4A football: Olympus defense knocks out Logan
Logan • The moment had Chase Nelson written all over it.
A drive starting at its own 35-yard line with 1 minute, 41 seconds left on the clock and a two-point deficit in a Class 4A state quarterfinal. It's the kind of situation where a senior quarterback shines.
Nelson had a ball in his arm, switching from his left arm to his right arm while anxiously watching from the sideline. His maroon jersey hung from the back pocket of his dark pants.
But there would be no Chase Nelson drive. It was up to junior Kinkade Wildman to get the job done. Wildman was forced into quarterbacking duties after Nelson was suspended a game for being ejected from Logan's opening-round win over Bountiful, so Nelson was relegated to cheerleader Friday afternoon.
Wildman led the Grizzlies into Olympus territory on the final drive, but the clock expired after Mason Draper's sack on third-and-2 at the Olympus 44, and the Titans sideline broke loose to rush the field and celebrate the 23-21 win and a berth in the state semifinals.
"Oh man, I was nervous," Olympus running back Coleman Meier said. "I was pacing up and down the sideline. But I had faith in my team, and I knew we could pull it out."
The Titans can thank their defense for a chance to play East at Rice-Eccles Stadium in the semifinals Thursday. Olympus rudely greeted Wildman to start the game when Jeff Faletoi snatched his screen pass on the first play from scrimmage. Faletoi outran Wildman to the end zone for a touchdown just 16 seconds into the game.
"Our main focus was just coming out strong and believing in ourselves, and that play just did it for us," Meier said. "It shows we can do it and we can take down Logan. I think that momentum carried us all the way through the game."
Spencer Williams got in on the action two plays later when he intercepted a Wildman pass to give the Titans the ball at the Grizzlies 18-yard line. Meier capped that drive with a 4-yard TD run.
So Olympus caught two of Wildman's first three pass attempts, and those two interceptions led to a 13-0 lead with 9:29 left in the first quarter.
"I think it did set the tone for throughout the entire game," Faletoi said. "We did have a little lag in spots, but we did pretty good."
Wildman started to settle down in the second quarter, and he led the Grizzlies 42 yards for a score. He ducked out of a sack and heaved the ball to Chad Artist in the left corner of the end zone for a score.
"Right after that first touchdown to Chad Artist, I kind of calmed down and I didn't have as much pressure," Wildman said. "I really got comfortable with all the guys."
Wildman connected with Taylor Compton on a 9-yard score on a fourth-down play in the third quarter to pull Logan within a score at 20-14. But James Fox grabbed Olympus' third interception of Wildman on the last play of the third quarter, and Ben Anderson connected on a 21-yard field goal for a two-score lead. Olympus scored 16 of its points off turnovers.
Wildman's pass for Compton came up short but was deflected to Hartman Rector and he took it in for a score midway through the fourth quarter to get the Grizzlies within a score again, but that's as close as Logan got.
"We were very fortunate," Olympus coach Aaron Whitehead said. "There's no other way to put it. If there was more time on the clock, this might be a different story. Both defenses played incredibly well."
And it was fitting that the Olympus defense delivered the final blow, the sack to seal the victory.
"We all had fight and we all played with heart, and that's all that matters," Wildman said. "We tried to do everything we could."
Olympus 23, Logan 21
O The Titans defense intercepts Logan backup QB Kinkade Wildman four times.
• Olympus scores 16 of its points off turnovers.
• Wildman throws for 251 yards and three TDs.