Corner Canyon football charging to top of 6A ranks
Sep 30, 2019 11:57AM
● By Catherine Garrett
Corner Canyon’s Austin Bell has scored 11 touchdowns this season for the Chargers. (Photo courtesy AStrongPhotography)
By Catherine Garrett | [email protected]
The Corner Canyon football team have simply taken charge in the 6A classification after a 6-0 start and huge wins over powerhouse programs like Bingham, Herriman and Alta. The squad has outscored opponents 265-91, including a 31-0 shutout over the Mustangs.
“Our kids have done a tremendous job executing what they have been coached to do,” head coach Eric Kjar said. “They continue to practice at a level that helps them to continue to improve.”
First Team All-State senior quarterback Cole Hagen said, “The year has been going good. The team has really come together. Great coaching is a big part of our success.”
The Chargers also returned four other All-State players in defensive end Van Fillinger, who has committed to the University of Texas, defensive end Steve Street, linebacker Josh Wilson and wide receiver Noah Kjar from their state championship team in the 5A classification a year ago.
Coach Kjar said his team spent their offseason in the weight room to prepare for the move to 6A and to continually build on their postseason success. “Our kids work very hard from early January until the start of the season,” he said. “Most of this takes place at 6 a.m. As a program, we take a lot of pride in what we do during this time.”
In a battle of two 2018 state champions, Corner Canyon began its season against Orem Aug. 15 and defeated the Tigers 30-14. The Chargers scored nine points in the fourth quarter to turn a 21-14 game into its first win of the season. Junior running back Austin Bell scored three rushing touchdowns while Hagen added a 42-yard touchdown scamper of his own. Defensively, Corner Canyon scored a safety and were led by Wilson’s 13 tackles and two sacks while Street added nine tackles and four sacks.
Against Herriman Aug. 23, the Chargers shut out the Mustangs 31-0, turning a scoreless game after one quarter into a rout by the beginning of the fourth. Wilson got the scoring started with a 41-yard interception return for a touchdown before Bell’s two 1-yard TD runs and Noah Kjar’s 15-yard TD reception, both of whom had 100-yard games. Junior Hayden Easterly had 10 tackles, senior Kennon Aiono recorded eight tackles and three sacks, Fillinger had seven tackles and 3.5 sacks while senior Cade McDougal picked up two interceptions.
In a highly anticipated matchup with Bingham Aug. 30, Corner Canyon jumped on the Miners early and were up 34-14 at the half before scoring 18 points to end the game in a 56-28 win. The defense limited Bingham to a touchdown a quarter. Bell had a four-touchdown game with junior Talmage Handley, sophomore Cody Hagen and Wilson also finding the end zone. Along with Wilson’s pick-six from 51 yards out, he recorded 17 tackles while Street and McDougal had 10 tackles each as well.
The Chargers overwhelmed Jordan 42-7 Sept. 6, putting the game away by halftime. Bell scored twice while McDougal and Cole Hagen added runs of 30+ yards. Cody Hagen hauled in his second TD reception of the year from his brother and Noah Kjar also caught a TD pass from 35 yards out. Fillinger and senior Andrew McDonald led defensively with nine tackles each while Fillinger also had a sack.
Against Alta Sept. 13, Corner Canyon again came out firing and were up 45-0 at the break before scoring 21 more points in the second half for a 59-28 winning margin. Cole and Cody Hagen both scored two touchdowns, with Noah Kjar, Handley, senior John Glavine and sophomore Harrison Taggart also adding scores. McDougal had 10 tackles and McDonald recorded eight tackles and an interception.
The Chargers jumped out to a 30-0 lead in the first half against Pleasant Grove Sept. 20 and added 17 more points in the final two quarters to beat the Vikings 47-14. Cole and Cody Hagen hooked up for three touchdowns, including an 84-yarder, while Handley had 2 TD receptions and Bell rushed into the end zone from 37 yards out.
“We have played very good on defense that has kept us in a lot of games,” Coach Kjar sad. “Our defensive line has been very dominant in stopping the run and being able to put pressure on the quarterback. Cole has a lot of experience that has helped us with how inexperienced we are at certain spots on offense. Austin has played very well in our run and pass game with explosive plays.”
Coach Kjar also noted the contributions of senior kicker Connor Lewis, who has converted on all 28 point-after attempts and three field goals, including a 42-yarder against Bingham.
The Chargers defeated Lone Peak on Sep. 27 in dramatic fashion as they scored two touchdowns in the last two minutes to overcome a 17-7 deficit.
Corner Canyon is also scheduled to play Westlake, Skyridge and American Fork this season.
“We need to continue with this because of how difficult our region is,” Coach Kjar said. “6A is definitely going to be a challenge, but I feel like our kids have prepared very well to meet the demands of the schedule.”
Cole Hagen agreed. “We need to stay focused and keep getting better every week to get to where we want to go,” he said.
Also on the 2019 Chargers squad are seniors Cree Corriveau, Kaleb Dyer, Josh Fleck, Dax Gove, Randen Grimshaw, August Jacobs, Mason Keys, Ethan Kim, Conner Lewis, Caleb Martin, Brody Mcrea, Dustin Millich, Dallan Nelson, Zach O’Connell, Kobe Peters, Andra Quinn, Brody Ross, Matthew Sharp, Dylan Shoaf, Dylan Simmons, Brad Smith, Jonah Strong, Cameron Styer, Keaton West, Aaron Wilcox and Drew Zarbock; juniors Austin Bell, Ryan Cahoon, Carson Compton, Jaden Gamache, Colton Grimshaw, Scott Iverson, Jackson Light, Nathan Mackey, Brennan Mangum, Austin McCabe, Harrison Pyle, Luke Sampson, Austin Suchar and Emmitt Walbeck; and sophomores Luke Benton, Mason Burden, Dylan Carlson, Brody Cutrer, Cody Hagen, Taylor Harris, Dawson Jacobsen, James Lebaron, Jett Meine, Mason Quick, Josh Sanderson, Hreinson Vanover and Micah Wilson.