Corner Canyon football ready to roll
Aug 15, 2018 02:35PM
● By Catherine Garrett
Corner Canyon junior quarterback Cole Hagen replaces Zach Wilson, who is now playing for BYU, to lead the Chargers offense this fall.
By Catherine Garrett | [email protected]
The Corner Canyon High football team lost just one game last season. Unfortunately for the Chargers, that 34-33 loss came in the 5A state semifinals against Skyridge. So, the Region 7 champions are back and hungry to defend their region title and get the ultimate prize: the state championship.
Despite losing several key players, including Second Team All-State quarterback Zach Wilson, who is now at BYU and was one of the top-scoring offenses in the state, Corner Canyon returns First Team All-State linebacker Caden Johnson — and Region 7 Most Valuable Player with 105 tackles with 8 tackles for loss, one sack and two interceptions — along with 10 other All-Region players and half of its starters.
“I am very optimistic and excited about the upcoming season,” Johnson said. “We did lose several great players from last year, but we also have a lot of returning guys as well as some great young talent. So, overall, I expect us to have a very good year and hopefully make another deep run in the playoffs. As for myself, I’ve really just focused on being a team guy and someone who will do whatever it takes to help our team be successful.”
“We are excited for this season,” said junior quarterback Cole Hagen, who started three games last season. “We have a great group of coaches, teammates, trainers and fans. We support each other and look out for one another. Guys are working hard on and off the field.”
Other key returners include First Team All-Region selections senior cornerback John Scheffner, who had 38 tackles and three INTs, and senior lineman Kingsley Holliday; Second Team All-Region honorees junior Kennan Aiono, who recorded 33 tackles, five sacks and an INT last season, junior strong safety Luke Cahoon, junior defensive tackle Van Fillinger, who had 27 tackles and four sacks and has received an offer from the University of Utah, sophomore wide receiver Noah Kjar, who recorded 850 yards on 52 catches while scoring five touchdowns, sophomore lineman Jackson Light and senior wide receiver John Mitchell, who averaged nearly 20 yards a catch and scored five touchdowns; and Honorable Mention All-Region players senior offensive lineman Ammon Gleason and junior offensive lineman Jonah Strong will be looked to for leadership on and off the field.
Kjar also expects junior wide receiver Caleb Dyer, junior free safety Andrew McDonald, junior linebacker Cade McDougal, senior defensive end Max Swensen and junior linebacker Josh Wilson to contribute for the Chargers this season.
Since the late fall, head coach Eric Kjar, who is in his second year at Corner Canyon, said his team has been focused on the team goals. “We’re trying to increase our size and strength while we continue to get faster,” he said.
Johnson said he and his teammates have embraced Coach Kjar’s daily weight-training program and put in a lot of hard work. “Our lifting and conditioning has gone very well and as a team we are much stronger and faster than we were last year,” he said. “There’s been a lot of big improvements there so that’s been awesome to see. That will help us a ton, especially once we get late into the season.”
“Our coaches have done a great job preparing us for this season,” Hagen said. “It starts in the weight room for us with a lot of guys getting bigger and stronger, speed and agility training, seven-on-seven tournaments and chalk talks.”
The Chargers are also scheduled to play Pleasant Grove Aug. 17, Riverton Aug. 24, Westlake Aug. 31, Tafuna, American Samoa Sept. 7, Salem Hills Sept. 14, Sept. 21, Brighton Sept. 28, Cottonwood Oct. 5, Alta Oct. 11 and Jordan Oct. 17.
“We know our region is strong,” Hagen said. “We will have to perform at our best to do well. We plan to take it week by week to achieve our goals. We are ready for the challenge and look forward to starting up.”