Prep football: Kearns adds aerial attack to arsenal

Prep football • Jordan Floyd's arm gives the Cougars a passing threat they've lacked.
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Kearns • The film reels in his mind are spinning, back to his season opener against Pleasant Grove.

Jordan Floyd remembers the situation well, as if he's still standing in the pocket. Feeling the pressure of the pass rush, throwing the ball up. He recounts it with authority, understanding his mistake.

He knows what he did wrong.

"We've gone back to make adjustments," he said. "A lot of it is confidence. You can't panic against that pass rush. You have to throw confidently."

Floyd struggled with two interceptions and no touchdowns in that game. He threw for 322 yards and a pair of scores in a decisive win over Copper Hills in his next game.

Floyd is a quick study — something that became obvious to the Kearns staff long ago when he was picking up organized football as a sophomore. Coming from the baseball mound, Floyd has evolved from a football novice to a leader at the sport's most mentally challenging position.

Kearns long has thrived on the run. But with Floyd in the backfield, the Cougars aren't afraid to air it out.

"We trust him back there," senior offensive lineman Marcus Toilolo said. "When he makes those big plays, it makes us look good."

Although Kearns still has its reliable running game with backs James Felila and Daniel Tapusoa, Floyd has the ability to stretch the field with his arm. Three of his four touchdown passes have been plays of 39 yards or longer, a big-play ability that the Cougars believe could give them an edge this season.

Floyd wasn't even interested in football three years ago. The Kearns coaching staff had to lure him out to play after watching him pitch.

"I didn't even start on the sophomore team," Floyd said. "I didn't expect to be starting for varsity."

A big factor in Floyd's development has been his mind. It hasn't been easy to devour playbooks at the rate he's had to learn, but he's done it through hours of film and study.

Players say there's no doubt in the huddle that Floyd knows what he's doing. He's assertive and direct, and when they break, his teammates feel his confidence radiate through them.

"He's just a naturally smart kid," junior receiver Colton Grossaint said. "Kearns has never really been able to throw over the top before. But I trust that he'll get me the ball."

The Cougars, although hurting with depth, also are big. The offensive line can roll down on a lot of opponents when it comes to the running game, but also have worked on holding a pocket for Floyd to work in.

The position was a concern leading into the season after Maurice and Lanu Toilolo, a pair of 280-pound linemen, moved to Woods Cross to help their ill grandfather. But when their grandfather's health improved, they moved back in time to shore up Kearns' front five.

"I wanted to come back because I knew we had a lot of potential," Maurice Toilolo said. "I knew what we could do. We want to get together one last time and make a run."

A region championship is a realistic goal for Kearns this season, and a No. 1 seed is up for grabs after coaching changes at four other Region 2 schools. That would be a big benefit for a school that hasn't made it past the first round of playoffs since 1993.

Football wasn't a part of Floyd's life three years ago. Now that region title constantly is on his mind.

"We've been watching motivational movies and stuff, and one thing that sticks out to me is that I have to want success as badly as I want to breathe," Floyd said. "Our moment is right now. I have to give my best."

Twitter: @kylegoon —

Kearns quarterback a quick study

Senior Jordan Floyd is the Cougars' starting quarterback after picking up organized football his sophomore year.

He got playing time last year before becoming the full-time starter this season.

Floyd has thrown for four combined touchdowns in his last two games.