High school football: Football MVPs led teams to state titles

Published: Thursday, Nov. 29 2012 6:25 p.m. MST

One was an offensive lineman, two were quarterbacks and two were outstanding two-way starters. No matter which side of the ball they contributed, the 2012 Deseret News football MVPs did so in dominant fashion.

As great as they were on the field, each of the MVP’s coaches complimented them on their leadership qualities and simply being respectful and exemplary teammates.

Jordan’s B.J. Cavender, Timpview’s Jake Lloyd, Dixie’s Blake Barney, Manti’s Austin Jackson and Duchesne’s Kaden Moon each led their teams to a state championship and are deserving recipients of the Deseret News MVP awards.


B.J. Cavender, Jordan

Midway through the second half of Jordan’s 34-33 loss at Rio Tinto Stadium to nationally ranked St. John Bosco, Calif., starting center B.J. Cavender suffered a severely sprained ankle.

With Cavender on the sideline the final three weeks of the regular season, No. 1 Jordan suddenly seemed vulnerable. It narrowly squeaked out a 35-33 win over Cottonwood, and trailed Brighton 14-7 at the half before rallying for a 42-14 win.

The four-year starter returned in time for the playoffs though, and the rest is history.

With Cavender calling the shots for the offensive line, the ‘Diggers outscored their four playoff opponents 198-36. Incredibly, 56 of those points came in the first half against Pleasant Grove, while another 51 came in the first half of the championship game against Syracuse.

“The kids did a good job battling without him and we were still able to put wins together, but there was a big difference, especially leadership wise,” said Jordan coach Eric Kjar. “He was like a calming effect. We got him back in the playoffs and we were pretty much able to roll through those and he was probably one of the main reasons why.”

Jordan’s offensive line plowed the way for the ‘Diggers to rush for 3,944 yards and 58 touchdowns.

It’s only fitting Cavender caps his career with an MVP nod. He was the starting center for 2009 all-state QB Alex Hart, 2010 all-state QB McCoy Hill, 2011 all-state QB Austin Kafentzis — 2012 Mr. Football.

During those four years, Jordan racked up 24,254 yards of total offense.

“I don’t want to say he’s been the most important cog, but I don’t think it happens without what he’s done,” Kjar said. “And what he’s meant to the program and the leadership and stability he’s given us, just with workouts and what he does, and it gets contagious.”

At just 6-feet, Cavender doesn’t have any scholarship offers at this point. Kjar, however, believes Cavender is capable of succeeding at the next level, he just needs a college coach to take a chance on him.


Jake Lloyd, Timpview

It was a tumultuous 2012 for Timpview’s football program, but Jake Lloyd’s brilliant performance in the 4A state championship game against Mountain Crest helped ease much of the frustration.

After getting off to a slow start in the title game, Lloyd was phenomenal in the fourth quarter and overtime, including his unforgettable fourth-down TD pass in overtime with a defender wrapped around his ankles.

His 24-yard pass on third-and-16 in double overtime was equally as impressive and important.

Lloyd finished with 328 passing yards and three TDs in the title game, in addition to 80 yards rushing and another score as Timpview claimed its first title since 2009.