5A high school football preview: Pleasant Grove at Jordan
Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Pleasant Grove (6-4) at Jordan (8-1)
5A state tournament first round
Friday, 4 p.m.
Parry’s Power Guide: Jordan by 26
All-time series: Pleasant Grove leads 6-2
Last meeting: Sept. 1, 2011 — Jordan 32, Pleasant Grove 0
SANDY — Throughout the entire year Jordan has been far and away the most explosive team in the 5A ranks. The ‘Diggers are one of only two programs in the classification that can even make a case for the overall No.1 seed.
Offensively, the Gold Dots create a myriad of problems for opposing defenses and it all starts with sophomore quarterback Austin Kafentzis.
Under his guidance Jordan (8-1) has eclipsed the 2,000 yard mark through the air and on the ground, totaling 4,609 yards from scrimmage. The try-not-to-blink-you-might-miss-something-special offense will take center stage at Jordan High Friday against Pleasant Grove (6-4) at 4 p.m.
The Vikings, which had an opportunity to clinch the No.1 seed in Region 4 if it defeated Bingham the final week of the season, are not a typical four seed. But that doesn’t stop the team from being more than three-touchdown underdogs.
“Nobody but us expects us to come in and win. But that’s not a bad position to be in. To come in and to be care-free and say, ‘Look lets go out and play as hard as we can.’ We got to execute at a high level offensively — we got to score points,” said Pleasant Grove coach Les Hamilton. “Defensively, we got to try and create some turnovers and slow them down a little bit and hopefully get a couple plays on special teams.
“If we can do those things, we might just find ourselves with a chance late in the game to win it,” Hamilton continued. “If not, they’re going to do what they did to everybody else and blow (us) out of the water.”
Hamilton, in his first year with the Vikings, has extensive experience playing against the Beetdiggers after coaching at Alta from 2005-10. He has an overall record of 5-1, winning the last five meetings. Hamilton, however, doesn’t believe his familiarity will play to any advantage Friday.
“I don’t know if it does to be honest with you,” he said. “They’re not going to do things that we don’t know that they’re doing. They beat you because they run the ball really well. They’ve got a really good offensive line, great running back, great quarterback and if you put too many guys in the box to stop the run, they’ve got great receivers.”
Jordan does have weaknesses, though, and has notoriously started slow in the first half, having to erase deficits in games against Kearns, Alta, Cottonwood and Brighton. The ‘Diggers ultimately won those games by a combined score of 174-100.
“We got to try and keep their offense off the field and put points up early. We’ve been good at wearing teams down late in the game,” Hamilton said. “I know they're no-huddle and we’re no-huddle and it’s been successful for us. So, late in the game I feel like we’ve been in better shape than some of the teams we’ve played, hopefully that comes into play on Friday.”
The main concern, however, isn’t about starting quickly, but rather ball security. It hasn’t factored into games thus far, but Kafentzis and Co. have had a tendency to frequently coughup the pigskin.
“We have to mix our coverages. We’re going to have to bring selective pressure because if you bring too much pressure and leave gaps (Kafentzis is) good at just running,” Hamilton said when asked if he was going to disguise schemes and bring more frequent pressures to rattle Kafentzis. “I think he’s a bigger run threat than anything. We actually want him to sit in the pocket and throw the ball, but we got to do that with pressure and try to force some bad throws and force some interceptions. We don’t want him running, that’s for sure.”
For Pleasant Grove the main area of emphasis is finding a multitude of ways to get Skyler Munson more touches. Thus far, the receiver has hauled in 13 touchdown receptions and is 13 yards shy of passing the century mark.
“That’s the big thing. We got to try and get single coverage on him,” Hamilton explained. “I’m sure they’ve got a game-plan to try and slow him down and we got to use formations to try and get him into space so we can get him the ball. We got to be able to move him around.”
But if Pleasant Grove is to have any chance of pulling off the massive upset, it has to win the battle at the line of scrimmage.
“Everybody thinks that Jordan is this big spread passing team. When they’re really rolling, they’re running the football,” Hamilton said. “We’ve got to be able to stop the run and force them to throw the ball down the field. If you make them one dimensional, they’re still good, but they’re not as good. That’s the key.”
Pleasant Grove statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 27.6 ppg
Scoring defense: 20.8 ppg
Passing leader: Michael Anderson (128-231, 55.4 percent, 2,173, 22 TDs, 17 INTs)
Rushing leaders: Colton Babb (156 carries, 715 yards, 6 TDs)
Receiving leaders: Skyler Munson (41 rec., 987 yards, 13 TDs), Dallin Hatch (31 rec., 538 yards, 3 TDs)
Sack leaders: TJ Wind (4)
Jordan statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 46.6 ppg
Scoring defense: 21.8 ppg
Passing leader: Austin Kafentzis (148-240, 61.7 percent, 2,116 yards, 25 TDs, 11 INTs)
Receiving leaders: Maosn Krueger (47 rec., 664 yards, 7 TDs), Nick West (45 rec., 707 yards, 9 TDs)
Sack leaders: Mori Savini (5)
Interception leaders: Cooper Clark (4), Adreil Jefferson (3)
Felt’s Facts for Pleasant Grove High School
All-time record: 356-358-11 (76 years)
Region championships: 13 (1955, 1956, 1957, 1973 co, 1982 co, 1986 co, 1988 co, 1993 co, 1994, 1998, 2006, 2007 co, 2008)
Playoff appearances: 30 (including 2012)
All-time playoff record: 27-26
State championships: 3 (1955, 1956, 1993)
State championship record: 3-2
Felt’s Factoid(s): PG took part in the longest game in state history, a seven-overtime contest in 1982. Provo ended up beating Pleasant Grove 51-44. ... Viking Bridger Anderson holds the Utah record for interceptions returned for TDs in a game with three in 1999 against Springville.
Felt’s Facts for Jordan High School
All-time record: 507-403-28 (102 years)
Region championships: 26 (1931, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1944, 1947, 1948, 1950, 1958, 1961, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1988 co, 1989, 1991, 1993 co, 1994, 1998, 2002 co, 2005 co, 2012)
Playoff appearances: 42 (including 2012)
All-time playoff record: 47-30
State championships: 11 (1931, 1934, 1936, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1944, 1947, 1948, 1950, 1994)
State championship record: 11-4
Felt’s Factoid(s): Jordan holds the season passing record of 4,467 yards set in 2009. ... Beetdigger Alex Hart set a state record — and tied a national record — by throwing eight TD passes in a game in 2009. ... Hart holds the season record for average total offense per game with 415.5 yards, set in 2009. ... Cody Raymond holds the career TD reception record (tied with Fremont’s Austin Raught) at 41.
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