DENVER — They shared plenty of sleepless red-eye flights and, for five years, a broadcasting booth.
But on Saturday, former Broncos wide receivers Dave Logan and Ed McCaffrey will be pitted against one another as Logan's Cherry Creek Bruins meet McCaffrey's Valor Christian Eagles at Broncos Stadium at Mile High with the CHSAA Class 5A state championship on the line.
The path the two coaches have taken to get to this point couldn't be more different, though. Logan will be making his 11th Class 5A championship appearance and vying for his eighth state title at that level.
McCaffrey, on the other hand, is in his first year of coaching. And he might not have even gotten into coaching had it not been for some advice from Logan in the first place.
"Dave was one of the big influences that caused me to apply for the job to begin with," McCaffrey said Tuesday. "We talked a lot about it, and he knew it was a passion of mine, he knew it’s what I love to do, and he knew I wanted to serve in some capacity as a coach. An opportunity became available, and I leaned on him a little bit before I made that decision. [Our] friendship’s still very strong, and it’s a real honor to be able to coach against him in the state championship."
One of the things Logan stressed to McCaffrey was the investment a high school football coach must make in order for it to be a worthwhile endeavor both for himself and his players.
"What I tried to impart to him was, ‘If you’re going to do this the right way, there is a considerable time commitment,'" Logan said Tuesday. "'This is not something that you can show up to school at 2:45 and roll out to practice at 3:00 — not if you’re doing it for the right reasons. If you’re willing to commit that kind of time, and you have the ability to commit that kind of time, and you’re passionate about it, and you want to mentor young guys and hopefully teach them a few life lessons as well as football skills and hopefully win a few games, then high school football is the right thing.'"
McCaffrey took that message to heart, and Logan was one of the first people he called when the Valor Christian opening became available.
"He’s a good man, he loves football and he loves kids," Logan said. "I said, ‘You should go for it.'"
Though Logan has over two decades' worth of high school coaching experience and McCaffrey is in just his first year, they both take the same approach to leading their high-schoolers.
"We’re in it for the right reasons," McCaffrey said. "We’re in it to serve and hopefully make a difference in the lives of the young men we’re blessed to coach. The real goal is to have a positive influence over their lives through the sport of football, but it transcends football. Hopefully that carries into the classroom and at home and in life."
Saturday's games — Skyline and Loveland face off in the 4A championship before the Cherry Creek vs. Valor Christian clash — will serve as the 14th consecutive year Broncos Stadium at Mile High has hosted high school championship games. It's a vision that started with Broncos Owner Pat Bowlen and Chief Commercial Officer Mac Freeman.
"This was a dream of Mac’s and Mr. Bowlen’s to host the high school championship games," Colorado Sports Hall of Fame President and CEO Tom Lawrence said. "I’ll tell you, for our Hall of Fame board … it fits our mission of supporting youth sports, and I think you’d all agree, this is the place you want to play. This is where your heroes have played, and you’re going to be right where they have created some great memories. … We could not do this without the Denver Broncos organization."
Though the stadium has served as a second home at times for McCaffrey and Logan, for their players, Saturday will be a completely new experience, one they may never have again. Logan said he'll make sure his players aren't overwhelmed by the atmosphere but still appreciate it.
"It’s not just another game, but it is played on the same playing field we’ve been on," Logan said. "It’s a different stadium, different look, different feel. I want them to soak this up, because for most of them, they’ll never get [another] chance to play football in an NFL stadium. So I think it’s really a cool opportunity for my kids and the rest of the players down here."