HERRIMAN — Corner Canyon’s trail to another title may be the most grueling of any Utah high school football team this year.
But the Chargers moved to 2-0 and passed another test — this time with the highest score in the class — with a 31-0 road win over Herriman.
Welcome to 6A? Austin Bell rushed for 112 yards and the defending 5A champs played mostly mistake-free, taking advantage of three interceptions and a bad punt snap to break open the game. Bell’s running and Cole Hagen’s timely throws helped Corner Canyon score on three consecutive drives in the second half, while the defense held the Mustangs scoreless for the first time since they fell to Bingham last year.
And who’s next on Corner Canyon’s schedule?
Bingham — the perennial large-school power — in a possible preview to the state championship game.
“We’ve played the state’s toughest teams before and know what it takes,” said Corner Canyon coach Eric Kjar. “I like our kids, and what they can do.”
- Watch replay: Corner Canyon 31, Herriman 0
This time, though, the Chargers are doing it with defense. Corner Canyon led just 10-0 at halftime and dodged an early Herriman punch with a pair of early interceptions — one on a tipped ball inside its own 10-yard line, and another that Josh Wilson returned 46 yards for a touchdown.
“You can’t win games when you turn the ball over,” said Herriman coach Dustin Pearce, whose team fell to 1-1 and has an interesting road game against Helix, California, next week.
After rallying with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to beat Davis last week, the Mustangs could not answer the Chargers’ surge after holding them to just 100 first-half yards.
The Mustangs pressured Chargers’ quarterback Cole Hagen in the first half and kept the Chargers’ offense out of the end zone. That all changed midway through the third quarter due to their own mistakes: a high snap that Herriman’s punter couldn’t corral, and he was tackled at the 19-yard line.
Four consecutive runs by Bell gave Corner Canyon a 17-0 and all of the game’s momentum. Bell added another touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter and, after the Chargers stopped Herriman again, Hagen finished an eight-play drive with a short touchdown throw to Noah Kjar.
In the meantime, the Chargers’ defense, led by Van Fillinger, Steve Street, Dallan Nelson, Kennan Aiono and August Jacobs, allowed only three first downs after intermission and finished the contest with a flurry of quarterback sacks.
“They smelled blood in the water and came after us,” Pearce said.
Kjar praised his defensive coordinator, Casey Sutera, for the Chargers’ defense prowess. Corner Canyon held defending 4A champ Orem to just 14 points last week.
“Our defense is awesome,” Kjar said. “They (the Mustangs) took their shots at us and we responded.”
Herriman quarterback Jaxon James obviously had a frustrating night. He completed two long passes early, but the Mustangs couldn’t turn them into points. James finished with 215 yards and, in his defense, two of his three interceptions came on tipped balls. Alex Anderson had a good night with 13 catches for 161 yards.