SANDY — Having its freshman quarterback throw the ball 50 times certainly was not the game plan for Jordan in Friday night's season-opener. It worked out just fine.
Freshman quarterback Austin Kafentzis, who seemed to go through a year's worth of maturation in 48 minutes, led Jordan to an impressive 19-12 come-from-behind victory over No. 3 Fremont.
Down 12-0 at the half, Kafentzis threw three touchdowns in the second half, including the game-winning 25-yard TD strike to Taylor Loomis in the corner of the end zone with 5.1 seconds remaining on fourth down.
"They were third in state, and I think it sends a message to the rest of the state. You couldn't ask for a better night," said Loomis.
Kafentzis finished the game completing 29 of 50 passes for 348 yards. His confidence seemed to grow exponentially with each completed pass in the second half.
As good as Kafentzis was, Jordan's defense was equally outstanding, limiting Fremont to 211 yards of total offense, and star running back Nick Vigil to only 68 yards on 15 carries.
"Really happy with our defense. That's one thing we've really tried to focus on. I know Jordan hasn't been known for defense but we have a good defensive coordinator who's doing a really good job," said Kjar.
Fremont's defense was great early as well as interceptions by Austin Black and Carson Child led to a pair of second-quarter touchdowns. The first came on a 22-yard strike from Cooper Kelley to Travis Stringham and the second was a 31-yard connection from Kelley to Jordan Preator.
Fremont missed both point-after attempts, a pass and a run.
Despite the offensive struggles, there was no panic at the half for Jordan.
They cut the lead to 12-6 on a Kafentzis TD pass to Blake Miller with 2:30 remaining in the third quarter. Kafentzis then connected with Mason Gajkowski on the first play of the fourth quarter on a 67-yard pass, but the game remained tied as both of Jordan's extra point attempts were blocked.
"Our kicking game is a mess right now, PAT, field goal-wise, so we have to try and fix a lot of that," said Kjar.
Both defenses came up with several stops in the fourth quarter, and it seemed like the game was likely headed to overtime as Jordan took over the ball at its own 28-yard line with 44 seconds remaining. That turned out to be just enough time as Kafentzis engineered a seven-play, 72-yard scoring drive by completely 5 of 7 passes.
Not in a million years did Kjar think he'd have his freshman throw the ball 50 times, but that's what Fremont's defense was giving him.
"I didn't anticipate trying to do that, but they did a good job of clogging up our run stuff. We didn't have a lot of holes in the run game," said Kjar.
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company