Sandy • Clay Moss’ only job was to run straight ahead.
Almost every time he got the handoff near the goal line, the junior running back would see open turf. And he knew who he had to thank.
“Our coaches were telling us all season, ‘We’re gonna pound it because we’ve got the best offensive line in the state,’ ” Moss said. “All those guys pushing up front, they just made the biggest holes in the world.”
Jordan (5-0) didn’t pull anything fancy, opting to run right up the middle for the bulk of its plays. But the inside gaps the Beetdiggers line opened up inside gave Moss, Austin Kafentzis and Dezmond Carter the room they needed to roll on Alta’s defense in a 36-24 win on Friday night.
The home team struggled on its first drives, getting down in a 14-0 hole early on. But led by Moss’ four touchdowns on the night and 337 total rushing yards, Jordan was able to top the Hawks for the first time in seven years.
The game wasn’t locked up until midway through the fourth quarter, when the Beetdiggers went out for a fourth-down conversion. Kafentzis went back for the throw, and with a man in his face, zipped it to Adreil Jefferson for his only touchdown pass of the night. The heralded sophomore quarterback still finished with 159 yards rushing and 125 yards passing.
“Austin is a heck of a leader out there,” said senior center B.J. Cavendar, who was in on many of the big blocks. “When we went for it on fourth, there was no question. He just said, ‘If we just score here, they’re done.’ ”
Alta still put up quite a fight, despite getting behind shortly before halftime. Quarterback Chipper Lucero threw an eye-popping 381 yards with touchdowns to three different receivers. Mack Richards received the bulk of those grabs, finishing with 195 yards and a touchdown.
But Alta’s pass blocking faltered some in the second half, as Mori Savini and Emmitt Lee-Sang combined for five sacks, all in the second half. Alta’s final drive ended with its only turnover of the game, a fumble that allowed the Beetdiggers to run out the clock.
“Just in his halftime speech, coach [Kyle] Kafentzis was pushing us,” Lee-Sang said. “It felt so good to beat them out finally. Seven years is a long time.”
The Hawks tore up the field with their passing attack early, as Lucero piled up 226 yards in the first half. Harrison Handley caught a fade to the back corner, giving Alta its intial 7-0 lead. The Hawks doubled up two minutes later as Lucero stepped up against the pass rush and hit a wide-open Richards for a 56-yard score.
Jordan played conservative early, running on all but four plays. But the Beetdiggers’ diligence paid off with runs up the middle, scoring 20 unanswered points. Moss had all three first-half scores, runs of 6, 11 and 7 yards.
Up only 20-17 at the half, Jordan piled on a field goal and another Moss score to increase its lead to 12. Lucero led a 81-yard drive to pull within five points in the fourth quarter.
Jordan 36, Alta 24
R Jordan rolls up 337 yards rushing in a dominant ground game display.