High school football: Jordan Beetdigger running backs' Vaituu, Carter bury Brighton
SANDY — Once again, the Jordan Beetdiggers got off to a slow start. And once again, it didn't matter by the time the game had wrapped up. After being down 14-0 early to the Brighton Bengals, the Diggers stormed back decisively en route to a 42-14 win Friday night.
"I don't know what's going on with the slow starts, it's just driving us crazy," Jordan coach Eric Kjar said. "The kids just put it together and did what they were supposed to do."
The Beetdiggers have dug themselves into holes against Alta, Cottonwood and Kearns, only to emerge with a victory each time. On Friday, Jordan scored 42 unanswered points against the Bengals, including three touchdowns in just over three minutes in the third quarter, to clinch at least a share of the Region 3 championship.
Star quarterback Austin Kafentzis led the Beetdiggers' effort with 187 yards and three touchdowns. His play was complemented by running backs Jerome Bettis Vaituu (two touchdowns) and Dezmond Carter (125 yards rushing) and a stout offensive line.
"I can always trust our line. They've put in the work, and we're showing it now," Kafentzis said. "Dez Carter stepped up. Spencer Totsch stepped up at left tackle. It was just a phenomenal game."
Several penalties along the offensive line, though, were just one of the reasons for the Diggers' slow start. A shotgun snap sailed over Kafentzis' head, turning a first-and-goal from the four into a second-and-goal from the 30. Forcing a turnover on downs, Brighton pulled out a seven minute drive capped by a short touchdown run by Osa Masina. The field goal would be blocked, but the lead stood at 6-0 as the second quarter was under way.
Southerly winds and rain blew Brighton's kickoff away from the Jordan returners, who were unable to get near the ball. The Bengals recovered, then went up 14-0 on a Masina run and two-point conversion.
The Beetdiggers would finally get on the board with a Kafentzis touchdown just before halftime. Brighton would drive, only to see a long field goal attempt blocked by Vaituu. In total, the Bengals' running game kept Jordan's offense off the field, limiting them to just three first-half possessions.
But the third quarter is where favor would turn in Jordan's direction.
Tyler Swan returned a Brigton punt to the Brighton 33 early in the third.
Five plays later, Carter was in the end zone after a 10-yard scamper.
The kickoff again flew high into the wind, only to be fumbled by the returner and recovered by Jordan's Christian Shaver at the 2. Kafentzis snuck the ball in on the next play, giving the Diggers two touchdowns in 15 seconds and a 21-14 lead.
Minutes later, Jordan again capitalized with a 74-yard touchdown run by Kafentzis. That made three touchdowns in just 3:30 of game play, and the Beetdiggers solidly in control 27-14 after a failed PAT. Vaituu would punch in two more touchdowns to capitalize on a stalling Bengals offense for the eventual 42-14 margin.
Jordan, the top ranked team in the state, moves to 7-1 on the season before traveling to West Jordan on Wednesday. Brighton (6-3) plays at Copper Hills that same night.