Hello, My Name Is: Logan Hanson and Denzel Sutton

Thorp’s one-two punch in the backfield helped guide Thorp to their first state championship appearance since 1994
Hello, My Name Is: Logan Hanson and Denzel Sutton
Published: Nov. 13, 2023 at 10:45 PM CST
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THORP, Wis. (WSAW) - Good football backfields are sometimes referred to as ‘thunder and lightning;’ two complimentary runners that bring the physicality and speed. For Thorp’s Denzel Sutton and Logan Hanson, they fit the ‘thunder and lightning’ mantra as they’re each capable of bringing both on any given run.

“We get along really well on and off the field and we just support each other on and off the field,” said Hanson. “We really just compliment each other’s game.”

Both seniors, Sutton plays quarterback while Hanson occupies the running back position. This past season, Hanson rushed for 1,610 yards. Sutton rushed for 1,178 while throwing for 1,823. The dynamic duo helped take Thorp to the eight-player playoffs, their first year eligible in the eight-player division.

“We knew we could take it play by play,” said Sutton. “In the playoffs, it’s win or go home so we knew we had to bring it.”

The Cardinals stormed through the playoffs, first beating Owen-Withee 28-21 before upending top-seed and undefeated Gilman 24-20. To make the state title game, the Cardinals unseated McDonell Catholic 16-13. Both the final two games were on the road, while every game was decided by a single score. It was a run that said a lot about the character of the team.

“It says a lot about our team, saying that we never give up and that we always find a way through no matter what,” said Hanson.

The Gilman and McDonell games were both revenge games for Thorp. The Cardinals lost to both those teams in the regular season. However, having already faced both opponents was an advantage for the inspired bunch.

“It was something we were looking forward to, specifically because we knew we could clean up some things from our previous losses,” said Sutton. “To see them on our schedule again was a blessing.”

The games both were close, but the Cardinals stepped up to the plate. Hanson said the team loved the win-or-go-home atmosphere in the revenge games.

“It’s just way more intense the second time around,” said Hanson. “You lost to them one time. You don’t want it to happen again so everyone’s just really locked in and honing in on what you have to do.”

Thorp’s win over McDonell put the Cardinals in the state title game for the first time since 1994. To represent the Thorp community as a whole was an honor that Sutton didn’t take lightly.

“It means a lot to bring the community closer and us guys, we’ve been together for a couple of years,” said Sutton. “It’s what you always dream of as a kid.”

Thorp matched up with Florence in the eight-player state championship on Saturday. In a back-and-forth game, the Cardinals fell 32-30. Sutton played a phenomenal game, throwing for 220 yards and two touchdowns, while running for 141 yards and another two touchdowns. Hanson reeled in one of those touchdowns, while also rushing for 77 yards. It wasn’t the result the team hoped for, but Sutton is thankful for the group he got to grow close with.

“We’re really connected you know?” said Sutton. “I could go find a guy and have a conversation with him, doesn’t matter if he’s a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior, we’re all connected, no cliques.”

Part of the close connection is thanks to head coach KD Stokes. Both Sutton and Hanson agree that Stokes has done wonders for making this team feel whole.

“I want to give credit to KD especially,” said Sutton. “He’s always there. When we’re down, he’s always there, picking us up no matter what.”

After the state title game, Stokes expressed the same feeling, saying it was sad he’d never get to coach the group of seniors again that helped Thorp secure just their second-ever silver ball. The sense of community certainly was felt throughout the team, especially through Sutton and Hanson.

“Definitely going to remember just how well we bond together,” said Hanson. “There’s no cliques. Anyone can be with anyone. It’s just really special.”