Corner Canyon football charging back on fieldSep 03, 2022 12:50PM ● By Catherine Garrett
By Catherine Garrett | [email protected]
The Corner Canyon High football team returns just one starter on offense—sophomore offensive lineman Zion Finau, who was limited in action last season with an injury—as the program reloads being the 6A state runners-up a year ago, while five starters are back to anchor the defense.
“We are young, but I like where we can go up,” said head coach Eric Kjar, who is in his sixth year and led the Chargers to three consecutive state titles from 2018 to 2020. “Schematically, we can be really good. I know it’s ‘coach speak’ that we need to get better each week, but it really is the process that you have to go through, just like on a marathon run where you have to pace yourself and stay the course.”
Junior quarterback Isaac Wilson is under center with plenty of offensive weapons, including senior wide receivers Quinn Hale and Bridger Davies along with junior wideout Tate Kjar.
Offensive linemen Noah Kim, Kai Sevy and Matt Snarr will be looked to provide protection for Wilson and gaps for senior running back Drew Patterson to find space and open up the offense.
Seniors Owen Borg, Charlie Ebeling, Aiden McDonald, Tank Mitchell and Kash Dillon will bring plenty of experience and leadership for the defensive unit that held opponents to 15 points a game last season, including a shutout of Westlake and four games where the Chargers surrendered just one touchdown.
In Corner Canyon’s first game of the year Aug. 12 against Herriman, the Chargers scored six touchdowns before halftime and were up 38-0, going on to win 45-7. Wilson threw for 450 yards, with six TD passes to five different receivers—Tate Kjar, Hale, Blake Ames, Trevor Ogden and Drew Patterson. Tate Kjar caught two TDs, including a 95-yarder in the first quarter, to go with six other receptions and a 206-yard game while Hale had six catches for 112 yards. The defense, led by Borg’s seven tackles and an interception, had the shutout going until four minutes left in the game when the Mustangs scored a late touchdown.
“You never really know how they’ll play and what they’ll do, especially in that first game, but I was really happy with how things went,” said coach Kjar. “We are really young offensively, but we played with a lot of effort, played really well and stayed pretty calm. The defense gave us a lot of three and outs and that really helps.”
From there, Corner Canyon traveled to Las Vegas to play nationally-renowned Bishop Gorman, who is a top-10 team this season. “They reached out and we checked availability and then they’ll come here to play us next year,” coach Kjar said. “We’re excited to get out and play someone outside of Utah.”
Against Bishop Gorman, the Chargers gave up four touchdowns to start the game – including a 20-yard interception return for a TD before Tate Kjar caught a two-yard pass from Wilson with thirty seconds left in the first half. That proved to be Corner Canyon’s only score of the game in a 42-7 loss to the sixth-ranked team in the country.
The Chargers will also play Bingham, West Jordan and Lehi before coming up against strong Region 4 opponents in American Fork, Skyridge, Westlake, Lone Peak and Pleasant Grove.
“Being in a tough region helps a ton in getting you better because you’re facing such quality opponents week in and week out,” coach Kjar said. “We’ve got to be ready every week.”
Also on the 2022 CCHS squad are seniors Jarin Allen, Jackson Ames, McRae Briggs, Dave Brinton, Hayden Hall, Luke Henstrom, Kolbyn Jackson, Ashton Johnson, Cooper Kingdon, Spencer Kirkham, Eli Maires, Jackson Naegle, Ruben Otuafi, Riley Parker, Colby Rollins, Boston Ross, Cole Sexton, Gavin Syer, Alex Tullis and Bracken Warburton; juniors Dane Bindrup, Caden Bonham, Jackson Bueller, Sam Chandler, Yhitzak Contreras, Andre Didier, Kash Dillon, Rylan Dunn, Carter England, Nick Erasmus, Brayden Eyre, Ashton Free, Moke Gabrielsen, Ethan Gardner, Tony Haungatau, Brock Hobson, Henry Holladay, Tate Kjar, Sitani Mafi, Kyle Nye, Rylan Quintana, Preston Rasmussen, Joey Ravella, Boston Snow, Rowan Thomas, Colin Webb and Crue Wignall; and sophomores Keaton Adamson, Taylor Bailey, Brady Brighton, Seth Carlson, Alex Degroot, Mana Fager, Naimana Filivao, Jagar Gamache, Nathan Halladay, Teagan Johnson, Ryder Kingdon, Chryshaun Lee, Ryler NcDonald, Enoch Mitchell, Paxton Naegle, Andrew Nice, Carson Rasmussen, Crew Staley, Owen Styer, Jayden Talauega, Drew Whatcott, Brock White and Kaydon Williams.
Kjar is being assisted this year by Cody Gardner, BJ Cavender, Wes Patterson, Austin Griove, Brandon Watts, Marc Jackson, AJ Townsend, Blake Miller, McCoy Hill, Michael Simkins, Jonah Strong, Luke Staley and Collin Larsen along with team managers Calrion Fager, Meale Fager and Taylor Peterson on the coaching staff.