In the fall of 2018, no one knew just how fun a time it was going to be in Logan, Utah, for the next four months.
On that same token, not everyone was prepared for how disappointing things would be the year after.
As a former student of Utah State University, and an avid fan of the Aggies, the 2018 college football season was an absolute blast as I got to watch junior quarterback Jordan Love incinerate nearly every defensive unit in the Mountain West Conference. Nearly. (You know what you did, Boise State…)
By the conclusion of an 11-2 season, a Top-15 finish in the Associated Press poll and sporting a two-year streak in the rivalry with reviled BYU, we Aggie fans were beyond stoked to see what kind of step forward our team would take next year.
What we got in 2019 was a 7-6 season, a loss to the Cougars, getting smashed in a bowl game and a season full of just…“meh.” As a professional journalist (going on seven years now), objectivity is the goal, but as a small-town high school sports reporter, it’s impossible not to become a fan of the teams I cover and the coaches I talk to nearly every single week.
In my observance of North Sanpete football since 2020, I’ve thought a lot about those Aggies.
The similarities are uncanny: A phenomenal junior quarterback led an offense full of talented skill players, torched other teams on offense and came just short of the conference (region) title because of a game that was marred by a plague. (In the Hawks’ case, it was COVID-19, a sickness that blighted all of humanity. In USU’s case, it was Boise State’s blue turf, a sickness that still blights all of humanity.)
North Sanpete/USU followed up that great year with high expectations for a senior quarterback who didn’t have nearly as talented receivers to work with as the year before. Ultimately, those high expectations were not realized and the team took a massive step backward into mediocrity.
By the year after that, it was really difficult to tell what the Hawks’/Aggies’ next step was.
This is a very important season for North Sanpete, and not because there a championship to contend for or that expectations are in the clouds like they’ve been in recent years.
It’s years like this where a coach and his players learn to face the storm. They either commit to riding the waves or drown in the sea. Fans of college football know what happened to Utah State in 2020, and it wasn’t pretty. For North Sanpete, last week’s loss to Payson hinted at a much more challenging season.
To say the schedule for the Hawks this season is grueling is an understatement, but if approached the right way, these games will strengthen them and carry them, and they’ll be back soon enough.
Utah State did, in fact, make us Aggie fans pretty happy in the end.