LAYTON — OK, so their school mascot won't strike fear in the hearts of too many opponents. After all, let's face it, it's pretty tough to make a sugar beet look very menacing.
And some of their star players' names are, shall we say, somewhat challenging to spell.
But boy, these Jordan Beetdiggers can play some football.
Freshman quarterback Austin Kafentzis threw for 340 yards and two touchdowns, scored another time on the ground, and the Gajkowski brothers — Mason and Baron — accounted for two TDs apiece as Jordan rolled past a turnover-plagued Layton team 35-14 on Friday night.
Kafentzis, who plays with a savvy calmness far beyond his years, completed 23-of-42 passes, including touchdown tosses of 37 and 38 yards to senior wide receiver Mason Gajkowski. Younger brother Baron Gajkowski, a sophomore running back, had two touchdowns of his own on runs of 21 and 6 yards, and Kafentzis also had a 1-yard TD plunge as the 'Diggers ran their preseason record to 2-0.
"I was proud of Austin. I thought he played a great first half," said Jordan coach Eric Kjar, whose team built a 21-0 halftime lead, got bogged down in the third quarter and then withstood Layton's late rally before putting the game away. "He does a good job.
"What he probably does the best job of is he stays pretty even-keel. He doesn't get too up or too down. I've never seen him really get mad yet and I haven't seen him really get too happy yet, either. So I love that in a quarterback. That's the best way you can have them. He just stays real calm.
"I thought he did a really good job of delivering some accurate passes and gave our guys a chance to run, and our receivers did a good job of making plays," Kjar continued. "Mason had a couple of incredible plays. I was really happy with how well he played and I'm really happy for him because he has worked real hard. And Baron did a good job playing running back and had a couple of scores, too."
Junior running back Willie Uasilaa scored both Layton touchdowns during a valiant fourth-quarter comeback bid. One came on a 7-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Hunter Evans — who was pressed into service after senior starting QB Tevita Uasilaa got his bell rung late in the first half — and the other on a 16-yard run.
Those two scores cut Jordan's lead to 21-14 with 8:28 remaining to play.
But the Beetdiggers regrouped, as Mason Gajkewski slipped free from a Layton tackler and went 38 yards down the sidelines for the score that made it 28-14.
Then Baron Gajkewski added his second score of the night on a 6-yard burst up the middle to put it out of reach.
"I think he's a great athlete," Mason Gajkewski said of Kafentzis, his freshman QB. "He's still kind of new to the system, but he's working it and he's doing a good job. He's really confident and is kind of the general out there.10 comments on this story
"It was a great night for the Gajkewski family. We had four (TDs) between us. ... We pride ourself on being good with the ball after the catch and making plays when we can. Our weight-training program works great and helps us with that."
Jordan also feasted on at least a half-dozen Layton turnovers, as Blake Miller and Taylor Dean each had first-half interceptions to thwart Lancer drives, and Miller, Colton Shaver and Beeny Giles came up with fumble recoveries that helped keep Layton (1-1) off the scoreboard.