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High school football: Logan Grizzlies 2009 preview

LOGAN — With just three returning starters and a senior class that hasn't experienced much success through the years, expectations aren't very high for the Logan Grizzlies this season.

Well, for people outside the program anyway. The Grizzlies are approaching the 2009 season like any other, and hope to be a factor in the region and state title races as they usually are.

"Not many people expect much from us, but we're making high expectations for ourselves," said Logan quarterback Tyler Stevens.

Some positive thinking should help the Grizzlies as they return to 4A this season, and rejoin Cache Valley rivals Mountain Crest and Sky View in Region 5. The timing may not be the greatest for Logan to move up a classification, as the program would surely love to be loaded like it was in 2005 or 2007 when it won 3A championships.

But it is what it is, and the Grizzlies are ready to compete with larger schools in 4A.

"Time will tell," said Logan coach Mike Favero. "Same dimensions, same football, same goalposts, same rules."

Stevens hopes to enjoy the same success previous quarterbacks have had under Favero.

The Grizzlies have a rich quarterbacking tradition and now it's Stevens' turn to try and lead a prolific offense. Stevens sat behind Jeff Manning the last two seasons, and Favero has confidence in him.

"He's a real football savvy guy," Favero said. "He's got a real high football IQ. He's a great leader, a real competitive kid. He really knows our stuff well. He knows the game and he's a tough, tough kid."

Stevens isn't in awe of the chance to play quarterback at Logan. He said he's ready for the opportunity.

"Coach will put me in the right positions to make plays," Stevens said.

Stevens is one of Logan's leaders, along with returning starters such as running back Dalton Birky, center Taylor Lawlin and safety Jackson Everton. Birky took advantage of his opportunities last season, averaging more than 7 yards per carry.

"He's a tough little runner," Favero said.

Two other players expected to contribute for the Grizzlies are receiver Billy Phillips and defensive lineman Boo Phillips, a transfer from Sky View.

Outside of those players, the Grizzlies are unproven and inexperienced.

"They'll all be new guys," Favero said. "It'll be interesting. The thing I'm excited about is our guys are eager and our team chemistry is very good."

He's also excited to coach them.

"I'm as excited about this upcoming season as any other year I've been coaching," Favero said. "In the years past we've had some studs coming back, previous all-staters. We have a lot of inexperience, but that's OK. When you have so much inexperience, those that deserve to be on the field will (be there)."

Logan Grizzlies at a glance

Coach: Mike Favero is in his 11th year at Logan and has an 87-40 record. He has led the Grizzlies to three state championships.

Key Players: Quarterback Tyler Stevens will direct what's usually a potent Logan offense. He'll have some weapons to work with in running back Dalton Birky and receiver Billy Phillips. Center Taylor Lawlin and safety Jackson Everton are returning starters. Boo Phillips, a transfer from Sky View, will anchor the defensive line.

Strengths: Stevens' high football IQ will help the offense produce, and Birky will be a real weapon on offense. The Grizzlies also have great team chemistry and won't be plagued by players who are more concerned with individual glory.

Concerns: The Grizzlies' inexperience may be troublesome. Only three starters return and the first-year varsity starters may take some time getting used to the Friday night lights. There are also question marks if Logan has the depth and talent to compete in a tough Region 5 this season.

Last year: 8-3, lost in the quarterfinals to Juan Diego

Predicted Region 5 finish: Fourth

Postseason possibilities: The Grizzlies may struggle in their first year back in 4A. Logan probably doesn't have the ability to win the Region 5 championship, but could contend for Region 5's third and final playoff berth.

2009 Schedule

Aug. 21 — BEAR RIVER, 7 p.m.

Aug. 28 — at Mountain View, 7 p.m.

Sept. 4 — BOUNTIFUL, 7 p.m.

Sept. 11 — at Park City, 7 p.m.

Sept. 18 — at Ogden, 7 p.m.

Sept. 25 — SKY VIEW, 7 p.m.

Oct. 2 — at Judge, 7 p.m.

Oct. 9 — at Mountain Crest, 7 p.m.

Oct. 16 — BOX ELDER, 7 p.m.

Oct. 23 — BONNEVILLE, 7 p.m.

e-mail: aaragon@desnews.com