SANDY — With their season on the line, the Jordan Beetdiggers fittingly turned to their line — specifically, their offensive line.
Jordan's bruising O-line, composed of LT Vyncent Jones, LG Bill Vavau, C Tyler Larsen, RG Lasater Kinikini and RT Kyle Johnson, has received much attention throughout this fall, and boy, did it deliver in the clutch on Friday.
With Jordan locked in a high-octane shootout with Spanish Fork in the opening round of the 5A tournament, the 'Diggers turned the game over to their offensive line in the fourth quarter, and those big guys repeatedly set up big play after big play.
Behind the O-line, running back Cory Hunt rushed for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and converted a huge late third down to seal the win as Jordan knocked off Spanish Fork and talented QB Breck Lewis, 36-33.
"I think this is one of the best lines that's been through here," said Jordan coach Alex Jacobson when asked if he'd seen a better line in his years at the Sandy school. "I'd have to talk to (former coach) Jim Birch about it, but I know this: You'd have a hard time finding kids that are better than those right there — not only on the field but in the classroom. That's what's been so great about this group of linemen."
At no time on Friday was the dominance of Jordan's O-line better demonstrated than with 9:21 left in the fourth quarter.
At that moment, Lewis, who finished with 477 yards and five TDs, had just thrown a pair of touchdown strikes in the third quarter to pull Spanish Fork to within five points at 23-18. Jordan was attempting to answer but faced fourth-and-2 from Spanish Fork's 17-yard line.
Ever the gambler, Jacobson decided to go for it, and his offensive line responded by blowing a hole up the middle that enabled Hunt to race 17 yards untouched for a crucial score.
"We needed to get a first down," said Jacobson, "and those guys just cleaned house and our running back goes in for a touchdown."
Spanish Fork marched right back down the field on a 15-play drive and scored to keep things interesting with 5:34 remaining. However, after Jordan QB Alex Hart found Braden Hammond for a 40-yard pass completion on the first play of the ensuing drive, the 'Diggers again turned to their line and it again came up with the goods.
Following a Hart QB draw that went for no gain, Hammond scampered for a 25-yard gain down the left side before Hunt capped the drive with a three-yard score.
The Dons still weren't finished, but following Lewis' fifth touchdown pass of the afternoon with 1:48 remaining, Jordan recovered a well-executed onside kick attempt and — guess who? — the O-line helped Hunt convert a third down to seal the victory.
All of which enabled Jordan to get past the first round and exorcise a few postseason demons.
"We tell the kids not to read the newspaper stuff — I know you guys don't want to hear that — but they heard about how we've struggled in the playoffs," said Jacobson. " ... Our kids just worked in the offseason. The back of our shirt says, 'Team' and 'Finish."'
Jordan displayed both characteristics Friday, and now it moves on to face Bingham in the quarterfinals.