High school football: Jordan 'Diggers pound out victory against Alta Hawks
Box Score: Jordan 36, Alta 24
SANDY — Jordan's game plan heading into Friday's 5A showdown with neighboring Alta was a pretty simple one, pound the football for four quarters. It wasn't going to deviate from that philosophy until the Hawks proved they could stop it.
They never did.
The 'Diggers all but abandoned the pass on Friday night, rushing for 331 yards on 56 carries to snap a six-game losing streak to Alta with a convincing 36-24 victory in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown in 5A.
Despite spotting Alta the 14-0 lead in the first quarter, Jordan never swayed from its game plan and let its dominant offensive line take care of business the rest of the way.
"They jumped on us early a little bit, but the kids just kept working at it and just kept plugging away," said Jordan coach Eric Kjar. "We did a good job up front which paved the way for our running game, which we used a lot tonight, and we'll continue to use."
Jordan star quarterback Austin Kafentzis only attempted 15 passes, but he was still very busy, carrying the ball 32 times for 161 yards.
His backfield mate, Clay Moss, was even more productive, carrying the ball 17 times for 114 yards and four touchdowns.
"Our offensive line just dominated the whole game. They ran out of juice and we took advantage of it. We just played our game and played our hearts out," said Kafentzis.
Even though the legs of Kafentzis and Moss did most of the damage, Kafentzis still came up with some big plays to remind everyone why he's one of the best quarterbacks in Utah — and he did so with several BYU coaches on hand to watch.
In a game where the momentum seemed to ebb and flow with every position, Alta came up big early in the fourth quarter when Chipper Lucero connected with Ammon Barker on a 7-yard touchdown strike to cut Jordan's lead to 29-24.
Kafentzis had a big-time response. He led Jordan on a nine-play scoring drive as he completed all five passes attempts for 67 yards, capped by a 9-yard fourth-down touchdown pass to Nick West, increase the lead to 36-24 with 7:04 remaining.
Earlier in the drive he completed a 22-yard pass to Mason Krueger despite an Alta lineman dragging him to the ground.
"He's a freak athlete. He's fun to have," said Kjar.
With the two possession lead, Jordan's defense came up with a big fourth-down stop and then forced a fumble to ice the game in the final seven minutes.
It was a stark contrast to the start of the game, when Alta's offense was moving the ball effortlessly.
After spotting an opponent a multiple-TD lead for the second straight week, Jordan came storming back, scoring 20 straight points on three Clay Moss touchdowns to take a 20-17 lead into halftime.
Jordan's defense did a much better job corralling Lucero in the second half, getting pressure on him multiple times and recording three sacks.
"Defense played well. After the initial 14 points they really hunkered down and took care of business," said Kjar.
The junior still had a fantastic game completing 29 of 43 for 372 yards and three touchdowns.