Logan’s big gridiron season making mark on state record book
What they're saying:
“I see the perfect blend, of toughness. He’s got great feet and hips and speed to burn. He’s a wrestler, tougher than hell … We knew he was going to be a handful. We hadn’t faced anyone quite like him this year. We’ve run into some really good backs, big strong backs, but no one with his kind of speed.”
— Merino football coach Rocky DeSanti
“What you have to do is help to contain Jace, so he doesn't overdo it himself. I saw some film where they ran a guy 48 times in one game. That will kill people, so you have to manage Jace and his number of carries so he stays sharp for a season. On the other hand, you know two things: No. 1 if you give the ball to Jace, everyone will go there. No. 2, he’s probably going to get the yards you needs. If it’s three yards or five yards for a first down, he’ll get there.
“You kind of get used to it. He has 44 touchdowns now, that’s insane. 24 is an amazing number.”
— Soroco football coach Dick Dudas
“He’s a very special player. Every time he touches it he could go all the way, and you don’t have those kind of kids every year.”
— West Grand football coach Chris Brown
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Six touchdowns, six points each, equals 36. His 430 yards are worth 0.1 points, so together 43, and he also ran the ball in on a two-point conversion, earning two more points. Subtract two points for an interception, sure, but the math still adds up to some serious regret for anyone who didn’t start Soroco High School running back Jace Logan and his 79 points (by standard ESPN scoring) in their fantasy football league.
If there were actually any Colorado high school fantasy football leagues, Logan would be in the midst of a legendary run, but he’s been plenty legendary in the real world this season.
He’ll try to continue it at 1 p.m. Saturday in Oak Creek against West Grand in the 8-man football state semifinals.
“That kid’s an animal,” Soroco senior Schuyler Carlson said of the junior tailback. “He just keeps pounding. You get him a block, and he can go the whole distance.”
“You’ll see him and think, ‘He’s not going to break through that,’ but he does, breaks a couple of tackles, and he’s off to the end zone,” said Bosch Erickson, another Rams senior.
Logan’s adjective-demanding season has already registered as one of the best in the history of the state, and his stats have rocketed up the Colorado High School Activities Association all-time record books.
Take the 430-yard game he’s coming away from. That ranks as the 11th-highest, single-game rushing performance according to CHSAA’s records. Logan’s 446-yard game earlier this season against Plateau Valley ranks ninth.
His 3,023 yards this season ranks as the sixth-best season, and he still has at least one game to go. A performance like he had against Mancos would push him to No. 1, currently held down by Myles Smith of Cheyenne Wells, who’s 2003 season included 3,416 yards.
Logan’s 44 touchdowns this season ranks him 13th.
That 44 was something he was aiming for. He got it with his final touchdown against Mancos, a 38-yard dash through the middle of the line. Logan, who wears No. 44 and is usually somewhat reserved after a score, came off the field shouting, “44! That’s 44!”
“Ever since I was little kid, I made that my goal, to score more than my jersey number,” he said.
It used to be easier. He wore No. 23 in middle school.
“It’s something kind of cool for me, but it’s my team that allowed me to do that,” he said.
Logan’s always quick to point to his offensive line, and that group has played well this postseason. It was plenty evident in Soroco’s first touchdown against Mancos, in the waning seconds of the first half.
The Rams were backed up, way up, starting the drive at their own 1-yard line. Logan lined up in one end zone, then ran to the other. Rams’ lineman Sam Shaffer was the first to the hole, on the right side. He got one big block. Then Jesse Amrein was next. Amrein is getting snaps as one of the team’s other tailbacks, but he often serves as more of a fullback, and on that play, he was right behind Shaffer. He, too, picked up a big block.
Logan was right behind them and cruised untouched 99 yards.
Those are special moments for those in the stands and from Logan’s own vantage point.
“It’s clogged up and you see green grass and you just go for it, turn it loose, and go ‘yee haw’ down the sidelines,” he said. “It’s pretty special. It doesn’t happen to very many people, it’s just so much fun for me.”
About the only time this season anyone would have wished they’d have started, say, Le’Von Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers instead of Logan in that extremely fantasy football league was Oct. 19, against West Grand.
Logan was hobbled by an ankle injury. He was well enough to play but was hobbled considerably further by the Mustangs swarming, penetrating defense.
He was held to 35 yards on eight carries, and it was his only game of the season without a touchdown.
“We got some luck,” West Grand coach Chris Brown said this week.
To be fair to Brown’s defense, there’s been too strong of a pattern for luck to have been a major factor. West Grand didn’t allow a single point in league play this season.
“We got him corralled enough and jumped out to pretty early lead,” Brown said. “That doesn’t change what he can do. Any time he touches the ball, he could go all the way. You have to have a plan. We have a plan but sometimes plans don’t work.”
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