Kody Kirk threw six touchdown passes — four of them to Gage Jenson — as Logan’s football team pulled away from Cedar for a 46-24 blowout Friday afternoon at Crimson Field in the first round of the 4A playoffs.
The Kirk-to-Jenson connection began early with the pair connecting on 50 and 41-yard scores in the first quarter. That gave the Grizzlies a 13-0 lead midway through the first (Logan went for two on the second TD and failed) quarter.
Cedar didn’t take the fast start by Logan lying down, however. The Reds scored 17 unanswered points, starting with a 28-yard field goal and then two touchdowns scored within five minutes of each other.
“We don’t start games (well) the last nine games and then all of the sudden we start well and we took a lull in the middle,” Logan head coach Bart Bowen said ruefully.
The lull didn’t last long for Logan and, in response to Cedar’s response, the Grizzlies once again found the end zone via Kirk and Jensen. A 17-yard touchdown pass between the two made it 20-17. That in and of itself might have been enough to flip momentum prior to halftime, but the Grizzlies weren’t satisfied yet.
After a quick defensive stop, Logan got the ball back with just over two minutes left. And on the second play of the drive, Kirk threw a short dart to Andrew Thornley. The junior receiver then dashed all the way home for a 55-yard touchdown. Logan failed on another two-point attempt, but had still turned a 17-13 deficit into not only a halftime lead, but a two-possession halftime lead.
“It was huge,” Kirk said of going up two scores at half instead of a three-point lead. “(Cedar) had a ton of momentum going with them when they scored those 17 straight, so it was huge because it gave us a ton of momentum heading into the second half.”
“It’s big for confidence,” Bowen said. “You go into halftime knowing ‘hey we can go down and score when we want to.’ We’ve just got to eliminate mistakes.”
Cedar scored via a 24-yard TD pass from Koden Lunt to Benjamin Ellis to pare its deficit to 26-24 early in the third, but Logan put the clamps on the Reds’ offense from then on, shutting them out over the roughly 21 remaining minutes. Key to that was putting up two touchdowns in response, one less than three minutes after Lunt’s pass to York and another early in the fourth quarter. That put pressure on the run-reliant Reds offense, forcing them to pass.
With six minutes left and a 39-24 lead, Logan iced the game with a long, run-fueled touchdown drive. Reserve running back Ethan Bracken did most of the work on the ground, slowly grinding up yards and the clock.
With 18 seconds left, the Grizzlies faced fourth down on the 1-yard line and opted to give Bracken one more run rather than simply hand the ball back. Bracken pushed through the line for the final score of the game and let Cedar run a meaningless play to end the game.
Kirk’s six touchdowns ties a season and career single-game high (he had six against Juan Diego on Aug. 8). Jenson nearly matched his season total of receiving touchdowns (five) by getting four on Friday.
“(Jenson)’s a stud,” Kirk said. “He’s making plays out there, huge plays. I’m forcing the ball to him. He’s just making plays because he’s an athlete.”
“It all starts with the (offensive) line,” Jenson said. “They gave Kody time to throw, so it just worked out perfect for me.”
Next Friday the Grizzlies will get a chance at revenge against Ridgeline. The undefeated Riverhawks defeated the Grizzlies in a heavy rainstorm 49-7 back on Oct. 8.
“Ridgeline’s a great team,” Kirk said, “so we’re going to have to come out and play a perfect game if we to want to beat these guys. But we’ll be ready.”
Ridgeline will host Logan next Friday at 5 p.m.