diego found the end zone in just two plays, off an 8-yard touchdown run from senior Antonio Rossano.
But after the initial touchdown, the Grizz seemed unfazed by the triple option. They were quick to follow the ball and make tackles near the line of scrimmage, and the next three Soaring Eagle drives stalled out.
Besides a 56-yard touchdown from junior Bentley Garlick in the second quarter, the Grizz contained the dive effectively, which forced Juan Diego to start passing the ball.
It didn’t work. With 2:21 left in the half, Juan Diego quarterback James Valdez faked the pitch and looked to throw. Not feeling the pressure, he was blindsided by sophomore linebacker Michael Cabrera, who forced a fumble which was recovered by senior Gage Atkinson on the 23-yard line. It would set up the Grizzlies’ fourth touchdown of the quarter.
“The defense played awesome tonight,” Bowen said. “That wishbone is gonna dive, they’re gonna get yards. We’re so hyper-focused on stopping the dive from big plays that they’re going to get a little bit. I think we only gave up one big play in the first half and so I’m really happy with how we played.”
The second half began with Logan forcing another three and out, and followed that with a 63-yard touchdown drive, capped by a scoring pass from Kirk to Mason.
With the score 43-14, the game was all but decided. Both schools would score once more — Juan Diego on a 7 yard rushing touchdown from Garlick, and Logan on a 24 yard run from Mason.
Overall, Bowen is pleased his team is 2-0, and was impressed with Kirk's performance.
"He played really well. There are some things we got to clean up, but I’m loving it," Bowen said. "He’s making reads and he’s getting the ball where guys can make plays."
GRIZZLIES 50, SOARING EAGLES 21
Friday at Logan
Juan Diego 7 7 7 0
Logan 7 28 8 7
JD — Antonio Rossano 10 run (Jeremy Ortega kick), 10:26
L — Jaelin Hot 9 pass from Kody Kirk (Noe Moreno kick), 6:51
L — Gage Jensen 9 pass from Kirk (2 point failed), 10:20
L — Jensen 9 pass from Kirk (Hoth Run), 7:02
JD — Dallas Larson 56 run (Ortega kick), 5:19
L — Hoth 35 pass from Kirk (Moreno kick), 3:09
L — Payton Cox 4 pass from Kirk ·(Moreno kick), 0:08
L — Mason 9 pass from Kirk (Cox pass from Kirk), 8:52
JD — Larson 7 run (Ortega Kick), 1:51
L — Mason 24 run (Moreno kick), 10:09