SALT LAKE CITY — The Beetdiggers stomped a mudhole in Region 1 football this year.
Region 3 champion Jordan played and destroyed four Top of Utah teams in 2012, outscoring Fremont, Layton, Northridge and Syracuse High by a whopping 216-41 margin.
In Friday’s state 5-A championship game played under cloudy skies at Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium, the Beetdiggers blistered overmatched Syracuse 58-2, holding the Region 1 champion without a touchdown.
Jordan’s 58 points tied for the second-most in Utah high school football championship game history. The 56-point victory margin was the second-highest, trailing only East’s 79-0 shellacking of Payson in 1919.
“I didn’t expect this at all,” said Titans senior quarterback Brock Anderson, who underwent surgery on Nov. 8 for a torn Achilles tendon in his right foot.
Anderson was injured in the fourth quarter of the Titans 31-24 quarterfinal-round win over Alta on Nov. 2 at Syracuse.
“It’s been really hard the last two weeks to sit and watch,” Anderson said. “It was still a great year, and we’re happy with what we accomplished. We wish we could have won this last one.”
Could Anderson have made a difference?
“Jordan is really good and it’s hard to prepare for a team that does everything well,” the 18-year-old Anderson said. “We thought we would be able to stop the run and that didn’t happen. They are a well-rounded team.”
Jordan (12-1 overall) scored its second-highest point total this season — exceeding 50 points in six games — while extending its winning streak to seven and 12 games versus Utah schools.
The Beetdiggers, who began playing football in 1909, improved to 51-30 in the state playoffs with 42 appearances. Jordan also swept its 12th state title — the Beetdiggers are 12-4 in championship game appearances — but its first since 1994 when it beat Bear River 27-7 for the 4-A title.
In its previous 5-A championship game, Jordan fell to Skyline 41-21 in 1998.
The Beetdiggers took a 23-0 first-quarter lead, converting Kole Tracy’s fumble into a touchdown at 5:14. Jordan added a safety at 5:02 when Tracy, who fumbled and recovered the ball in the end zone, was tackled by Levontae Calhoun.
“We had a great season at 12-1 and we’ll take that anytime,” said Syracuse coach Russ Jones. “But our hats are off to Jordan.”
The Titans, who dropped to 8-5 in the state playoffs with their fifth appearance, were making their first championship game appearance since the school opened in 2007.
“I’ll look back at winning the Region 1 title — the first one in school history — and then making it to the state 5-A championship game,” Anderson said.
Syracuse generated a meager 62 total net yards on 45 plays with 24 minutes and 23 seconds of possession time. The 62 yards were the fewest in a championship game since 1976 and the fourth-fewest all-time.
The Titans finished with a minus-5 yards rushing on 26 carries, were 3 of 13 on third-down conversions and 0 of 1 on fourth-down conversions.
“Our kids didn’t get off and running and get into the flow of it, and maybe it had a lot to do with their defense being so tough,” Jones said. “Jordan is very, very physical and very well-coached.”
The Beetdiggers brought pressure with their front four and played cover 3.
“It is what it is and it happened,” Jones said. “We couldn’t get things rolling, we really couldn’t no matter what we did or what we tried.”
Tracy, a sophomore, and Spencer Johnson, a senior, each took snaps, but the Titans’ offense still sputtered behind each quarterback.
Syracuse punted seven times for a 37.7-yard average; the Beetdiggers did not punt in Friday’s blowout.
Tracy completed 6 of 9 passes for 56 yards and was sacked five times. Johnson was 1 of 10 for 11 yards with two sacks.
“Jordan was a much better team than us today and deserves what it got,” said Syracuse defensive coordinator Dayne Faerber. “Jordan has a great offensive line and run game. They have a good scheme, and we had a hard time with that today.”
The Beetdiggers, who were averaging 46.67 points per game, had 478 total net yards on 63 plays with 23:37 in possession time. Jordan was 7 of 11 on third-down conversions, 3 of 3 on fourth-down conversions and 5 of 5 in red-zone scoring opportunities.
Syracuse trailed 51-0 at halftime, running 23 offensive plays for 9 yards.
“It’s tough to keep playing when you’re down so much,” Faerber said. “You try to play for pride and play for respect at that point.”
The Titans forced two Jordan fourth-quarter fumbles — Trevor Olsen and Hayden Barney made the recoveries — but failed to convert those miscues into points.
Syracuse averted the whitewash with 8:03 remaining when Kavika Fonua tackled Dezmond Carter, who had fumbled, in the end zone after a 48-yard punt to the 1.
“It was not one of our best games and we didn’t slow them down,” Faerber said. “Jordan didn’t run anything we didn’t practice for or expect, except for one play. We didn’t come out and play our best game.
“They were, by far, the better team today.”
Sophomore quarterback Austin Kafentzis accounted for six first-half Beetdiggers’ touchdowns. He ran for three touchdowns and threw for three more.
Kafentzis completed 11 of 15 passes for 237 yards and was not sacked. He rushed for 42 yards on 11 carries.
Junior running back Clay Moss ran for a game-high 134 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries.
Junior wideout Mason Krueger had five receptions for 133 yards and two touchdowns for Jordan, which pulled Kafentzis with 6:10 left and became the 54th team to spoil another school’s perfect season.
“We did a lot of great things this year,” Faerber said.
“We won the first league title in school history, which is good going forward with the kids we have coming back. Without a doubt, Jordan is the best team we played this year. We had our hands full against a phenomenal team.”
jordan 58, syracuse 2
At Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium
Syracuse 0 0 0 2 — 2
Jordan 23 28 7 0 — 58
Jordan—Moss 32 pass from Kafentzis (Timothy kick).
Jordan—Kafentzis 1 run (Timothy kick).
Jordan—Safety, Calhoun tackles Tracy in end zone).
Jordan—Kafentzis 6 run (Timothy kick).
Jordan—Kafentzis 2 run (Timothy kick).
Jordan—Krueger 21 pass from Kafentzis (Timothy kick).
Jordan—Krueger 30 pass from Kafentzis (Timothy kick).
Jordan—Moss 1 run (Timothy kick).
Jordan—Moss 1 run (Timothy kick).
Syracuse—Safety, Fonua tackles Carter in end zone.