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High school football: East vs. Jordan showdown suspended due to fire

SALT LAKE CITY — The highly-anticipated showdown between No. 1 East and No. 3 Jordan came to a very anti-climactic ending on Friday night.

The Salt Lake City Fire Department evacuated the stadium with 41 seconds remaining in the third quarter because of smoking electrical equipment in the building the powers East's stadium lights.

East led Jordan 28-27 at the time, and even though the coaches for both teams expressed interest in playing the game on Saturday, the medical staffs for both schools advised them not to and the principals agreed.

The game goes into the books as a suspended game, which means neither team will be credited with a win or a loss. The stats will count though for the individual players.

The smoking electrical equipment was in the same building as Jordan's locker room, and coach Eric Kjar said it was very hot in there during halftime — even though nobody saw or smelled smoke.

The 'Diggers appeared to have tied the game at 28-28 on an Austin Kafentzis touchdown with 41 seconds remaining in the third quarter, but they missed the extra point. Just before Jordan lined up to kick the ball off though, an East administrator ran onto the field and informed the refs that the Salt Lake City Fire Department was ordering an evacuation of the stadium.

Until the suspension, East coach Brandon Matich said the game more than lived up to the hype.

"It's an unbelievable game. I think the fans are getting out of it what they hoped they'd get out of it," said Matich. "It's a physical game and both teams are playing really well. Both offenses are moving the ball well and both defense are having a hard time making adjustments."

Kafentzis had been a one-man wrecking crew for Jordan. He finished with 154 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. Through the air he completed 10 of 19 passes for 148 yards and a 30-yard touchdown to Nick West in the first half.

The game was tied at 7-7 and 14-14 before Jordan took a 21-14 lead just before the half on a Kafentzis' 11-yard touchdown run.

East leveled the scored at 21-21 on an Ulu Tulutau 26-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter. Isaac Valles then gave East its first lead of the game, 28-21, on a two-yard TD run with 1:10 remaining in the third.

Valles and Jewka Patetefa took on a bigger role in the third quarter after Tulutua was suspended for picking up his second unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for diving into the end zone on his TD that tied the game at 21-21. He did the same thing on a previous touchdown run.

Prior to being ejected, Tulutau had carried the ball 13 times for 164 yards..