<em>This is the first in a series previewing the Region 12 football teams.</em>
LOGAN – The Grizzlies won the state championship in 2015, but went through some growing pains the following year.
Almost every key player of that state title team – including head coach Mike Favero – didn’t return for 2016. When new head coach Jayson Anderson took over he had a roster full of young, inexperienced players. The Grizzlies managed just one win last season, but according to Anderson, gained valuable experience through it all.
The hope is that the experience leads to wins.
“There were a couple of games there toward the end (of 2016) where we had 14 or 15 sophomores that had a lot of varsity playing time,” he said. “Basically we are still young is what it comes down to. It is the same thing I said last year, as soon as it is week one that excuse of being young is out the window.”
His players are anxious to prove themselves, and the attitude and belief around practice is that they will be able to. Senior safety Jace Perry said the team is already better all-around.
“We struggled last year and we are ready to prove something,” he said. “We have more leaders on the team and we’re more experienced overall.”
The offensive scheme will be the same as last year, Anderson said, but the quarterback job is still up in the air. Last year’s starting sophomore quarterback Jonny Parkinson is no longer at Logan High. The position could go to senior Paden Stokes or sophomore Kade Thornley. Anderson said both are doing a good job, and that it could end up being a game-time decision.
“Both of them have strengths in different aspects of the game and they both have stuff they’ve got to work on,” he said, “but I like how they are taking control of the huddle and I like how they are taking control of the team.”
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Anderson said the strength of his offense – and his defense – is the line.
“We’re going to go as they go,” he said. “If they play to the level I think they are capable of, we could be very successful. They know that challenge is out to them, they know they’ve got to step up their game, they’ve got to play at a high level.”
Stokes said speed is an offensive strength Logan will have, and that the wide receivers are doing well catching the ball. A returning coaching staff is an added advantage.
“Now we know what the system is like, what (Anderson) expects,” Stokes said. “It’s huge going into this year. We definitely have a structure to build upon.”
Anderson said the defensive scheme will be the same as last year, too, but hopes to see some better tackling than a season ago.
“We were very poor in tackling and that’s one of the things we’ve been practicing all offseason, is working on tackling,” he said. “Obviously we’ve got to be able to tackle in order to win football games.”
The season is less than two weeks away, but Anderson has hopes his team will be ready. He said he sees improvement daily.
“We have a long way to go,” he said. “So we’ve got to keep working hard, grinding it out and putting ourselves in positions to win games. It’s a grind.”
Aug. 18 vs Bonneville
Aug. 25 vs Park City
Sept. 1 at Ogden
Sept. 8 at Woods Cross
Sept. 15 at Green Canyon
Sept. 22 vs Ridgeline
Sept. 29 vs Sky View
Oct. 6 at Mountain Crest
Oct. 13 at Bear River
Oct. 18 vs Payson