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Logan linemen help make 'the man'

Logan's Jake Sawin (99) carries the 3A trophy.
Logan's Jake Sawin (99) carries the 3A trophy.
Jason Olson, Deseret Morning News

Logan ran, passed and steamrolled its way to the 3A football championship. On the way, Riley Nelson had one of the most memorable seasons in Utah football history.

Nelson broke nearly every touchdown record conceivable. He was in the top 10 for rushing touchdowns in a season. He broke the record for touchdown passes in both one year and one career, and he had more total touchdowns than anyone in the state's history. Although Nelson was the headline-grabber, the Grizzlies would not have won the title without the unheralded players doing their part.

"We're the forgettable heroes," said offensive lineman Brad Theurer. "Sure, it's nice to get credit, but everyone has a job to do. We just went out and got it done."

The offensive linemen were the men behind the man. The crew of Theurer, Austin Birky, Reagan Shaw, Craig Freund and Tanner Richins were partly responsible for Nelson's 84 touchdowns on the season.

"He gets all the credit (Nelson), and he deserves it," said Richins. "It is a great feeling opening holes for him. You can give him a 2- or 3-yard hole and he turns it into a big play. Pass blocking for him is amazing. You give him time, and he'll make magic."

Although they played behind the scenes, Nelson knew that his play depended on the giants up front.

"In all of his interviews and everything he always tried to give us linemen credit," said Theurer. "He treated us to dinner once a week, and he was always telling us how great we are and how much we do."

While Logan's offense racked up the yards and the numbers, it still could not have won a title without the defense getting it the ball.

"We knew all year that we were a good defense," said linebacker Cole Farmer. "We had to practice against our offense, and that made us better, it would have made anyone better."

The defense rattled one of the best quarterbacks in the state in James Lark. When the game was still in the balance, before Logan had a 49-0 lead, the Grizzlies held Pine View to 41 yards on its first seven possessions. A major reason was the pressure applied up front as the Grizzlies had five sacks.

"Everybody worked hard and played with heart," said defensive lineman Junior Keiaho. "We didn't care what anyone said about us (the defense). We just wanted to go out and play well and win the game. Our D-line made plays."

Along with Keiaho, Spencer Frisby, Jake Swain, Tim Stevens and Pete Dien lived in the Panthers' backfield. The secondary of Bobbie Duersch, Sam Te, Reggie Nyman, Jake Spencer and Tom Schmidt did not allow the receivers any room, and Farmer and Landon Kohler roamed the middle of the field.

While Nelson will go down in the record books as the catalyst for the Logan championship, every player that contributed behind the scenes will know the part it played in bringing home a title.


E-mail: mblack@desnews.com