A senior basketball star trying out for the football team is probably a common occurrence throughout high school sports.
But the story of Corona Centennial’s Sami Logan is not.
Sami — you may have figured out by the spelling — is a girl . She joined the football team hoping to become the first female to throw a touchdown pass in California to honor her mother, Donna, who died of breast cancer in 2007 after a four-year fight.
“I just think it’s awesome,” Sami said, “I know she’s looking down smiling and she’s very happy and proud of us.”
Sami’s father, Matt, has served as Corona Centennial’s head football coach for the past 16 years.
“Sami has been involved with the football team since she was 3-years-old,” Matt said, “So it’s something that she always kind of talked about and wanted to just play football.
“She had done really well in a powder puff game and threw with our size ball — I was shocked how well she could throw [it] last spring. As the season started, she said, ‘Dad I think I really want to play.’”
Sami is no slouch to competition. A standout athlete and three-year varsity letter winner, she has committed to play basketball at Cal State Fullerton. She averaged 7.9 points, 9.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.2 steals per game as a junior at Centennial. Last season she led the team in rebounds per game and total rebounds (240). She helped lead the Huskies to a CIF Division-I playoff berth her sophomore and junior campaigns, including a quarterfinal appearance two seasons ago.
Cal State Fullerton head coach Marcia Foster had nothing but good things to say about the part-time signal caller.
“Samantha Logan is toughness personified,” Foster said in a written statement. “She’s versatile, she can handle the ball, rebound; she’s just always around the ball. She is coming from a program that’s had a lot of Division-I players. Just a tough-nosed guard who can do a lot of things with the basketball.”
Sami, who felt confident after her powder puff experience and being around the high school team for so long, was persistent about wanting to play.
“She kept bugging me about it and I just let her talk and finally she said, ‘I really want to do this,’ so we started thinking about it,” coach Logan said. “We thought, well a perfect time to do it (was) in October for Breast Cancer Awareness month and the particular game we picked was our Pink-Out game.”
To be eligible to play, Sami had to suit up for two weeks of full-pad practice. Sami and her dad worked together on three pass plays and one running play.
“Before the game I have position meetings and talked to her, and went over her stuff for her specifically,” her father said. “It was funny, she knew the answers and was ready to go.”
She trotted out on the field to make her debut against Eastvale Roosevelt (Calif.) on Oct. 26. Senior wide receiver Jordan Dye, who had also lost his mother to breast cancer, was intended to be part of the play drawn up by coach Logan.
On her first snap, Sami fired a pass out of the shotgun formation and connected with Dye for an 18-yard gain. She didn’t throw a touchdown, but the Huskies eventually won 58-14.
“I wasn’t nervous for her safety,” her father said. “I was confident that she would do the right thing and she had the protection to do some different stuff. She looked like she had been doing it for a long time. It was funny.”
Coach Logan explained to his team the details of the tribute play after the game.
“I told the team after the game and they understood,” Logan said. “It was a nice way (for Sami and Jordan) to honor their moms, and they all clapped.”
Two weeks later, Sami saw the field again in the Huskies’ first-round playoff game against Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos. The senior signal caller completed another pass to Dye for 24 yards in the second half of a 47-21 Huskies win.
The Huskies face Upland Friday, Nov. 23, in the CIF Southern Section semifinals, but Sami will not suit up as basketball season has started. On the season, Sami completed 2-of-4 passes for 42 yards, but did not get in the end zone.
But Sami and her father are not disappointed.
“The way it played out in the breast cancer game,” coach Logan said, “it meant a lot more than a female throwing a touchdown pass.”