LOGAN — The Logan Grizzlies football program hasn’t thrived the last few years despite a long and proud history. The last time the team had a winning record was 2018 and that’s something new head coach Carson Mund is looking to change. He’s adopted a long-term view but that doesn’t mean 2023 is a throw-away season as part of a rebuild.
- Head Coach: Carson Mund (1st Year)
- Radio Broadcast: KVNU 102 FM, 610 AM
- Broadcasters: Jason Walker (play-by-play), Josh Anderson (analyst)
- Aug 11 @ Pine View
- Aug 18 vs NORTH SANPETE
- Aug 25 @ Timpanogos
- Sept 1 vs Juan Diego
- Sept 8 @ Bear River
- Sept 15 @ Mountain Crest
- Sept 22 vs SKY VIEW
- Sept 29 vs RIDGELINE
- Oct 6 vs GREEN CANYON
- Record: 5-6
- Region Finish: 4th (2-3)
- Playoffs: Lost in First Round (7-0 at Cedar)
- Returning Starters: 8
- Returning All-Region Players: 5
- All-Region Players Lost: 9
Hear Coach Mund’s thoughts on his team
The Grizzlies were a bit of a surprise last year, handing Sky View its only loss in region play while also pushing Ridgeline in a grinding 13-10 game that narrowly favored the Riverhawks. Even in a road playoff game, Logan barely lost 7-0 at Cedar. But in the end, the almosts were a few too many as were the blowouts suffered at the hands of Mountain Crest, Bear River, Juan Diego and Woods Cross. The Grizzlies finished with a losing record for a fourth straight season and a fourth-place spot in the standings.
New head coach Mund is coming in to not only stay at last year’s level, but to try and raise the team above it. He comes to Logan as a graduate of Box Elder and after just over a decade of coaching experience around Utah, his most recent stop being with his alma mater in the role of an assistant coach. He will renew the goal of getting Logan back to its glory days.
“To take over such a program with such great tradition is a great opportunity to hopefully fill those shoes and fill that tradition,” Mund said.
The road won’t be easy, just as it hasn’t been every year the Grizzlies have tried since 2018. Its two Cache Valley Media Group First Team All-Region 11 selections from 2022 — Andrew Thornley (also Region 11 Offensive Player of the Year) and Tilose Tupou (who was first team on both the O-line and D-line) — graduated, as did Ethan Bracken, a valuable two-way running back and defensive end/linebacker. Adding to the trouble, the heir-apparent two-way star Tytan Mason (a second-team All-Region RB) moved to southern Utah and will play for Desert Hills.
To put it simply, there’s a lot of production to replace.
Key to fielding a good offense will be senior quarterback Keaton Pond. Last fall, Pond was second in Region 11 in passing yards (1,715) and had the best completion percentage in 4A among QBs with at least 100 attempts (60.8).
“[Pond has] improved so much from last year,” Mund. “His arm strength has gotten better. He’s gotten bigger, faster, stronger. He’s done all the right things in the offseason to prepare himself for this upcoming season and he’s the leader of our football team. We’re gonna go offensively as he goes. We’re going to ask him to do a lot with the football.”
The top two targets for Pond (Thornley and senior receiver David Audd), are both gone but an up-and-coming player is tight end Reed Olsen. In 2022, the 6-foot-6 then-sophomore caught 21 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown. He and senior wide receiver Cooper Redd should get the lion’s share of targets. At running back, the Grizzlies are putting faith in freshman Kadin Aliva to replace the likes of Mason and Ethan Bracken who combined for nearly 1,400 yards as a tandem last year.
On the defensive side of the ball there is plenty to replace — six of the seven starters on the front seven — but every starter in the secondary is back. The senior twins, Alan and Ryan Lazzari, will reprise their roles as starters in the defensive backfield. Redd and Brock Brown, who combined for seven interceptions last year, will both return as starters.
“We’ve got a lot of returning guys on the back end of things,” Mund said. “So, a lot of the focus has been how are we going to replace guys like Tytan Mason, or Andrew Thornley, or the O-line that was there last year, the D-line that was there last year. Those have been a lot of our main focus this fall camp.”
Most of Logan’s lost starters come on the offensive and defensive line. Overcoming those losses will be key for success this season.
Looking at the difficulty of schedule, Logan’s non-region schedule on paper looks like it could be a fairly easy one, going by 2022 records (though things can change drastically year-to-year for each and every team so using last year’s records can be a dubious measuring stick). Pine View went winless a year ago, and North Sanpete and Juan Diego are both 3A teams that didn’t have winning records a year ago. Timpanogos will likely be a tough game, being on the road and against a team that went 7-4 last year at the 5A level (but is moving down to 4A this year).
Mund said he thinks there’s a “good balance” of challenging opponents and games “we should compete and do well in,” citing Timpanogos as a tough challenge while also saying he thinks Pine View will be a much tougher challenge than its winless 2022 record would indicate.
In region play the Grizzlies’ schedule could either be rewarding or brutal depending on how their first couple of games go. They will start with two straight road games which, if won, could give the team momentum going into back-to-back home games against Sky View and Ridgeline. Logan then gets to finish its region slate with a third straight home game against Green Canyon. In a less-than-ideal scenario where the Grizzlies drop both road games at the start of region play, it could spell disaster by then throwing a team on a skid against the top two region teams.
We’ve seen year one coaches succeed in Region 11 as recently as last year with Mountain Crest, but we also saw another first-year coach at Bear River begin his rebuild with a slower, but still notable, improvement. It’ll be worth watching Logan to see if Mund is able to be the former or the latter.