MURRAY — Cottonwood and Jordan entered Friday's 5A quarterfinal playoff game with two of the most potent offenses in the state, so a high-scoring shootout was anticipated by many — but not to this extreme.
The two teams combined for 100 points and more than 900 yards of offense, and four players scored multiple touchdowns. In the end, it was the Beetdiggers who got the best of the Colts, prevailing 62-38 to advance to next week's semifinals at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
"We have just been clicking offensively," said Jordan quarterback McCoy Hill. "We knew coming into the season that we had the potential to be a good offense, and I think we are finally starting to reach that potential."
The offensive fireworks got under way immediately. On the first play of the game Cottonwood's Nadan Hosea took a handoff and cruised for an 80-yard touchdown scamper. After forcing Jordan to punt, the Colts went 80 yards on 10 plays and finished it off with another touchdown on a Hunter Hanks 20-yard catch from quarterback Cooper Bateman.
Cottonwood forced Jordan to punt on its next two possessions, but then something caught fire inside the 'Diggers.
"We never really panicked," said Hill. "We just stuck with what we had planned to do, and I guess it started working."
Jordan scored on its next nine possessions, and not just scored, but put the ball in the end zone. The first came on a 14-yard pass from Hill to Ethan Jones. The next score came on an Austin Grant 4-yard run. The final score for Jordan before the end of the half came on a brilliantly executed two-minute drill. The Beetdiggers got the ball on their own 15-yard line with only 1:34 remaining. Seven plays later, Taylor Dean hauled in a 6-yard touchdown pass from Hill.
Cottonwood did grab back some momentum just before the half. A late-hit penalty gave the Colts one last play with no time left on the clock, and Riley Harper kicked a 46-yard field goal to make it 21-17 at the break.
The 15-minute halftime didn't cool down the 'Diggers offense. Jordan took only 1:25 and six plays to score as Hill took it in from 1-yard out. A Taylor Loomis interception gave Jordan back the ball at the Cottonwood 12, and Loomis caught a scoring grab three plays later. In all, Jordan scored three touchdowns in a span of only three minutes and 53 seconds of game time.
"The guys just have been working really hard in practice, getting extra reps and working hard on execution," said Jordan coach Eric Kjar. "They have found something. I don't know exactly what it is, but I think it has just been through hard work."
Jordan continued its touchdown binge as Loomis had another scoring catch, Hill ran in another, and Grant carried the ball for two more scores.
In two playoff games, the Beetdiggers have put 114 points on the board, against two of the state's better defenses in Davis and Cottonwood.
"After we lost to American Fork, we knew we weren't doing all that we could," said Hill. "We kind of just rededicated ourselves and got to work."
Much of the credit goes to Hill, who finished the game 21-of-33 for 271 yards and four touchdowns through the air, and 84 yards on 20 carries and two more scores.
"He is just playing at an extremely high level," said Kjar. "I am really lucky to have him. He is really coachable, and he just make plays out there."
Jordan's reward for the win? It advances to face No. 1 and heavily favored Bingham on Thursday at 2:30 p.m. on the campus of the University of Utah.
"Well, I probably give myself about 30 more minutes to celebrate this one, and then I will start breaking down some film and getting together a game plan," said Kjar.