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5A football championship: Despite being undefeated, Titans are underdogs against the Beetdiggers

Published: Sunday, Aug. 30 2015 10:50 p.m. MDT

Jordan's Clay Moss runs the ball against Lone Peak in the 5A semifinals. Moss has run for 20 TDs this season.   (Ben Brewer, Deseret News) Jordan's Clay Moss runs the ball against Lone Peak in the 5A semifinals. Moss has run for 20 TDs this season. (Ben Brewer, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — After 92 days, 267 games, 6,311 points, 220 interceptions and 417 sacks, 22 teams in the 5A classification have hung helmets and shoulder pads up for the rest of the year and only two are left standing — Jordan and Syracuse.

The Beetdiggers (11-1) and Titans (12-0) will look to engrave their names in championship immortality Friday at 2:30 p.m. at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

"I think we need to continue to be a physical team and get after it up front on both sides. It's going to be one of those games where the other team is going to be ready to go," Jordan coach Eric Kjar said after practice on Monday. "Syracuse does a good job of that anyway when you watch them on film. They're a gritty team that plays real hard and they're physical, too. I think that's the key to the game is to see whose going to be more physical and mistake free."

Mori Savini (Jordan) (, Ben Brewer, Deseret News) Mori Savini (Jordan) (, Ben Brewer, Deseret News)

Syracuse, undefeated while averaging a 23-point margin of victory this season, enters as field goal underdogs.

Syracuse senior receiver, Diante Mitchell — who came inches short of sending the Titans to the state championship last year in the semifinals — knows that the ante has been raised.

"It's a pretty big game, but I wouldn't want it any other way," he said. "Every senior wants to be playing in this game, and we're fortunate enough to be able to play in it."

In order for the Titans to experience a celebratory police escorted bus ride home, they'll need to stifle Jordan's potent offense — something no team has yet to accomplish this season.

"I think if everyone does their jobs and executes what they've been taught, I think that we could actually shut 'em down," said Syracuse junior defensive end Jace Purser. "That's what we did against Bingham (in last week's 21-16 semifinal win)."

Clay Moss (Jordan) (, Ben Brewer, Deseret News) Clay Moss (Jordan) (, Ben Brewer, Deseret News)

The Beetdiggers averaged 46.6 points per game, nearly 14 points more than the Miners while leading the state in scoring.

Jordan has the ability to find pay dirt in a multitude of ways with over 6,000 yards of total offense behind arguably the best front five in the state.

Through the air, Austin Kafentzis distributes passes equally to Mason Krueger, Nick West and Adreil Jefferson. On the ground, Kafentzis and Clay Moss have teamed up for 40 rushing touchdowns, while Dezmond Carter and Jerome Bettis Vaituu spell carries occasionally.

The positive news for the Titans is they're finally getting healthy. Two-way starters Jake Garver, Koa Mo'o and Kavika Fonua are all expected to play after practicing the entire week. Garver and Mo'o sustained concussions and Fonua severely sprained his ankle.

Kiwa Mo'o (Syracuse) (, Ben Brewer, Deseret News) Kiwa Mo'o (Syracuse) (, Ben Brewer, Deseret News)

Jordan is trying to win its first state championship since 1994 and its 12th overall since opening its doors in 1909. A win would mark the first state championship in school history for Syracuse.

5A on the air

Syracuse vs. Jordan

Today, 2:30 p.m.

Rice-Eccles Stadium

TV: KJZZ

Webcast: DeseretNews.com

Parry's Power: Jordan by 3

Email: tphibbs@desnews.com

NOTE: For live updates and stats in the 5A state championship between Jordan and Syracuse follow @tphibbsami on Twitter.

Mason Woodward (Syracuse) (, Ben Brewer, Deseret News) Mason Woodward (Syracuse) (, Ben Brewer, Deseret News)

SYRACUSE STATS

Scoring offense: 32.1 ppg

Scoring defense: 9.2 ppg

Passing leader: Brock Anderson (143-207, 69.1%, 1,850 yards, 25 TDs, 4 INTs)

Rushing leaders: Mason Woodward (170 carries, 737 yards, 7 TDs), Brock Anderson (95, 396, 6)

Receiving leaders: Kiwa Mo'o (36 rec., 525 yards, 7 TDs), Diante Mitchell (40, 496, 8)

Tackles leader: Wyatt German (107 tackles)

Sacks leader: Jace Purser (9.5 sacks)

Int. leader: Kavika Fonua, Diante Mitchell (4 INTs)

JORDAN STATS

Scoring offense: 46.6 ppg

Scoring defense: 19.3 ppg

Passing leader: Austin Kafentzis (179-279, 64.2%, 2,623 yards, 28 TDs, 11 INTs)

Rushing leaders: Austin Kafentzis (210 carries, 1,647 yards, 20 TDs), Clay Moss (134, 977, 20)

Receiving leaders: Nick West (54 rec., 913 yards, 11 TDs), Mason Krueger (58, 752, 7)

Tackles leader: Tyler Swan (122 tackles)

Sacks leader: Mori Savini (6.5 sacks)

Interceptions leader: Cooper Clark (7 INTs)

SYRACUSE GAME-BY-GAME

8/17 … Syracuse 38, Desert Hills 13

8/24 … Syracuse 30, Skyline 0

8/31 … Syracuse 23, Riverton 0

9/7 … Syracuse 31, Box Elder 14

9/14 … Syracuse 28, Davis 14

9/21 … Syracuse 31, Layton 0

9/28 … Syracuse 21, Northridge 14

10/5 … Syracuse 46, Fremont 8

10/12 … Syracuse 31, Weber 7

10/26 … Syracuse 54, Viewmont 0

11/2 … Syracuse 31, Alta 24

11/8 … Syracuse 21, Bingham 16

JORDAN GAME-BY-GAME

8/17 … Jordan 53, Fremont 12

8/24 … Jordan 56, Layton 14

8/31 … Jordan 61, Kearns 29

9/7 … Jordan 36, Alta 24

9/21 … Jordan 46, Copper Hills 0

9/29 … St. John Bosco 34, Jordan 33

10/5 … Jordan 35, Cottonwood 33

10/12 … Jordan 45, Brighton 14

10/17 … Jordan 48, West Jordan 37

10/26 … Jordan 56, Pleasant Grove 7

11/2 … Jordan 49, Northridge 13

11/8 … Jordan 35, Lone Peak 14

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