I think we’ve got some really good kids in our program and athletic guys at that spot. So I think we’ll have a chance to be really good at that position. – Jordan head coach Eric Kjar
SANDY — After several years of elite quarterback play, the Jordan High School football team looks to fill the void left by all-time great prep quarterback Austin Kafentzis and his prolific back-up Drew Lisk.
Jordan head coach Eric Kjar said he thinks the Beetdiggers can replicate last year's over-the-top production from the passing game with the talent at hand.
Last year, the Beetdiggers scored more points than anyone else in 5A in no small part on the arm of Lisk. Lisk topped all classifications for passing touchdowns and yards. A margin of nearly 600 yards separated Lisk from the rest of the pack.
"I think we've got some really good kids in our program and athletic guys at that spot," Kjar said. "So I think we'll have a chance to be really good at that position."
Kjar has coached at Jordan High for 13 seasons, eight years as head coach and QB coach and five as the offensive coordinator and QB coach. He readily acknowledged the special talent Kafenzis brought to the team. Kafentzis holds 15 statistical records. Kjar also saw Lisk as a great passing QB who fit the system well.
Kjar said he hasn't decided a starter at QB, but he said he feels confident so far in the junior receiver-turned-quarterback Crew Wakely. He and junior Isaiah Roach will compete for the starting spot during the offseason.
"There is definitely some pressure following anyone who plays quarterback after (Kafentzis) and (Lisk)," Wakely said. "(Kjar's) the reason they were so good."
Wakely also said he is more confident in the team's preparation at this point in the year than last year.
Kjar says the team won't be making any schematic changes on either side of the ball in the coming the season.
"It's just different with every kid you get and you just try to work to their strengths when you get them in there," Kjar said.
While the Beetdiggers put up a passing spectacular, they gave up major yardage and points.
Last year, teams averaged 383 yards total offense against the Beetdiggers, with an average of about 220 yards rushing and 163 passing.
The Beetdiggers also gave up the sixth-most points in 5A and the most of 5A playoff-qualifying teams.
Local powerhouse and fellow Region 3 team, the Bingham Miners, ran the ball very well against everyone, especially the Beetdiggers. The Miners went undefeated in region play.
In their regular-season matchup, the Miners had two players with about 175 rushing yards in gaining 486 total rushing yards as a team and rushing for seven touchdowns against Jordan. The Beetdiggers fell 56-42 to the Miners despite scoring 29 points in the fourth quarter.
"It's just how we were as a team from a personnel standpoint," Kjar said the Beetdiggers cumulative season points. "I feel like we could have scored points on anyone, but defensively we struggled."
Kjar said the Beatdiggers have the personnel on the defensive side of the ball to help clamp down on an opponent's running game.
"I think a lot of people think it's about schematics," Kjar said. "I think schematically, the way we're lined up and the way we are playing is right. We just need to be more physical."
This is one adjustment Kjar said he is trying to make. He believes that stopping the run game at the high school level is more about attitude and physicality.
Chris Larson is a soon-to-be-graduated BYU journalism student and new father. He enjoys covering whatever impacts people's lives: be it politics, community events or breaking news. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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