High school football: Beehive Classic fallout spawns marquee matchup for No. 1 East, No. 3 Jordan
No. 1 East, No. 3 Jordan clash after Beehive Classic sputters
Tom Smart, Deseret News archives
You'll have to forgive Jordan's B.J. Cavendar for not being broken hearted about the Beehive Classic falling apart late last week.
"I'm so excited to play East, you have no idea," said Cavendar.
Sure, playing a team from California would've been a unique opportunity for the Beetdiggers, but it's hard to argue that the alternative isn't exponentially better.
"Two top teams in Utah going at it, who doesn't want that?" said Cavendar.
East was supposed to play Serra, Calif., and Jordan was supposed to play Long Beach Poly, Calif., as part of a tripleheader at Bingham High School this Saturday. The nightcap, Bingham vs. Valor Christian, Colo., is still on tap, but the two California teams backed out when the promised means of transportation to Utah fell apart.
With Week 3 vacancies in their respective schedules, it was a no-brainer for No. 1 East and No. 3 Jordan to play each other and it's a game high school fans have been talking about all week.
"If you're going to lose a game that helps get national attention which is always good for your program, this is the kind of game you want in its place," said East coach Brandon Matich. "I'll be honest, our kids are more excited for this game than they ever were for Serra."
A week after Bingham and Alta played another classic game at Rice-Eccles Stadium, this Friday's game at East has the potential to top it.
Led by sophomore sensation quarterback Austin Kafentzis, Jordan rolls into the showdown with the highest-scoring offense in the state at 54.5 ppg. East, meanwhile, has only allowed 4.5 ppg this season.
It's by no means a one-way street. Jordan's defense is one of the best in 5A, while East is the highest-scoring offense in 4A through two weeks.
"I think they're real good on both sides of the ball, and I think we're good on both sides of the ball," said Jordan coach Eric Kjar. "I just think it's going to come down to playing good all the way around. I don't think it's going to be our offense vs. defense by any means, I think it could actually be the opposite."
Coach Matich believes the contrast in styles is what's most intriguing. Jordan's a spread offense team while East runs the flexbone offense, and both run their respective offenses as well as anyone in Utah.
In scouting Jordan on film, Matich was continually impressed by Kafentzis' dual-threat abilities at QB and knows he's the key to the game. If given time, he can pick apart a secondary, but if you give him running lanes he can easily rush for over 200 yards.
"He's a dangerous player, as dangerous player as I've ever coached against," said Matich. "Austin is a physical, tough runner. He takes shots and he breaks tackles. He's imposing, He's put together well. We have our work cut out for us."
Many believe Jordan has the best offensive line in the state, while the same goes for East's defensive line. The battle in the trenches could be epic.
The Jordan at East showdown is one of numerous marquee top-25 matchups scheduled for Friday night. Others include: No. 4 Syracuse at No. 17 Riverton, No. 6 Bountiful at No. 15 Logan, No. 9 Brighton at No. 23 Sky View, No. 10 Timpview at No. 12 Lone Peak, No. 13 Mountain Crest at No. 11 Woods Cross, No. 14 Highland at No. 19 Herriman.