Oct. 23—MANKATO — Logan Swanson graduated from Mankato East in 2016, one year before Desmond Bassett.
They played together on the East football team for three seasons before Swanson went off to Augustana, and a year later, Bassett went to Concordia-St. Paul.
They'll meet again Saturday when Augustana (6-1) takes on Minnesota State (5-2) at 1 p.m. at Blakeslee Stadium in an important Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference game. Augustana is rated No. 14 in one national poll, No. 22 in the other. Minnesota State is ranked No. 23 in the D2football.com poll.
"It's nice to see other East football players having success at college," Swanson said.
Swanson and Bassett were friends at East, though Swanson is a year older. Swanson, who was recruited to Augustana after graduating in 2016, participated in football and was a state-champion wrestler at East. Bassett played football and ran track until graduating in 2017.
They talk on occasion in the summers but not much during the season as each player has enough to think about with football and school.
"I don't like to talk much before games," Bassett said. "He was a leader (at East), very positive. He was always doing the right thing, on and off the field. I know he's had a lot of success. (Augustana) was a good fit for him."
Swanson, a 6-foot-3, 310-pound defensive tackle, was an All-Northern Sun selection in 2019 after tying the Augustana record with eight sacks. He was named to the D2Football.com Preseason All-America Team.
So far, he has 16 tackles, with 1.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss, helping the Vikings lead the Northern Sun in defensive scoring at 19.0 points per game.
"This is definitely an important game for our program," said Swanson, who already has enough credits for his secondary education major but is working on his minors in this final semester. "But it's also just another team that we need to beat to accomplish our goals. It just so happens that it's my hometown team."
Bassett, a safety/linebacker, played two seasons at Concordia-St. Paul, playing in 22 games and starting 19.
In 2019, he made 50 tackles with four pass breakups. He earned his undergraduate degree at Concordia-St. Paul, then transferred to Coastal Carolina before returning to Minnesota State.
Bassett has made 17 tackles, with 2 tackles for loss and one sack. He still has one season of eligibility remaining as he works on a Master's degree in education leadership.
"There has been some frustration because I know we have a very good team, and I don't think our record reflects the talent we have," Bassett said.
Swanson and Bassett have already played against each other. In 2018, Augustana won 52-24 at St. Paul, with Swanson making three tackles and Bassett getting seven. In 2019, Augustana won 21-20 at Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with Swanson getting two tackles and Bassett making four. Each had played games at Blakeslee Stadium, but this will be the first time both have played together at the stadium since the 2016 Jug game.
Swanson said he might look for Bassett on the field before the game, and they'll certainly look for each other when it's over. Swanson said he expects to have between 50 and 100 family members, friends and former coaches supporting him at Blakeslee Stadium, while Bassett will have his usual support from the home crowd.
"I'm sure after the game, the moms are going to want to get a picture on the field," Swanson said. "I think it's great to see anyone who is representing Mankato football, East or West. It's still something that is part of me."
Follow Chad Courrier on Twitter @ChadCourrier.