Jordan finishes second in region footballOct 25, 2018 04:57PM ● By Jana Klopsch
By Ron Bevan | [email protected]
It could have been a lean year for the Jordan High football team. Matched up in a tough region loaded with former state dynasties and losing a lot of players to graduation, many were ready to accept a lackluster year for the Beetdiggers.
In fact, the beginning of the season seemed to indicate the direction the program would take. Jordan managed only one win in four preseason games.
“I kept telling the team to trust in our program,” Jordan head football coach Kaleo Teriipaia said. “It’s a process that has to come together. It isn’t something that comes overnight.”
The process Teriipaia was implementing was planted last season, when the coach first took over the program. Prior to last year, Jordan was known as a high offensive attack team. The Beetdiggers would try to put a large amount of points on the board and hope to outdistance what the opponent would score.
While the Beetdiggers were still pounding the offense last season as a byproduct of the style Jordan was used to, Teriipaia was beginning the process to change the team into one that was more defensive driven.
“I have always been a defensive kind of guy,” Teriipaia said. “I wanted the boys to see that the team could win more games with a better defense.”
While Teriipaia was working on the game plan, the leadership of this year’s team knew they wanted to have a memorable final season. The trio of Jake Shaver, Ethan Bolingbroke and Christian Bruderer talked with the players and got them all on the same page.
“We had a lot of new starters on both offense and defense,” Bruderer said, himself one of the new starters as quarterback. “We had graduated so many players that had experience. So we came together and began figuring things out. By the time we reached region, we were on a roll.”
Jordan opened the season with tough road games against two of the best programs in the state. Although the Beetdiggers lost to East and Pleasant Grove, the boys were beginning to realize they actually had a good product they were putting on the field.
“I knew we had some very good players,” Teriipaia said. “I knew as long as our players would stick to technique and the game plan they could compete with any team in the state of Utah.”
By the time Region 7 play began, there was doubt in the stands as to what might happen for Jordan. After all, the Bettdiggers had previous dynasties Alta and Timpview in the region, teams that have tasted state championships many times in the past.
But the doubt was nowhere to be found on the sidelines. The Bettdiggers steamrolled through region, beating Brighton (34-17), Cottonwood (63-0), Alta (33-7) and even Timpview (18-7).
By the time Jordan entered its final season game Oct. 17, it would be a matchup of two teams with unbeaten records in region play: Jordan and Corner Canyon. And while the Chargers emerged victorious at the end, 28-20, the momentum the Beetdiggers had established was enough to carry the team pride into the state playoffs.
Jordan’s offense centered around three seniors this season; Bruderer as quarterback, Shaver in the running back position and Bolinbroke as wide receiver. The trio would account for 24 of Jordan’s 32 touchdowns.
Bruderer, in his first year at the helm of the offense, used a lightning quick release to catch the defense off guard.
“Teams will try to key on Shaver,” Bruderer said. “So I would try to pick on the linebackers with a quick throw. I knew they couldn’t guard both our receivers and our running back, so we would keep them honest and give Shaver some room to run.”
And run was something Shaver did well. A three-year starter, Shaver punched in 14 touchdowns during the regular season and amassed 728 yards.
“Shaver is big and fast,” Bruderer said. “He knows what to do when the lights go on because he has been there before.”
When Bruderer would air the ball out, Bolingbroke was his favorite target. Although Bruderer connected with six different receivers on touchdown passes, it was Bolingbroke who hauled in seven scoring passes.
“Bolingbroke is just someone you can count on,” Bruderer said. “I don’t have to be 100 percent accurate with my passes with him because he will go and get the ball.”
How the season ends up will now be decided in the state playoffs, as Jordan entered the title run as Region 7’s No. 2 team. But no matter how far the Beetdiggers go this year, Teriipaia said he believes the players gave everything they could.
“It’s been a fun ride to see the progression from the start of the season to now,” Teriipaia said after the Corner Canyon game.