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Draper Journal

CCHS football has high expectations for new Region 2 play

Sep 07, 2023 02:42PM ● By Catherine Garrett

Corner Canyon’s Isaac Wilson (#1), Jackson Buehler (#10), Kash Dillon (#32), Brayden Eyre (#5), Tate Kjar (#2), Zion Finau (#73) will captain the Chargers squad this season. (Photos courtesy AStrong Photography)

The Corner Canyon High football team went back to work after a 17-7 loss to Skyridge in last fall’s 6A state championship game and got after it, according to seventh-year head coach Eric Kjar.

“The kids worked with great effort in the offseason and improved a lot physically and grew together as a team,” he said.

The Chargers are looking to establish dominance this season in a newly-aligned Region 2—after taking eight region titles since 2013 competing against Utah County teams—with its eyes on bringing home a fourth state championship.

“We have great camaraderie on this team and some really good leaders, especially in our senior group,” Kjar said. “This group has played together for a long time and have high expectations. We have some extremely talented players on our team.” 

Those players include five of the top recruits in the state led by University of Utah commits in senior offensive lineman Isaiah Garcia and senior quarterback Isaac Wilson as well as defensive ends Kash Dillon, Roman Caywood and linebacker Bo Tate.

Offensively, the Chargers return six starters to run its spread offense on Wilson’s arm. “Isaac returns a lot of experience and it has shown not only in our first two games but also throughout our practices,” Kjar said. “We have a great offensive line with some really good players in Ike Garcia and [junior offensive linemen] Zion Finau, Nai Filivao, Kaydon Williams and Paxton Naegle.”

Senior wideouts Brayden Eyre and Tate Kjar lead a receiving core that also consists of senior Boston Snow and juniors Chryshaun Lee, Jerome Myles and Drew Whatcott. Kjar also expects noted junior running back Bryton Brady’s “speed and ability” in the backfield to help balance out the offense.

CCHS defensive coordinator Cody Gardner had just one returning starter—Dillon, a “driven and talented player,” according to coach Kjar—from last year’s group but was bolstered in the offseason with Tate transferring from Skyline and Caywood from Cottonwood.

Senior defensive ends Sam Chandler and Caden Bonham will also provide leadership to the defensive line and be assisted by linebackers Jackson Buehler and Ryland Quintana. “Our secondary is gaining experience and plays with a lot of energy,” said coach Kjar, noting that defensive backs Keaton Adamson, Moke Gabrielson and Crew Staley and junior free safety Brock White “have really taken big steps forward.”

In its first game of the season Aug. 11, Corner Canyon defeated Granger 55-7, capping its first series with a 77-yard touchdown pass from Wilson to Eyre and the rout was on. Wilson finished with 469 yards passing and four TDs while rushing for a 31-yard score. Myles had a breakout game with seven catches for 194 yards and two TDs. Lee, Brady and Hobson also scored as well as Caywood bringing in a 10-yard fumble recovery in the third quarter. Tate’s six tackles led 23 defenders who got in on the action, also recording tackles.

On Aug. 18, the Chargers hosted the second-ranked team in the nation in Bishop Gorman (Nevada) and came out strong with Wilson punching in a 1-yard run to begin the scoring. The teams went toe-to-toe during the first half and Corner Canyon held a 28-21 edge at the break. 

But, the Gaels scored 42 points over the final 24 minutes and pulled away late in the third quarter, handing Corner Canyon the 63-42 loss. Wilson was involved in all the team’s scores— including three TD runs himself as well as two scoring passes to Tate Kjar. Myles also caught a 6-yard touchdown pass in the first half before he left the game with a leg injury.

“It’s important to be able to learn and improve always, but especially in these early games,” Kjar said. “I think being tested and facing great opponents early really helps your team speed up the learning curve.”

Against Lone Peak Aug. 25, the Chargers prevailed 51-36, led by Wilson’s five TD passes and a late 19-yard interception return by Bonham.The Chargers also play Farmington Sept. 1 and Syracuse Sept. 8 before Region 2 matchups with Mountain Ridge Sept. 15, Riverton Sept. 22, Copper Hills Sept. 29, Bingham Oct. 6 and Herriman Oct. 11.

Also on the CCHS squad are seniors Andrew Didier, Rylan Dunn, Eathen Gardner, Gagan Guddep, Brock Hobson, Henry Holliday, Tyler McDonald, Preston Rasmussen, Austin Reid, Crew Staley, Crue Wignall and Braxton Young; juniors Seth Carlsen, Mana Fager, Tony Haungatau, Nate Holladay, Teagan Johnson, Luke Neville, Andrew Nice, Brendan Peavley, Xavier Shaeffer, Dallon Stokes, Jayden Talauega, McKay Wells and Preston Whatcott; sophomores Tanner Adamson, Jaden Allen, Blake Ames, Cole Bonham, Jake Bonham, Eli Borg, Weston Briggs, Ashton Brown, Will Chandler, Carson Cheng, Garrett Downing, Ayden Dunn, Ace Edmunds, Bronson Evans, Jaxon Evans, Luke Fankhauser, Tinau Fiaui, Luke Fisher, Mason Hamilton, Ryan Harkness, Jabez Haungatau, Chache Herbert, Lucas Jackson, Jake Johnson, Rhett King, Deken Knowles, Jase Kozlowski, Mikah Larkins, Jefferson Lybbert, Bridger Matthews, Marcus Mellenthin, Davis Nelson, Dustin Otuafi, Eli Paynter, Jayden Pearce, Scottie Pepper, Alapati Pili, Jake Roe, Roman Rowell, Luis Sanchez, Kaigan Solber, Esun Tafa, Drew Towner and Mason Wood; and freshmen Diesel Dart, Carter Kjar, Axyl Meine and Jackson West.

Kjar is assisted on the coaching staff by Gardner, BJ Cavendar, Wes Patterson, Michael Simkins, Blake Miller, Josh Buehler, McCoy Hill, Luke Staley, AJ Townsend, Austin Glove, Brandon Watts and Randon Young. λ