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Vyncent Jones

SANDY — If there is any theme Jordan has chosen to focus on this fall, it is the idea of developing consistency. The Beetdiggers are on a quest to not only start off well but finish on an equally strong note.

After repeatedly falling short in the postseason, starting well and then building on that start is a concept Jordan players want to master.

"We just peaked at the wrong time last year," fullback Dillon Hill said. "We want to go throughout the season just getting better every game to where, when it comes playoff time, we're ready to rumble."

Jordan took the state by storm in 2007 while playing under adverse circumstances. Delayed progress in installing artificial turf at their stadium forced the Beetdiggers to hit the road for every home game.

It didn't seem to affect Jordan too badly. The Beetdiggers started 7-1 and looked to be the team to beat in the state. But then they ran out of gas and dropped three straight to close out the season — including a shocking 22-6 setback to a Hunter team who had opened the year with five straight losses.

A consensus at Jordan is they didn't do enough in the offseason to maintain the level they needed to be at going into the playoffs.

"Last season, starting at Northridge, I don't think we were conditioned enough," Hill said. "We just got to hit the gridiron this year, ready to go in a conditioned state."

The Beetdiggers have focused hard on weight training and conditioning to foster the consistency and stamina needed for the postseason.

They are also focused on molding themselves into more of a defensive-minded group. Truckloads of touchdowns and yardage have become the team's trademark in recent seasons.

And while that high-octane offense is expected to continue, Jordan hopes to compliment it with a defense that will keep opponents in front of them and not yield the sort of big plays that the Beetdiggers regularly produce themselves on the other side of the ball.

"We just want to play hard defense," said Parker Williams, a senior defensive back. "Jordan defenses have been good in the past and we just want to be good too."

Jordan will continue its recent tradition of taking on high-profile out-of-state opponents when it travels to Canton, Ohio at the end of August to face Massillon, Ohio. It is one of 12 games in the prestigious Kirk Herbstreit Ohio vs. USA Challenge — an event sponsored by ESPN.

Beetdiggers coach Alex Jacobsen said his team is excited to have a chance to represent the state of Utah in the event and is convinced they will validate their invitation to Ohio with a solid performance.

"There's not a high school in this state that wouldn't like to trade places with us and go back to Canton," Jacobsen said. "And I wouldn't have done this unless we had good kids. These are good kids in the classroom. You know, we don't have a bunch of knuckleheads."

Jordan Beetdiggers 2008 prep football preview

COACH: Entering his sixth year, with a record of 43-34, Alex Jacobsen has turned Jordan into one of 5A's elite teams.

KEY PLAYERS: Jordan may have one of the best offensive lines in the state. Vyncent Jones (OL/DL) has verbally committed to Utah. Kyle Johnson and Tyler Larsen are both three-year starters. Dillion Hill (LB/FB) will be the team's go-to back. Alex Hart (QB), a junior, shows promise at quarterback. His targets at receiver will include Corey Hunt (WR) and Landon White (WR).

QUESTION MARKS: It could be hard to predict how well Jordan's offense will perform. The line is experienced, but the skill position players are mostly new — especially in the receiver corps. Who will step forward to be a Cody Raymond-type playmaker?

LAST YEAR: 7-4, Lost in 5A first round.

PREDICTED REGION 2 FINISH: Second

POSTSEASON POSSIBILITIES: The Beetdiggers have enough on paper to contend for a region title and a state title. If the skill players can emerge behind a veteran line, there's no reason to not see Jordan advancing to a semifinal or even the 5A championship game.

2008 SCHEDULE

Aug 22 — NORTHRIDGE, 4:30 p.m.

Aug 30 — Massillon, Ohio , 8 p.m. (at Canton, Ohio)

Sept 5 — LAYTON, 7 p.m.

Sept 12 — at Bingham, 7 p.m.

Sept 19 — RIVERTON, 7 p.m.

Sept 26 — at Hillcrest, 7 p.m.

Oct 3 — TAYLORSVILLE, 7 p.m.

Oct 10 — at Brighton, 7 p.m.

Oct 15 — at Skyline, 7 p.m.

Oct 24 — ALTA, 7 p.m.


E-mail: jcoon@desnews.com