5A football: Syracuse's dream season ends in blowout
Brock Anderson stood on the Syracuse sideline, wearing a letterman's jacket instead of shoulder pads, propped up on crutches, and watching the Jordan Beetdiggers celebrate a state championship.
For the senior quarterback and the rest of his Titan teammates, a dream year ended in a nightmarish 58-2 loss Friday.
"It was a good season," he said. "It just sucks it had to end like it did."
Even with Anderson out after suffering an Achilles tendon injury the week before in a semifinal matchup with Bingham, the Titans came into Friday's game at Rice-Eccles Stadium confident their defense could slow the top-ranked Beetdiggers.
But a defense that wreaked havoc on opposing offenses all season was severely overmatched by a Jordan line that cleared big holes for running backs and gave sophomore quarterback Austin Kafentzis plenty of time to dismantle the Titans' secondary. Kafentzis torched Syracuse for 237 yards in the air and six total touchdowns.
When the first half ended, a Titan team that allowed just 70 points during a 9-0 regular season had given up 51 to the Beetdiggers.
"We just came out flat, and they came out strong," Syracuse junior defensive back Kavika Fonua said. "We just couldn't get it started in any way."
Syracuse coach Russ Jones said he thought his squad had "jitters" playing a Jordan squad he called "the best team we've faced all year."
"It put us on our heels, and our kids just didn't get off and running and get in a good flow," he said.
On the other side of the ball, the Beetdiggers punished a replacement quarterback tandem of Kole Tracy and Spencer Johnson, sacking the duo seven times. The Titans recorded just four first downs all night and broke into Jordan territory only twice. In the end, the Titans netted minus-5 yards rushing.
Injuries hurt Syracuse, but they weren't the deciding factor.
"You can't have any excuses," Fonua said. "You can't lose by that much."
"Our kids just couldn't get into the flow of it," Jones said. "It had a lot to do with their defense being so tough."
A running clock helped slow the Beetdigger onslaught in the second half.
And with time winding down, Fonua capitalized on a Jordan fumble in the Beetdiggers' end zone, coming up with a safety and his team's only two points of the night.
"At least we didn't get skunked," he said.