Logan • The superstar quarterback returned to Logan after a three-game stint at Oaks Christian High in southern California, humbled by his experience, more mature when looking back on his perceived failures and eager to bury the past with each passing day.
That was last year. Luke Falk is a year older now. Stronger physically, more resolute mentally and finally ready to lead a team for a season without looking over his shoulder.
D.J. Nelson is gone, no longer a Grizzly, after leading Logan to the 2011 Class 4A state title. Falk will no longer compete for playing time with someone of equal talent. The quarterback position is all his, the spotlight there for the taking.
Falk, so far, has barely flinched.
“I just want to play the game,” he said. “I just want to be out there with my buddies. I feel good. This will be a good year.”
He’s still a teenager, albeit a 6-foot-4, 215-pound teenager with a rocket for an arm that led to an offer from Florida State based off his YouTube video. It can be argued, however, that Falk’s been through as much as any 30-year-old.
Years one and two of his high school career featured the battle with Nelson, time split with a player that split feelings in the community and the locker room at Logan. Year three featured the move to nationally recognized Oaks Christian. Falk lasted three games, went 1-1 as a starter, completed 27 of his 53 passes, threw three interceptions and promptly lost his job with the first unit.
To this day, Falk insists that he didn’t quit. He didn’t cower from the competition. His move back home — mentally, he never left — involved family issues. No, he won’t go into detail. But today, Falk happily reports that his family is together and intact.
“Last year was tough,” he said. “But it turned into a learning experience. I’m happy that I’m back, and for me last year is in the past. We have a good team this year, and now it’s just time to go out there and play.”
Six months. That time-frame will be a proving ground for Falk.
His return to the Grizzly program was initially rough. Falk has had to earn the respect of his teammates. He also has to prove that he’s still a Division I talent.
The offer from Florida State no longer exists. He has an offer from Idaho. Other programs are sitting back and taking note. Falk also has big shoes to fill. Nelson just left for an LDS Church mission, after signing with Utah State. His fingerprints are still on Logan’s program after a record-setting season.
For Falk, the pressure exists to play well. Especially with a stacked team around him.
“I thought it took real courage for him to return to us,” head coach Mike Favaro said. “I wasn’t angry at him for leaving in the first place. He left because he wanted to play more. You can never really fault a kid for wanting to play more. He’s done everything we’ve asked of him since he’s returned. He’s gained weight and strength, and he’s going to have a good time in his senior year.”
Yes, Falk is back for one last try. Barring injury, he will take every snap of a season for the first time since middle school. The world of Utah high school football is waiting.
Luke Falk file
• Split time with D.J. Nelson during his first two seasons at Logan
• Transferred to Oaks Christian (Calif.) for his junior season
• Left Oaks Christian and transferred back to Logan last fall
• Will start for the Grizzlies this season as a senior
Prep football Friday schedule
American Leadership at Layton Christian, 4 p.m.
North Sanpete at Bear River, 7 p.m.
Lone Peak at Bountiful, 7 p.m.
Weber at Box Elder, 7 p.m.
Grand County at Carbon, 7 p.m.
Taylorsville at Copper Hills, 7 p.m.
Brighton at Davis, 7 p.m.
Pine View at East, 7 p.m.
Jordan at Fremont, 7 p.m.
Payson at Granger, 7 p.m.
Wasatch at Grantsville, 7 p.m.
West at Highland, 7 p.m.
Canyon View at Juab, 7 p.m.
Tooele at Judge Memorial, 7 p.m.
Hunter at Layton, 7 p.m.
Northridge at Logan, 7 p.m.
Delta at Manti, 7 p.m.
Morgan at Maple Mountain, 7 p.m.
Whitehorse at Monticello, 7 p.m.
Mountain View at Mountain Crest, 7 p.m.
Cyprus at Murray, 7 p.m.
Kanab at North Sevier, 7 p.m.
Bonneville at Ogden, 7 p.m.
Sky View at Olympus, 7 p.m.
Herriman at Orem, 7 p.m.
Kearns at Pleasant Grove, 7 p.m.
Emery County at Richfield, 7 p.m.
Hillcrest at Riverton, 7 p.m.
Clearfield at Roy, 7 p.m.
Juan Diego at Salem Hills, 7 p.m.
Gunnison Valley at South Sevier, 7 p.m.
Altamont at South Summit, 7 p.m.
Park City at Spanish Fork, 7 p.m.
Uintah at Stansbury, 7 p.m.
Desert Hills at Syracuse, 7 p.m.
Lehi at Timpanogos, 7 p.m.
Alta at Timpview, 7 p.m.
Ben Lomond at Union, 7 p.m.
Woods Cross at Viewmont, 7 p.m.
Bingham at West Jordan, 7 p.m.
Provo at Westlake, 7 p.m.