We were uptight in the beginning. We just needed to loosen up, but it took us longer than it should have. —Jordan coach Kaleokalani Teriipaia
BOUNTIFUL — Jordan and Viewmont entered Friday’s 5A playoff opener on different skids. The Beetdiggers had lost their previous three games, while the Vikings had reeled off four-straight wins. But the playoffs are the playoffs, and Friday’s playoff flipped the switch for both teams as Jordan advanced with a 28-20 victory.
The Beetdiggers' offense didn’t look to be on its way to a win after its first three possessions resulted in a failed fourth and 1 attempt, and then back-to-back fumbles. But Jordan’s defense was ready to play, holding the Vikings to a field goal on their opening drive and then keeping Viewmont out of the end zone after the two fumbles. The Beetdiggers also caught a few breaks as the Vikings missed both of their field goal attempts, leaving them empty-handed after forcing the turnovers.
All in all, it was a lot of action early, with Viewmont leading 3-0 after a quarter of play.
The second quarter saw more offense as the Beetdiggers’ Soni Vunipola scored from 1 yard out and Crew Wakely added a 4-yard burst. Sandwiched in between the scores was a 1-yard touchdown from Viewmont’s Cameron Brown.
That left the score 14-10 in favor of Jordan at halftime.
The Beetdiggers built their lead to 21-10 in the third quarter when Ethan Bolingbroke charged down the sideline 24 yards before crossing the plane.
Viewmont chipped away at the deficit with another field goal by Preston Pitt, but Jordan answered as Wakely tossed a 14-yarder to Peyton Yack with 10:10 left to play in the game. The Vikings added another score with just over two minutes left to play to cut the lead to 28-20, but couldn’t grab the onside kick nor stop Jordan from getting two first downs to run out the clock.
“We were uptight in the beginning,” said Jordan coach Kaleokalani Teriipaia about his offense. “We just needed to loosen up, but it took us longer than it should have.
“We had to make sure our defense played well because Viewmont has great athletes.”
Viewmont controlled the ball for most of the game before Jordan ate up the clock in the final quarter. Jordan’s defense was key as it kept the Vikings from catching up over the final 25 minutes.
Wakely finished the game with 182 passing yards and 110 yards on the ground to complement his two touchdowns. The quarterback admitted though that his biggest play of the night might have included a little luck after he scooped up his tipped punt attempt in the final minute of the third quarter and rushed for a fourth-down conversion to keep Jordan driving. That drive was capped in the next quarter on the toss to Yack to put the Beetdiggers up 28-13.
Wakely said he knew when he was kicking the punt that the ball was going to hit the defender, but that his instincts quickly kicked in to grab the well-bounced ball and run.
“I was telling my coaches, I've never seen that happen in my life,” said Teriipaia, who was glad to be on the receiving end of the nice bounce and conversion. "That's the whole reason we like Crew back there, because you never know what you're going to get."
A bright spot for Viewmont was Cameron Brown breaking the all-time Viewmont single-season rushing record with 1,346 yards. The previous record by Steve Caputo (1,277) had held since 1982.