3AA Championship: Logan QB Horsley leads Grizz past Dixie

Logan raises the state championship trophy after defeating Dixie 26-15, Dixie vs. Logan, 3AA State Football Championship, Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 20th, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY – The Logan Grizzlies surely must like being back in 3AA as they won their 10th game in a row and captured the 3AA State Championship with a 26-15 win over Dixie Friday at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

dixie-smlogan“We just wanted to show that us seniors, that we worked our butts off this year,” Logan receiver Hartman Rector said. “It shows that teamwork makes the dream work.”

There were two big storylines in the game. The first was the amazing performance by Logan quarterback Hunter Horsley. He had one the most impressive individual performances in a state game in Utah history, rushing for 258 yards and passing for 178, a total of 436 yards of offense for the senior.

Logan's quarterback Hunter Horsley (13) dives for a first down, Dixie vs. Logan, 3AA State Football Championship, Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 20th, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Logan quarterback Hunter Horsley (13) dives for a first down, Dixie vs. Logan, 3AA State Football Championship, Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 20th, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

“It is all so surreal,” Horsley said. “Honestly, it doesn’t even feel like I was just playing. It is just like a dream to me.”

Horsley’s 82-yard run for a touchdown in the second quarter was the 10th longest TD run in state championship game history and put the Grizzlies ahead 13-0.

“They were in coverage and just five in the box and we had a QB draw out of empty,” Logan head coach Mike Favero said. “Their underneath guys flew into pass coverage and they only had three guys rushing. He made a great move and went the distance. He is a tremendous athlete and a great competitor.”

Logan's Hartman Rector (4) leaps over a Dixie defender, Dixie vs. Logan, 3AA State Football Championship, Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 20th, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Logan’s Hartman Rector (4) leaps over a Dixie defender, Dixie vs. Logan, 3AA State Football Championship, Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 20th, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

The other storyline was the missed opportunities for Dixie. The Flyers dropped interceptions and failed to fall on fumbles on several occasions.

“We had a lot of plays like that,” Dixie coach Andy Stokes said. “We had a lot of plays we left on the field, both offensively and defensively, and you can’t leave plays on the field and expect to win a championship against the best team in the state. Those kind of plays are huge.”

One of the biggest missed chances came in the second quarter. Trailing 3-0, Dixie had Logan pinned at its own 12-yard line. Horsley hit Spencer Corbett down the middle of the field for about a 20-yard gain.

The senior receiver fumbled the ball right to a Dixie defender, who couldn’t handle the gift. As the ball squirted away, another Dixie defender dove on the pigskin, but again squibbled out and Rector pounced on it. So, instead of Flyers ball at about the 35, the fumble forward ended up being a gain of 32 for the Grizzlies to the 44.

Logan's Spencer Corbett (2) fumbles the ball, Dixie vs. Logan, 3AA State Football Championship, Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 20th, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Logan’s Spencer Corbett (2) fumbles the ball, Dixie vs. Logan, 3AA State Football Championship, Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 20th, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

“It was a big play for us, a really big play,” Rector said. “I just kept hustling and I thought they had it, but it just popped back out and I just jumped on it. I felt like it was calling my name.”

Despite giving up a bunch of yards in the first half, the Dixie defense allowed just a pair of Josh Young field goals until Horsley’s breakaway run made it 13-0 with 3:41 left in the first half.

The Flyers made the game interesting in the third quarter. After an interception by Payton Wilgar stopped a Logan scoring threat, Dixie then went 85 yards in nine plays to make it a 13-7 game. Jaden Harrison ran it in on a fly sweep from 10 yards out with 4:08 to go in the third after Hobbs Nyberg made a couple of nice catches to set it up.

Dixie's Hobbs Nyberg (9) makes a diving catch, Dixie vs. Logan, 3AA State Football Championship, Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 20th, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Dixie’s Hobbs Nyberg (9) makes a diving catch, Dixie vs. Logan, 3AA State Football Championship, Salt Lake City, Utah, Nov. 20th, 2015, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

But, like champions do, Logan responded with what would be a game-clinching drive. The Grizzlies went 65 yards in 12 plays with Horsley hitting Corbett from 8-yards out for the score with two seconds left in the third quarter, making it 19-7.

“That what champions do,” Favero said. “These guys sold out and gave everything they had to be state champions. That’s what champions do and we’re going to have a ring.”

Logan then put the game away with a fourth-quarter drive of 70 yards for icing on the cake, putting the game at 26-7. Dixie got a late TD from Bret Barben for the final score.

All-totaled, Logan finished with 459 yards to Dixie’s 216. The Grizzlies definitely came into the game with the idea of stopping stellar Dixie running back Tre Miller. He ended up with just 40 yards on 12 carries. Nyberg had 89 receiving yards and Harrah passed for 148 and a TD.

The champion Grizzlies finish the year 11-2, while Dixie will settle for second place and a 9-3 record.

“We didn’t expect to get this far, with so many sophomores playing and so many new kids starting,” Stokes said. “We are proud of the kids and proud of our senior leadership that got us to this point. They carried us all the way here. It was an unbelievable senior class and it is hard to see them go out like this but they have much to be proud of. They are great kids on the field and off the field.”

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