SANDY — Freshmen aren't supposed to do this well in the Utah high school football playoffs. Austin Kafentzis clearly didn't receive the memo.
The young quarterback continued a stellar year, leading the Diggers to a 42-24 victory over the Davis Darts Friday night.
Kafentzis threw for 284 yards and two touchdowns to go with 215 yards rushing and three more scores. The performance helped Jordan overcome a pesky effort from the Darts, who rallied from a 28-3 deficit to come within four entering the fourth quarter.
"We wanted to win and left it out on the field," Kafentzis said after the game. "We kind of let up in the second quarter when we had a big lead, so we had to work our butts off to finish the win."
Nursing a 28-24 lead to begin the fourth, and with momentum clearly on the side of the Darts, Jordan quickly marched down field behind a series of big gains by Kafentzis through the air and on the ground. Two runs from Austin Grant inside the 10 led to a touchdown and 35-24 cushion. Hayden Babka then intercepted Davis quarterback Tyson Denney on the ensuing drive and returned the ball to the five. Kafentzis punched the ball in on the next play for the 42-24 margin.
"I thought our kids did a good job of regrouping through some adversity in the middle of the game," Jordan coach Eric Kjar said. "It's great for us to keep moving on and keep playing."
Jordan opened the game on fire, with three first quarter touchdowns. Davis struggled to keep its offense on the field and managed just a 25-yard field goal by Andrew Fuller. The Diggers opened the second quarter with a 34-yard Kafentzis touchdown for a 28-3 lead. The 28 points were seven more than the Darts' defense had given up in a game the entire season.
That margin forced Davis to abandon its power run game, and Denney struggled — at first. Pressure from Jordan's Babka and Braydon Wolf kept the quarterback from getting comfortable in the pocket. Backed up to their own 11 and facing a quick rush, Denney lobbed a ball over the defense to Karter Chisholm, who shed a pack of defenders for a 91-yard touchdown.
Later, the Darts were forced to punt near midfield, but the ball was ruled to have hit a Jordan player in a controversial call by the referees. Davis recovered at the 21, and it took just one play for Denney and Christiansen to connect for another score.
Late in the quarter, Jordan answered with another long drive, moving the ball deep into Davis territory. But Austin Beazer recorded just the second Davis interception of the season, picking off Kafentzis in the end zone in a major victory for the defense.