SANDY — For much of the high school football season, Jordan High quarterback McCoy Hill has been the king of 5A passing.
At halftime of his team's 35-28 win over Brighton on Friday night, he was named homecoming king. In the second half of his team's victory, he earned another royal title: king of redemption.
Hill shook off two fumbles in the third quarter to direct the game-winning drive for the Beetdiggers late in the game. Hill made plays with his arm and legs on the Beetdiggers' final possession, and scored on a 6-yard run with 57.8 seconds remaining to clinch a playoff berth.
The Beetdiggers earned a chance to play Davis in the first round of the 5A playoffs. Brighton, meanwhile, will play Pleasant Grove in a play-in game on Tuesday.
Hill helped make Jordan's playoff berth possible, as he threw for 263 yards, rushed for 162 and accounted for four touchdowns. He committed four total turnovers, but erased any bad feelings about his performance with his go-ahead score.
"I just made some mistakes in the third quarter that I can't afford to make," Hill said. "I let my teammates down but had a chance to redeem myself in the fourth quarter. I'm really happy I got that chance."
Beetdiggers coach Eric Kjar was equally as happy with the final result but frustrated with the turnovers.
"He bounced back — I still want to kill him, but yeah, he bounced back," Kjar jokingly said. "He plays hard. He's a stud. He's a great player. He's come a long way in the passing game. He's got the passing game dialed in."
While Hill led the way for Jordan's offense, it was Taylor Frenchwood who made key plays for the Beetdiggers' defense. On Brighton's final play from scrimmage in Jordan territory, Frenchwood sacked Bengal quarterback Derek Newell to end the game.
"I didn't even know I was there," Frenchwood said. "I made a spin move and the quarterback fell right it in my hands."
Frenchwood had seven total tackles and two sacks. He helped turn the game's momentum in Jordan's favor early in the contest. Brighton drove inside the Beetdiggers' 10 on its opening possession, but on third down from the 3-yard line Frenchwood put a big hit on Bengal running back Brayden El Bakri. That play forced the Bengals to attempt a field goal on fourth down. Brighton botched the snap, and Taylor Loomis intercepted a desperation pass in the end zone.
Kjar was thrilled to see Frenchwood have a clutch performance.
"Frenchwood is a stud," he said. "I love that kid. He's got a great personality. It's so good to have him in the program."
The Beetdiggers never trailed Brighton, but they had some tense moments in the second half. The Bengals tied the game at 21-21 after taking advantage of two of Hill's turnovers when Newell scored on two 1-yard runs. Brighton answered a scoring run by Hill with a 2-yard touchdown pass from Newell to El Bakri.
Brighton had one possession in the fourth quarter with the game tied, but Jordan's defense made a stop.
"That's a big win for us," Hill said. "High school football is all about peaking at the right time for the playoffs. I feel like we're capable of anything. We just got to play as a team a little better."