Has Bingham passed the torch of football dominance to Corner Canyon?
Sep 04, 2019 11:53AM
By Justin Adams
Junior wide receiver Talmage Handley hauls in a touchdown pass from quarterback Cole Hagen. (Justin Adams/City Journals)
By Justin Adams | [email protected]
The Bingham Miners and the Corner Canyon Chargers met on the football field for the first time in the schools’ history this weekend. It was expected to be one of the best regular season games in all of Utah high school football.
Both were ranked in the top four schools in the state. Coming off a 5A state championship and moving up a classification, Corner Canyon was looking to prove they could hang with the best that 6A has to offer. They certainly proved that, and more.
By the end of the night, Corner Canyon had not just defeated Bingham, they had thoroughly dismantled them en route to a 56-28 victory.
Anyone who has followed Utah high school football at all knows that Bingham has been the class of the state. Between 2006 and 2017, the Miners won seven state championships, including four in the last six years. In that time period, Bingham never once gave up 50 points in a game. In fact, Bingham’s defense has been so dominant that since 2006, the team has more recorded shutouts than losses (37 and 21, respectively).
Despite having a much shorter history than Bingham (Corner Canyon opened in 2013), the Chargers are no strangers to success themselves. Since head coach Eric Kjar took over in 2017, Corner Canyon has gone 25-1, including last year’s perfect 12-0 season in which they averaged 45.8 points per game.
With Corner Canyon moving up to the 6A classification this year, the two schools were on a collision course one way or another. The up-and-coming new school with the high-flying offense against the established powerhouse led by a vaunted defense.
Supporters of both teams seemed to be aware of the momentousness of this first meeting between the two schools, as both turned out in numbers rarely seen in the world of Utah high school football. With both the home and visiting bleachers completely full and raucous student sections exchanging chants and cheers throughout the game, the atmosphere was absolutely electric.
Electric is also a good word to describe Corner Canyon’s offense on Friday night. The Chargers jumped out to a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter and didn’t look back. Sure, the Miners were able to cut the lead down to a single possession a few times throughout the night. But every time Bingham strung together a long ground-and-pound drive for a touchdown that made you think, “Here comes the Bingham team we’re all used to,” Corner Canyon would answer right back with an even faster touchdown drive of its own.
To be fair to Bingham, this may just be a rebuilding year for them. The team “only has about nine guys with extended experience,” according to the Deseret News’ season preview for the Miners. Then again, Bingham has surely had many seasons where they’ve had fewer returning starters than they’d prefer, and they’ve never been beaten down like this.
It begs the question, has Bingham passed the torch of football dominance to Corner Canyon?
In the waning minutes of the game, just before Corner Canyon returned an interception for touchdown, the home-crowd fans started chanting, “Bingham’s funeral.” It may be a little premature to start eulogizing the death of Bingham’s dynasty as the unquestioned top dog in Utah high school football. But if Friday night signified the end of one era for Bingham, it was also the beginning of another era for Corner Canyon: being the best football team in the state.