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5A high school football preview: Northridge at Jordan

Published: Tuesday, July 28 2015 6:47 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.

Jordan has scored at least 33 points in every game and eclipsed 50 points in five games. As good as Northridge’s defense has played this year, it’s unrealistic to expect the Region 1 runner-ups to stop Jordan. To have a chance, it will need to match the ‘Diggers touchdown for touchdown in what could be a very high-scoring quarterfinal.

Northridge statistical breakdown

Scoring offense: 31.0 ppg

Scoring defense: 17.6 ppg

Passing leader: Nate Kusuda (140-237, 49.1%, 2,047 yards, 15 TDs, 8 INTs)

Rushing leaders: David Adams (187 carries, 1,176 yards, 19 TDs), Dallin Isaacson (62 carries, 337 yards, 4 TDs)

Receiving leaders: Zach Hayes (48 rec., 716 yards, 6 TDs), David Adams (44 rec., 559 yards, 4 TDs)

Tackles leaders: Austin Ricks (95 tackles), Dayan Lake (77 tackles)

Sack leaders: Eliyah Mayberry (13 sacks)

Interception leaders: Zach Hayes, David Adams (2 INTs)

Jordan statistical breakdown

Scoring offense: 47.6 ppg

Scoring defense: 20.4 ppg

Passing leader: Austin Kafentzis (158-252, 62.7%, 2,319 yards, 27 TDs, 11 INTs)

Rushing leaders: Austin Kafentzis (173 carries, 1,335 yards, 17 TDs), Clay Moss (83 carries, 678 yards, 13 TDs)

Receiving leaders: Nick West (47 rec., 787 yards, 10 TDs), Mason Krueger (50 rec., 689 yards, 7 TDs),

Tackles leaders: Tyler Swan (98 tackles), Cooper Clark (87 tackles)

Sack leaders: Mori Savini (5 sacks)

Interception leaders: Cooper Clark (6 INTs)

Felt’s Facts for Northridge High School

All-time record: 144-83 (21 years)

Region championships: 5 (1993 co, 1998 co, 2001, 2002 co, 2003)

Playoff appearances: 16 (including 2012)

All-time playoff record: 20-12

State championships: 3 (2000, 2001, 2002)

State championship record: 3-0

Felt’s Factoid(s): Northridge has won the most championship games — 3 — without a loss. ... The Knights have scored the most points in a four-game playoff series, 212 (2001).

Felt’s Facts for Jordan High School

All-time record: 508-403-28 (102 years)

Region championships: 26 (1931, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1944, 1947, 1948, 1950, 1958, 1961, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1988 co, 1989, 1991, 1993 co, 1994, 1998, 2002 co, 2005 co, 2012)

Playoff appearances: 42 (including 2012)

All-time playoff record: 48-30

State championships: 11 (1931, 1934, 1936, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1944, 1947, 1948, 1950, 1994)

State championship record: 11-4

Felt’s Factoid(s): Jordan holds the season passing record of 4,467 set in 2009. ... Beetdigger Alex Hart set a state record – and tied a national record – by throwing eight TD passes in a game in 2009. ... Hart holds the season record for average total offense per game with 415.5 yards, set in 2009. ... Cody Raymond holds the career TD reception record (tied with Fremont’s Austin Raught) at 41.

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