MAYVILLE — Walking through the halls of Mayville High School, senior Dylun Logston is recognized by many of his peers differently now than he was a few months ago.
His first three years, he was just a tall, lanky kid who minded his own business. But this year, he decided to give football a try.
And it couldn’t have gone any better.
Logstun dominated the gridiron, leading the Cardinals with 62 total tackles, nine tackles for loss, eight sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries — all stats that helped Mayville to a 6-5 overall record and its first postseason win since finishing as the WIAA Division 4 state runner-up in 2006.
It was a season to remember for Logstun, who’s been chosen as the Daily Citizen’s 2018 All-Area Most Outstanding Defensive Player.
But his success has extended beyond the football field and into all areas of his life, where newfound confidence has allowed him to blossom into a leader among his peers.
“It’s changed him for the better. If kids are thinking about playing sports, they should look at what it’s done for a kid like Dylun Logston,” said Mayville coach Tom Noennig, who is also the school’s athletic director and dean of students. “He’s really transformed from a shy, introverted young boy and he’s now a very confident young man. It’s benefited him academically — he’s not in my office as a dean of students very often, if ever, so that’s been a great change.
“When you look at how football gets a bad rep in society about this, that and the other thing, this is a reason why we coach high school football and why we have high school football. It’s for the development of young men like Dylun.”
Logston may have been an unknown when the season began, but he was anything but by the time it ended. When Noennig was pitching Logston as a first team All-Flyway Conference defensive end to the rest of the coaches in the league, legendary Fond du Lac St. Mary’s Springs coach Bob Hyland interrupted him to say, “He was the only kid in conference that pissed me off.”
That’s because in Mayville’s 20-3 defeat to the eventual WIAA Division 5 state champions in Week 8, Logston racked up six tackles, a game-high three sacks and a forced fumble. When the two teams were shaking hands at midfield after the game, Logston recalled he got goosebumps when Hyland — the state’s all-time winningest coach whose teams have claimed 16 state titles in a career closing in on 50 years — stopped him and said, “You destroyed us.”
“I said, ‘Thank you very much.’ I felt so happy afterwards, too,” Logston said.
Noennig didn’t have to argue too strongly for Logston. Hyland did most of the work, and Logston was a unanimous first-team all-conference selection.
“Our team mirrored his success as a player,” said Noennig, whose Cards started out 1-3 before catching fire and finishing 5-2. “Early in the year, he wasn’t an all-conference player. He started getting better and he started playing better. And everything fell into place. It’s really neat that how the team went is almost exactly how Dylun went.”
Early in the season, Logston was like a wide-eyed pup trying to survive — and the reason is because at 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, technique for him is more important than some others on the defensive line who can rely more on brute strength.
“The thing with Dylun, earlier in the year, fundamentally he really had no clue,” Noennig said. “By about the third week, that’s when he started to get it. Each week from that Lomira game on (a 29-13 Week 3 win for Mayville), he just got better and better.”
In that win over the Lions, Logston finished with six tackles, a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery.
“I feel like the Lomira game was definitely the one where I was like, ‘I didn’t know what I was doing, but I got past the line every time and just figured out some way to get to the ball every play,’” he said.
It was right about that time Logston said he was learning a multitude of techniques to win one-on-one battles at the line of scrimmage. In Week 1 against Campbellsport, Logston said that was when he figured he could use his speed — he had a 40-yard dash time of 4.49 seconds in preseason testing — and leverage around much bigger players instead of trying to bull rush past.
And his techniques just got better and better as the season wore on.
“I feel like after different plays and getting to the backs, I realized, ‘Wow, I can actually do something,’” Logston said. “I just kept figuring out different ways (to attack) and move myself around. I feel like the coaches definitely helped me out and pointed me to where I’m most effective.”
How quickly Logstun picked up the nuances of his position, not just enough to get by but rather to excel, is perhaps the most impressive thing about the senior’s season.
“Had he been playing for a bunch of years, it would’ve been (automatic),” Noennig said. “I can only imagine how good he would’ve been had he played for another year, two more years or three more years.”
That’s the only regret Logston has about his high school career is that he wished he listened to his dad as a freshman when his dad implored him to go out for football.
“He told me about his experience playing football and he was like, ‘There’s nothing else like this and you get to be a part of something that’s more than yourself, and you go through a lot with your teammates,’” Logston said. “It sounded good to me and I wanted to try and contribute to something bigger than myself for once.
“I enjoyed every second of it, except for those long practices.”
Now it’s given him a chance to play college football — something he never thought was possible before his senior year began.
“This is the first time anybody has ever talked to him about going to college because there’s potential to play college football,” Noennig said, adding that UW-Oshkosh as well as some other NCAA Division II and Division III schools have expressed interest in Logstun.
The whole process — going out for football, thriving in year one after not knowing what to expect, and now possibly continuing on to play in college — has done wonders for Logstun’s outlook on life.
“It made me a lot more happier knowing that I have people there for me no matter what,” Logston said.
“Before, I was kind of — I didn’t really want to be in anything. I was kind of what you would say a loner, but me joining a team like this, I found a place with the rest of my brothers on the team. We’ve been closer than ever in my high school career.”