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Prep football: Jordan QB Kafentzis named Tribune's MVP

Published December 26, 2014 4:06 pm

MVP • Kafentzis' career stacks right up alongside those of some of Utah high school football's greatest legends.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Sandy • It is impossible to say if Jordan's Austin Kafentzis will some day join former Utah high school quarterbacks such as Jim McMahon, Gifford Nielsen and Scott Mitchell in going on to fame and fortune as an NFL starter.

It's even hard to predict, at this point, what kind of a college career he will have — if he will attend Wisconsin as planned or makes a switch after Gary Andersen, the coach who recruited him, suddenly left the Badgers for Oregon State.

But one thing is certain.



Kafentzis ends his stellar four-year career as the Beetdiggers' starter owning nearly every career offensive record in Utah prep history.

That's why he is The Salt Lake Tribune's 2014 prep football Most Valuable Player.

The Beetdiggers star holds 19 Utah records, including total offense, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, 100-yard rushing games, 200-yard rushing games, touchdown passes, passing yards, and points scored. He won 38 games and one state title.

Nationally, he is the only quarterback to ever toss five touchdown passes in one quarter, and is the first player to score over 100 touchdowns rushing and 100 throwing.

And he is one of only two players to produce over 20,000 yards of total offense.

"Austin Kafentzis might go down as the greatest football player to ever come out of our state," said Bingham coach Dave Peck. "I am just glad that I do not need to prepare a gameplan to stop him ever again."

Those who know him say Kafentzis never worried about those numbers or records.

"The best part of it is that he's way humble," said Jordan coach Eric Kjar, who recognized Kafentzis' talent early and started him as a freshman. "You don't expect that with as much as he has accomplished. You expect him to be a cocky kid. He is unassuming at times and just even-keeled. With him, he was never worried about the numbers. It was all about competing and winning. You never knew what his stats were, ever."

He also seems popular with his teammates, who described him as a leader who never lost his cool and was the guy everyone looked at when things on the field became difficult.

"In a bad situation, he would just say, 'All right, we've got it. Let's go down and score and show people what we are made of,'" said Jordan receiver Spencer Curtis. "He is probably the best quarterback anybody could ever have had in high school."

A.J. Townsend, another Jordan receiver, said Kafentzis always seemed to put him in spots to make plays, making being a pass-catcher a much easier job.

"He is always a leader," said Townsend. "He was the person everyone looks to."

Kjar said he always admired Kafentzis' approach to football. The Jordan quarterback did the weight training and conditioning above and beyond what was required.

"The first thing [as a freshman starter] was that he was physically ready as far as strength, speed and size," said Kjar. "He had the mental capacity and the ability to stand in there and read and make plays in a passing game that I liked. When you combined those things, he earned that spot."

Jordan runs a spread offense that mixes passing with a potent run/option attack. Having a quarterback such as Kafentzis capable of making a read, throwing a pinpoint pass or running for a touchdown on any play made the Beetdiggers a threat to score on any play.

He was also durable. Except for a broken collarbone he sustained in the state tournament semifinal game his freshman season, the Jordan quarterback was seldom injured, despite often taking a beating from defenses.

Off the field, Kafentzis is a friendly, articulate young man. He talks easily with everyone he meets and seems to have a zest for life. He is also a state record-holder in the javelin.

He credits his coaches, especially Kjar and his dad Kyle, with teaching him how to read defenses and study playbooks. He said it was nice to know he earned "a couple of records," but he is sure they will be broken.

"Looking back, it's crazy to think I left my mark with those numbers" he said. "I couldn't have done that without coaches and teammates. The records wouldn't be there if my teammates didn't have my back."

Asked how he feels about being mentioned with McMahon, Mitchell and Nielsen as one of Utah's great quarterbacks, Kafentzis says even being part of the discussion is an honor.

"Those guys have done so much at the college level and in the pros," he said. "I'm only in high school. It's hard to compare."

Kafentzis isn't a big, prototype quarterback. He is just over six feet tall and weighs just under 200 pounds. Though that's the same size as pro stars such as Russell Wilson or Drew Brees, some wonder if he can take the hits he will face as an option quarterback in college.

He was looking forward to playing for Andersen and offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig at Wisconsin and planned to leave high school early — through enrolled in enough Jordan classes so he could throw the javelin one last time this spring.

Kafentzis had planned on moving to Madison after the first of the year and to start classes Jan. 22 so he could participate in spring football drills. He may stick with that plan yet, though Andersen's departure may raise questions.

One thing is certain, though.

Kafentzis leaves behind an incredible Utah high school legacy, a statistical record that will likely stand for many, many years.

wharton@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tribtomwharton —

Kafentzis' Utah high school football records

Total offense • 20,021 yards

Rushing yards • 6,942

Rushing TDs • 103

Total TDs (rushing/receiving/returns) • 103

Carries • 992

100-yard rushing games • 38

Consecutive 100-yard games • 18 (2013/2014 seasons)

200-yard rushing games • 10

TD passes • 115

Passing yards • 13,079

Pass attempts • 1,453

Pass completions • 821

TDs responsible for • 218 (103 rush, 115 pass)

Points scored • 618

Single-game total offense • 694 yards

Single-game TD passes • 8 

Single-game TDs responsible for • 10 

Season-long yards-per-game average • 475.58    

Wins by a QB • 38 —

Austin Kafentzis' national records

• Five TD passes in a single quarter.

• First player ever to hold a state record in both rushing and passing yards.

• First player ever to total 100-plus touchdowns each rushing and passing.

• One of only two players to go over 20,000 total yards of offense.

 

 

 

 

 

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