By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
Most of the viewers watching Sunday’s NFL game pitting the Cincinnati Bengals against the Kansas City Chiefs haven’t had Cincinnati linebacker Logan Wilson as an overnight guest.
Rep. Steve Harshman, R-Casper, however, can make that claim.
Harshman, a teacher and football coach at Natrona County High School, has known Wilson since he was in third grade and coached him in both flag and regular football during his younger years.
After Sunday’s football game, when the Bengals defeated the Chiefs 27-24, Wilson is heading to play in the Super Bowl on Feb. 13 against the Los Angeles Rams.
“I was just so happy for Logan and his family after the game, and really everybody who has been on this journey with him,” Harshman said. “It put a big old smile on my face. It was honestly just a great game all around, another one that just comes down to overtime.”
Harshman said Wilson’s family moved to Casper from Cody the linebacker was a young boy. The Wilson family already knew Harshman’s wife, Becky, from the Spearfish, South Dakota, making the transition somewhat easier.
Plus, the Harshmans have a son who is Logan’s age, and the two became fast friends.
“At that time, my son and his group of friends were just football crazy. That’s all they would do is play football at recess,” Harshman said. “They got Logan in the group, and he was more of a soccer kid at the time. But then they got him involved, and soon they were all playing football.”
Harshman coached the group of friends in flag football when they were in third and fourth grade, then went on to coach them in their first tackle football team as fifth and sixth graders.
Although he didn’t coach them during junior high, Wilson and the group were back under Harshman’s guidance once they got into high school.
“At one point, Logan was our punter, kicker, receiver and defensive back and was all-state in all four positions. I’d never seen that before,” Harshman said. “When they were seniors, those boys won the state football championship, the state basketball championship and won in indoor and outdoor track. Logan was a three-sport kid all the way through high school.”
Harshman credits Wilson’s success in football to his dedication, hard work and practice, as well as avoiding distractions.
“Everybody wants to win four state titles, but does everybody want to do the work that it takes? And it takes years and years of unseen work,” Harshman said. “Logan definitely had ups and downs. But he’s a good and loyal guy, and he deserves everything he gets.”
Despite the success, Wilson has no plans to let Wyoming go. Harshman noted the young football player bought a house in Casper and lives there during the off-season.
Wilson recently wore thigh pads bearing the Wyoming flag during a football game to share his home state pride.