Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
Jordan (8-3) at Cottonwood (10-0)
5A state tournament quarterfinal
Friday, 5 p.m.
Parry's Power Guide: Jordan by 2
All-time series: Jordan leads 3-1
Coach vs. Coach: Jordan's Eric Kjar and Cottonwoood's Josh Lyman, first meeting
Last meeting: Sept. 15, 2000 — Jordan 40, Cottonwood 20
This is the time of year when high school football teams want to be peaking, and the Jordan Beetdiggers appear to be doing just that.
Jordan has won five of its last six games and just demolished Davis, 52-7, in the first round of the 5A playoffs last week. The Beetdiggers, however, will have to continue their peak on Friday as they travel to Cottonwood for a 5A quarterfinal game.
As hot as the Beetdiggers are, you don't get any hotter than undefeated and that's what the Colts are. They overcame a sluggish start to beat Herriman, 54-24, in a first-round playoff game last week.
"They're a tough team," said Jordan quarterback McCoy Hill. "They're undefeated. We're going to do everything we can to prepare for them."
The Colts, conversely, will have to do everything they can to stop the Beetdiggers. Jordan has averaged 45.3 points per game in its last three wins, and the 52 points it scored against Davis is the most the Darts have ever allowed in a playoff game.
And no quarterback in the state has a hot hand like Hill right now.
Hill threw four touchdown passes and rushed for two more against the Darts last week. He directed a game-winning drive in the final minutes of a 35-28 win over Brighton in the Beetdiggers' season finale. The last time Jordan lost, in a 35-30 defeat against Lone Peak, Hill accounted for more than 500 yards of total offense.
"He's played great," said Jordan coach Eric Kjar. "I can't say enough good things about him. I've been lucky to have two good quarterbacks (Hill and Alex Hart) the last few years. I don't know what I did, but I'm glad I got these two guys."
Hill has been putting up quality numbers for much of the season, but his play has really improved since losses to Alta and American Fork. His completion percentage was less than 40 percent in those defeats.
"He just keeps developing and getting better," Kjar said. "He's a good kid and a great player. I'm really happy for him."
Another player who continues to develop for the Beetdiggers is receiver Blake Miller. He moved to offense from defense midway through the season and is a dangerous receiver. He caught three touchdown passes and had seven receptions for 148 yards against Davis.
"He's been waiting to have a breakout game and he's a heck of an athlete," Hill said. "They're (the Colts) going to have to do something — single coverage isn't going to work against him."
When Jordan's offense takes on Cottonwood's defense, it'll be an interesting matchup not only on the field but also on the sidelines. Kjar has worked with and against Colts defensive coordinator Ron Halbert, formerly of Alta High and Jordan High, and respects him greatly.
"I think he's a great defensive coordinator," Kjar said. "He prepares better than anyone I've ever been around. I know he'll be really prepared. I know they're a good team and a good program. We definitely respect them quite a bit. We just have to keep going to work."
Hill is confident his offense can have success if it prepares well for the Colts.
"As long as we worry about ourselves and execute what we have to execute, I think we'll be fine," he said.
The Colts advanced to the quarterfinals after trailing Herriman 15-0 in the first quarter and 18-13 at halftime. They got past the Mustangs by scoring three touchdowns apiece in the third and fourth quarters.
Jordan statistical breakdownScoring offense: 37.8 ppg
Scoring defense: 18.8 ppg
Passing leader: McCoy Hill (190-357, 53.2%, 2,941 yards, 24 TDs)
Rushing leader: McCoy Hill (184 carries, 1,030 yards, 15 TDs).
Tackles leader: Taylor Loomis (60 total tackles)
Sacks leader: Taylor Frenchwood (5 sacks)
Interceptions leader: Five players tied with one
Cottonwood statistical breakdownScoring offense: 43.8 ppg
Scoring defense: 15.0 ppg
Passing leader: Cooper Bateman (101-176 57.4%, 1,589 yards, 21 TDs)
Rushing leader: Nadan Hosea (158 carries, 1,203 yards, 14 TDs).
Receiving leader: Inoke Lotueluel (40 receptions, 713 yards, 11 TDs)
Sacks leader: Luke King (10 sacks)
Interceptions leader: Kami Sofele (4 interceptions)
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