On the sideline directly in front of its student section lies Logan high’s “king throne,” a chair which is sat in by a Grizzly defender whenever they force a turnover.
At the first game of the high school football doubleheader at the 25,513-seat Maverick Stadium on Friday night, the king throne was the hottest seat in the house.
The Grizz forced five second half turnovers, two of which were returned for a touchdown, and they overcame a 19-3 second-quarter deficit to win the game 37-27 over 5A Stansbury and improve to 3-0 on the season.
“I’ll tell you what, these kids are making me old and I’m gonna die young,” Logan head coach Bart Bowen said.. “Never seen a defense play that well in the third quarter. We came out, we did just enough on offense but defense all day.”
It was a dominating defensive quarter indeed.
With 7:54 left in the third, senior Gage Atkinson forced a fumble and recovered it on the Grizz 20-yard line to stop a promising Stansbury drive.
Then, with 5:16 left, junior Boede Rudd had a fumble recovery on the Stallions side of the field, which helped set up a 7-yard touchdown run from senior Matthew Mason moments later to give Logan a 23-19 lead.
The following Stansbury drive, senior Jaelin Hoth recovered a fumble and took it 44 yards to the house, to make it 30-19. An interception by Rudd with 1:05 left in the quarter, and a fourth quarter pick six to make it 37-19 by Hoth capped off a dominating defensive performance.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Hoth following his two defensive touchdown performance. “Our defensive line played great and they were getting pressure on the quarterback a lot of the time and they were causing fumbles, and we just capitalized on it.”
“They love getting turnovers,” Bowen said. “We’ve been emphasizing it every day. And our guys are just sniffing the ball. We’re hustling to the football. That’s the biggest thing. Guys are around the football when it comes out.”
The Logan defense’s change in intensity from the first half to the second half was remarkable.
During the first 24 minutes, the Stansbury offense had its way. Junior quarterback Ezra Harris found success scrambling for yardage, and had plenty of time to throw, finding senior Kaden Skousen for a 33-yard touchdown. Senior backup quarterback Bridger Thomas also had success, finding junior Dylan Haimlton for the 56-yard touchdown off a trick play. Logan went into the locker room down 19-9.
“Honestly, it was a blessing we came out of the first half down 10,” Bowen said. “All we did was we went into the half, corrected a few mistakes, and told our guys ‘hey, just keep playing ball.’”
The first play of the second half, junior Krue Kennington broke through the Stallion offensive line — which had dominated the Grizz prior to that point — and sacked Harris for a 6-yard loss. It set the standard for the rest of the evening.
The Logan offense also showed a dramatic shift in composure in the second half. In the first half, they struggled to block anyone and had several penalties which stalled out drives. It took until the end of the quarter to find the end zone, when senior running back Matthew Mason capped off a 90-yard drive with a touchdown.
Entering the second half, senior quarterback Kody Kirk looked more confident, and he managed to find senior wide receiver Gaje Jenson for a 47-yard touchdown catch to cut the Stansbury lead to 19-16.
Beyond that, it was Mason who moved the offense. He finished with 101 rushing yards, including a touchdown.
Still undefeated three weeks into the season, the Grizzlies are excited with how they’ve looked thus far.
“It’s awesome,” Hoth said. “It’s it’s a new feeling because we haven’t had it these past three years under Coach Bowen, but he’s done a great job with this team we have here and I expect a lot out of us.”
“I’m feeling really good about our team,” Bowen said. “We’ve got to clean up the first half. There’s going to be games where we’re not going to be able to come back, but right now I’m really happy.”