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Logan impressive in routing Panthers

Pine View's Jesse Ence leaves his feet in an effort to pull down Logan quarterback Riley Nelson (13) during the Grizzlies' victory.
Pine View's Jesse Ence leaves his feet in an effort to pull down Logan quarterback Riley Nelson (13) during the Grizzlies' victory.
Jason Olson, Deseret Morning News

Pine View found out Friday what the rest of the state already knew — yes, Logan is really that good.

Who cares if they're a 3A team. The Grizzlies have been virtually invincible all year, and they all but put to rest any debate about who the best team in the state is, regardless of classification.

Logan throttled a very good Pine View team 56-21 Friday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium to claim the 3A state championship, the school's first title since 2000.

"I'm just very lucky to have an opportunity to coach great players," said Logan coach Mike Favero.

For those who question how a 3A team can be regarded as the state's best, remember, this is the same Logan team that five weeks ago whipped eventual 5A champion Skyline 34-20 on the Eagles' home field.

Friday's victory was almost as easy.

The Grizzlies scored touchdowns on their first seven possessions, with Logan superstar quarterback Riley Nelson accounting for six of them, as Logan took a 49-7 lead into halftime.

Nelson ended up finishing the game with seven total TDs (three passing, four rushing) and 496 yards of total offense.

It put the finishing touches on perhaps the most productive quarterback career in the history of Utah high school football. Nelson finished as the state record holder in nine different categories: career total TDs (130), career passing TDs (79), season total TDs (84), season passing TDs (53), season completions (277), season passing yards (4,041), season total yards (5,815), single-season completions (38) and single-game TD passes (7).

He also finished second in career total offense with 9,869 yards, just 78 yards shy of the 9,947 Mountain Crest's Ryan Zimmerman put up from 2000 to 2002.

"This had to have been the greatest season a quarterback has had in the state of Utah," Favero said.

The ironic thing about Friday's blowout was it was supposed to be a good game. While Logan featured Nelson, Pine View had a gem of its own in BYU-bound quarterback James Lark, who had over 3,000 passing yards and 36 passing touchdowns entering the game.

The offensive shootout never transpired.

On Pine View's first two possessions of the game, the Panthers went three and out. By the time they began their third drive, Nelson had already given Logan a 14-0 lead on touchdown runs of eight and 39 yards.

Despite the deficit, Pine View's third drive wasn't as feeble as its first two. The Panthers' first three plays picked up first downs, but on the fourth play, Lark's pass was tipped by Logan lineman Pete Dien and then intercepted by Bobbie Duersch.

Six plays later, Logan went ahead 21-0, this time on a 26-yard touchdown pass from Nelson to Kyle Dragnich.

That third Logan touchdown seemed to take the life out of Pine View. Its defense allowed four more touchdowns as Logan built a 49-0 lead before Pine View's Jesse Ence scored on a one-yard TD run with one minute remaining in the first half.

"I wish we could've given them a better game in a game this big," said Pine View coach Ray Hosner. "That's a great football team, I can't take anything away from them. I knew they'd be able to score points, but I thought we'd be able to score a few more, too."

The only real drama in the second half was for stat geeks. With his two first-half touchdown passes, Nelson moved into a three-way tie for first place with Lark and Cottonwood's Alex Cate with 78 career touchdown passes.

With 8:25 remaining in the game, Nelson officially broke the record on an eight-yard strike to Jessie Yearger, giving him 79 career touchdown passes and Logan a 56-14 lead.

Unfortunately for Nelson, Lark leveled the tally at 79 when he threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to David Foote with 2:41 remaining in the game.

Pine View's only other touchdown was on a 44-yard punt return by Carter Mees.


E-mail: jedward@desnews.com