When a team returns the best freshman in the country, the future looks bright.
That's the case for Jordan, whose starting quarterback Austin Kafentzis won accolades from MaxPreps and Sports Illustrated for one of the most stunning prep debuts in recent Utah history. The numbers were breathtaking: 3,199 yards through the air and 1,377 on the ground, along with 45 touchdowns.
Jordan's season ended in a semifinal loss to Lone Peak, one that saw Kafentzis exit the first half with a broken collarbone. The sophomore said he's not shy about putting his body at risk again this year, but a veteran offensive line will minimize that risk.
The support system is in place around him. The Beetdiggers return a total of seven starters on each side of the ball, and Jordan's sights are set on a 5A title.
"They have a little bit more of a worker's mentality," said head coach Eric Kjar.
Kafentzis, who already has an offer from BYU, said he feels significantly more comfortable as a sophomore - a scary proposition considering his numbers last fall. In addition to gaining 25 pounds, the 16-year-old said he is more familiar with receiver routes - look for a dip from his 19 picks last year - and has mastered the three-step drop after sticking mostly to one-step.
"I feel like our team can be undefeated," Kafentzis said.
LAST YEAR: 11-3, lost in semifinals to Lone Peak.KEY RETURNER: B.J. Cavender, senior, center. A fourth-year starter, Cavender was the only junior offensive lineman named to the Tribune's 5A All-State first team in 2011.PLAYER TO WATCH: Mason Krueger, junior, wide receiver. Last year's No. 1 target Taylor Loomis graduated with a scholarship to Dixie State. Krueger, a three-sport athlete with a 6-foot-2 frame, is in line to fill the void.BIGGEST HOLE: Inexperienced kicker and punter. Senior Lavonte Calhoun, who also plays defensive end, will be the new punter. Placekicking duties will fall to either Tim Jeffrey or Cooper Clark, both of whom are freshmen.NEED TO KNOW: Their star quarterback still has three seasons left, but the Beetdiggers are in win-now mode. As long as Kaftenzis and his offensive line stay healthy, Jordan remains a 5A title contender.SEASON OPENER: Visits Fremont. Aug. 17 @ 7 p.m.
Previous postsJuly 25: Introduction/Riverton
July 26: Hunter/Park City
July 27: Kearns/Copper Hills
July 28: Davis/Juan DiegoJuly 30: Olympus/Judge Memorial
July 31: Alta/Grantsville
Aug. 1: Westlake/West Jordan
Aug. 2: Layton/Hillcrest
Jack Wangjwang@sltrib.comTwitter: @thejackwang