ROY -- If only the Royals had better numbers. But this is not a lottery.
Despite losing its best player -- sophomore tailback/outside linebacker Matty Matautia -- to a season-ending knee injury in Week 1 versus Clearfield, undefeated Roy High is looking for a 5-0 start for just the fourth time in its 49-year history.
"It's luck. We've had some injuries, and we're one injury from being 0-4. We're so thin," said Roy coach Fred Fernandes, who is 101-52 in 15 years with previous stints at Northridge and Woods Cross.
"We won two games, Weber (17-14) and Fremont (13-12), on the last play of the game," he said. "Those games could have gone either way."
The last time the Royals were 5-0 was in 1975 when Jim McMahon was a junior quarterback and Roy bolted to a best-ever 10-0 start.
On what could be a brisk night in Cache Valley, Roy (4-0 overall, 1-0 league) tangles with Logan (4-0, 1-0) in a Region 5 game while also looking to snap a 13-game skid against the Grizzlies dating to 1992.
Logan leads the all-time series 16-14.
"I'm hoping we can hang with them. We're beat up is what we are," Fernandes said. "Logan is absolutely the best team we've faced so far. We're going to show up and play."
Junior quarterback Tyler Skidmore has thrown nine touchdown passes with only two interceptions in the Royals' pro-set offense with multiple formations.
"Tyler is a three-year starter at quarterback and it shows," Fernandes said. "He can make every throw on the field and is a good leader. Tyler is the best quarterback I've coached, and I've had three (state) 5-A MVPs (at the 'Ridge).
"Tyler is like a coach on the field," he said. "I feel like I need to get out of his way and let him run the show."
Fernandes is 14-9 at Roy in three years.
"I just wanted to come in here and build a program, and we have been in the win-loss column," he said. "We want to get into the (4-A) playoffs, do some damage and be playing football in November."
The Royals' last state playoff appearance came in 2007.
"The way we looked at it, beating (state 4-A runner-up) Mountain Crest (39-27 on Sept. 13) was an upset," said Roy defensive coordinator Eric Jones, who spent four years at Syracuse starting in 2007 when the school opened.
"Region 5 always runs through Cache Valley, and if you want a shot you have to go through them," he said. "We haven't proven ourselves yet or played a complete game. We have had glimpses of brilliance, and really good teams play for four quarters and not just three."
That's where the Royals' depth becomes an issue with just 65 players in the program.
"We have 7-8 guys getting reps on both sides of the ball," Jones said. "We're paper thin. It's a house of cards for us; pull the wrong one and it could be over.
"We're getting great effort out of the kids, but people don't realize how young we are," he said. "We have four seniors who play defense and only 3-4 on offense, so we're really junior heavy.
"Our starters are fantastic, and it's our lack of depth that has hurt us at times," Jones said. "We have to staff our special teams with back-ups. We would like to play our best kids on special teams, but we can't. Some of them are playing over 100 snaps and it's our best kids.
"I thought we would have more kids in the program and that has been disappointing," he said. "But the support from the school administration and the community has been wonderful."
Jones says it would be a program changer for Roy to upend the Grizzlies.
"This is what you get into coaching for, to prove yourself against the state's best teams," he said. "I love seeing my (4-3) defense play well, and I would like to see us get off to a fast (27-0) start like we did against Mountain Crest.
"If we do that, it will make Logan more pass heavy and one-dimensional," Jones said. "Any time we get three or more turnovers is a big plus, and obviously containing (Chase) Nelson is our number one priority. He is a basically a running back playing quarterback."
Nelson, whose older brothers Riley and DJ were starting quarterbacks on Grizzlies' state championship teams, has thrown for 12 touchdowns with five picks and rushed for 248 yards and two touchdowns.
"Logan is always tough to game plan for, and even more so with a Nelson," Jones said. "Nelson is so good on his feet; you have to defend the whole field.
"You can't be static against Logan and standing around," he said. "They wait for you to show your hand and then call a play to exploit that. Our number two priority is defending the deep ball. Nelson will dink and dunk teams and then throw the home run on you.
"Our skill kids match theirs," Jones said. "They have the height and weight on us, so the game will be decided up front and by our ability to contain Nelson. We got pushed around last year (in a 30-23 road loss)."
Contact reporter Dennis Larsen at 801-625-4264, email@example.com.