We wanted to finish things and we wanted to finish things the right way. I think we definitely finished it tonight and I'm proud of how we played. —East coach Brandon Matich
SANDY — To say that East’s victory over Jordan Friday night was an offensive explosion may be the understatement of the year.
The teams combined for 82 points and 1,059 yards from scrimmage.
And that was just the first half.
“It was a crazy half, but we saw some things on film that they do defensively, that we thought we could expose. And we did,” said East coach Brandon Matich. “Our team just executed what we asked on offense, and it was a great half of football on that side of the ball.”
Ultimately, East finished with 784 yards of total offense en route to defeating Jordan, the defending 5A state champion, 59-36.
The game started normal enough. The first three possessions resulted in punts before East running back Ula Tolutau ripped off a 92-yard touchdown run.
From there, things got nuts.
The next 16 minutes of the first half resembled more of a "Madden" video game, set on easy, than a typical prep Friday night grudge match. Long touchdown runs, defensive touchdowns, a couple of touchdown passes and even a few field goals — the first half had it all.
Tolutau led the way for East with 15 rushes for 287 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. Star quarterback Austin Kafentzis also shined in the opening two quarters. He led the Beetdiggers with 16 rushes for 198 yards and three touchdowns of his own by halftime.
Tolutau, a Wisconsin commit, ultimately left the game early, but finished with 16 rushes for 312 yards.
“I’m glad he’s on my side,” Matich said about his star running back. “He’s a special kid, a special human being and Wisconsin is getting one heck of a football player. He was tremendous tonight.”
Kafentzis finished with 207 yards rushing and 132 yards passing.
Things slowed down in the second half as East ran some clock after scoring early in the third quarter to take a commanding 59-30 lead. The Leopards ultimately prevailed by 23 points and finished what they weren’t able to last season against the Beetdiggers.
Last year’s game was cut short due to an electrical fire, with no definitive outcome.
“We wanted to finish things and we wanted to finish things the right way,” Matich said. “I think we definitely finished it tonight and I’m proud of how we played.”
The Leopards have come out strong this season — defeating 5A powerhouse Alta before taking down Jordan. However, the real work starts next week, according to Matich.
“I don’t know if we made any statements by winning tonight’s game,” he said. “The real statement is going to be made in region play, like it always is. We have our first region game next week against Woods Cross, and those are the games you need.”