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Sandy Journal

Jordan looks to new head coach to lead football program

Oct 04, 2017 01:38PM ● By Ron Bevan

Senior quarterback Crew Wakley is back to lead the Beetdigger scoring attack. Wakley combines his ability to throw the football with his sense of when to run to deliver a dual threat. (Ron Bevan/City Journals)

The loss of a veteran coach can sometimes be a daunting task to overcome for a high school program.

 It was a problem Jordan seemed to be saddled with when coach Eric Kjar moved from the Beetdigger program to Corner Canyon in the off season. 

Enter Kaleo Teriipaia, a first-year coach in the high school ranks. Teriipaia took over the reins at Jordan after helping coach the linebackers at Utah State. And his first order of business was to keep the ship sailing smoothly.

“We have a lot of kids that came up through the ranks under Kjar’s program,” Teriipaia said. “They were a bit nervous at first. But they have had a winning program and I wanted to keep it going in that direction.”

Kjar coached the Beetdiggers for eight years, taking the program back to winning prowess and a 2012 state 5A championship. He left Jordan with a 69-29 record.

But thus far this season the Beetdiggers are thriving under their new coach. Jordon lost only once in the first four games of the season and have found ways to score both on the ground and in the air.

Led by senior quarterback Crew Wakley, Jordan averages two touchdowns passing to every three rushing. In fact, Wakley has thrown as many passing touchdowns (nine) as he has rushed for himself.

“Wakley is a big-time playmaker,” Teriipaia said. “He simply wants to win. He is the kind of quarterback that can sit back and wait for his receivers to get open or he can tuck the ball and go for yardage himself.”

In his second season as the starting quarterback, Wakley has already thrown for over 1,000 yards in four games. He has rushed for 483 yards, leading all rushers on the Jordan squad. He led the team with 22 touchdowns rushing last season on 190 carries for 1,356 yards.

“We have a dangerous passing game thanks to Wakley and his receivers,” Teriipaia said. “So we try to limit his rushes and keep him safe. But there is no limiting a running quarterback. He takes off if he sees the opening.”

Jordan’s main running back this season is junior Jake Shaver. He has already posted five touchdowns of his own, muscling his way through the line looking for his own openings.

Shaver is an all-around athlete. He plays shortstop for the Jordan baseball team in the spring. And although he is only a junior, he has already committed to a scholarship to play baseball for the University of Arizona.

“He is consistent in every sport he plays,” Teriipaia said. “His is strong and a hard runner, which gives us a balanced attack. People can’t just think of us as a passing team anymore.”

When Wakley goes to the air, he is usually looking for one of three receivers. Ethan Bolingbroke, Ben Lisk and Noah Hennings are usually on the receiving end of the passing game. Bolingbroke, a junior, leads all receivers in total yardage. Senior Lisk is about halfway behind Bolingbroke and senior tight end Hennings is next.

“Bolingbroke isn’t the biggest receiver you will see out there, but he has great hands,” Teriipaia said. “His timing on the ball is very good.”

And no team’s scoring would be complete without a good field goal kicker. Enter senior Emily Bluemel, who learned to properly kick a ball as a soccer player for her club team Avalanche. She put 59 points on the board last season for the Beetdiggers and is on pace to match or break that mark this season.

“She is a solid kicker who is consistent from 35 yards in,” Teriipaia said. “When it comes to point after touchdown kicks, you can’t find anyone better than Bluemel.”

On the defensive side, Jordan is led by Latigo Liuzzi. The senior safety led all tackles last season with 89. He is aided by a variety of skilled defenders, notably sophomore linebacker Steve Street.

“We have a very young team overall,” Teriipaia said. “The seniors we have are vital to our success, but we have players we can also build on for the future.”