Prep Football: East-Jordan game suspended by fire

East-Jordan game heats up but is called off after fire discovered in stadium electrical room.
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Just when no one could look away from the game, everyone had to leave.

On Friday night, a fire in the stadium electrical room took priority over an electrifying game between the 5A No. 1-ranked Jordan Beetdiggers and 4A No. 1-ranked East Leopards.

School administrators initially planned to pick up where they left off — East leading locked in a 28-27 third-quarter battle — on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. But administrators agreed to cancel late Friday night, leaving the game suspended.

The statistics will count for each team, but it won't go in the win or loss column. The teams will be left to ponder what was left on the field.

"I thought it was a tough battle, and it would be fun to finish it," Jordan coach Eric Kjar said. "I think it's something we should answer on the field."

Emergency responders called for an evacuation of the hundreds of fans who had turned out to watch the teams grapple for the unofficial mantle of best team in Utah.

To that point, all the action had been on the field. Jordan shot ahead at halftime, 21-14, behind sophomore quarterback Austin Kafentzis, who accumulated more than 250 yards of offense during the game and accounted for all four touchdowns.

But as East struggled to answer Kafentzis' shifty runs, so did the Beetdiggers look helpless against Leopards running back Ula Tolutau, who piled up 151 yards and two touchdowns on only 12 carries.

Eventually, Tolutau took himself out of the game, ejected after two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties for diving into the end zone on his scores — penalties East coach Brandon Matich said he took issue with. But the Leopards took their first lead, 28-21, with a drive off an interception as quarterback Isaac Valles ran in from 2 yards out.

It hardly seemed an appropriate time for a bookmark. Kafentzis had just finished a 66-yard touchdown dash, but an extra point had clanked off the goal post with 41 seconds in the third quarter.

The game itself was the serendipitous result of game cancellations in the proposed Beehive Classic. When the two out-of-state teams Jordan and East were supposed to play couldn't make it out, the two decided to play each other.

But with the fire, the Beetdiggers and Leopards were a bit bewildered by fate.

"This game is kind of cursed, isn't it?" Matich said, voice hoarse and almost gone. —

Fire is wet blanket on thrilling contest

R Evacuation leads East and Jordan to suspend their game in the third quarter.

• East was leading 28-27 at the time the game was called.