5A high school football preview: Northridge at Jordan

Published: Thursday, Nov. 1 2012 2:47 p.m. MDT

Northridge (9-2) at Jordan (9-1)

5A state tournament quarterfinals

Friday, 4 p.m.

Parry’s Power Guide: Jordan by 23

All-time series: Series tied 3-3

Coach vs. coach: Northridge’s Erik Thompson leads Jordan’s Eric Kjar, 1-0

Last meeting: Aug. 21, 2009 — Northridge 36, Jordan 27

Northridge’s football program can’t help but feel a bit unlucky.

For the third year in a row, the Knights find themselves paired up with the No. 1 team in the state in the quarterfinals of the 5A state tournament.

After losing to No. 1 Bingham 54-13 in 2010 and No. 1 Lone Peak 21-14 last year, Northridge will try and play spoiler again this year as it faces No. 1 Jordan this Friday.

Coach Erik Thompson didn’t beat around the bush when talking about the match-up: “It’s going to be tough,” he said.

Bingham rolled into the 2010 quarterfinals with a 10-0 record and averaging 50.3 points per game. Lone Peak was 11-0 and averaging 40.7, while this year’s Jordan team is equally as dominant with a 9-1 record and 47.6 scoring average.

Jordan’s top-ranked offense got a big boost last week with the return of offensive lineman BJ Cavender and running back Clay Moss. Both injured their ankles in the second half of Jordan’s Week 7 loss to St. John Bosco, but they returned and made key contributions in last week’s easy 56-7 first round win over Pleasant Grove.

With Cavender anchoring the dominant offensive line, Moss carried the ball 18 times for 155 yards and five touchdowns.

“To get them going again was huge for our team,” said Jordan coach Eric Kjar.

Without the senior duo, Jordan was still the obvious front-runner to win the 5A state championship. With them, though, Jordan might be unbeatable.

If Northridge has any hope of pulling off the upset, it must find a way to slow Jordan’s run game.

“Their offensive line is just phenomenal. Best offensive line I’ve ever seen," Thompson said. "They’re athletic, they’re quick, they’re good at what they do, they’re big, they’re strong. If you put that together with the weapons they have, it’s going to be a tough challenge.”

Jordan's biggest offensive weapon of them all is sophomore quarterback Austin Kafentzis. He’s thrown for 2,319 yards and 27 TDs this year, while he’s also rushed for 1,335 yards and 17 TDs. He’s an extremely physical player who runs downhill with the toughness of a fullback but the athleticism of a tailback.

Northridge’s offense features some weapons, too. Running back David Adams has rushed for 1,176 yards ands 19 TDs, as well has hauling in 559 receiving yards and four TDs.

“He’s a tremendous player; changes direction really well, and he’s tough. He’s definitely someone we need to game plan for,” said Kjar.

Adams is a very shifty runner who almost always picks up a couple extra yards after contact.

Just like his counterpart on Jordan, Northridge quarterback Nate Kusuda is also having a fine season with 2,047 passing yards and 15 TDs. His top receiving threat is Zach Hayes with 716 yards.

“We have some players on our side of the ball they’re going to have to stop and account for, too,” said Thompson.

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