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High school football: Corner Canyon makes a loud statement with a 56-28 win over Bingham

Bingham has set the standard for high school football for quite some time, a fact the Chargers were well aware of entering Friday’s game between two of the state’s very best.

Corner Canyon’s Austin Bell jumps over teammate Jackson Light during a run as their team plays Bingham in a high school football game at Corner Canyon on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019. Corner Canyon won 56-28.
Corner Canyon’s Austin Bell jumps over teammate Jackson Light during a run as their team plays Bingham in a high school football game at Corner Canyon on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019. Corner Canyon won 56-28.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Box score

DRAPER — Surrounded by hundreds of raucous students who had just stormed the field, Corner Canyon running back Austin Bell offered no pretense regarding the gravity of what his team just pulled off in taking down Bingham 56-28 on Friday.

In short, it was big.

“It was the biggest game of the year, I think,” Bell stated. “... Just all the hype around Bingham and we just had to show up and play. ... It just proves that we’re No. 1 in the state.”

The designation of top team in the state has generally belonged to Bingham in most years over the past two decades or so, as Bell and his teammates knew well entering Friday’s game. To be the best, one has to beat the best, and considering the manner in which the Chargers took it to the Miners on Friday, it would be difficult to argue against the defending 5A champion being dubbed the top team in the state early in the season.

From the very start, the Chargers left little doubt as to what course the game would take.

After struggling to get much of anything going during its first win of the year over Orem, Corner Canyon came out firing on all cylinders against a team that has set the standard for tenacious defense for quite some time. Two long drives on the Chargers’ first two possessions culminated into two touchdown passes from Cole Hagen to Talmage Handley and Bell for a 14-0 lead with just over seven minutes remaining in the first quarter.

“Cole is just starting to get a little more comfortable,” said Corner Canyon coach Eric Kjar. “It’s a different set of receivers with a different skill set than we had last year, so we’re doing a little bit of different stuff and he’s just getting more comfortable.”

Comfortable indeed. Hagen proved relatively flawless throughout, finishing with three touchdown passes and a bevy of yards.

Helping Hagen and the entire offense out considerably was once again Bell, who contributed four touchdowns on the night including touchdown runs of 11, 16 and 54 yards in what has become a somewhat normal effort from the standout junior.

“Any time you can rely on the run game, that’s a big deal,” Kjar said of his offense which beat the Miner defense in just about every way imaginable.

Bingham wasn’t punchless throughout, as one would expect, and kept the game from completely getting out of hand until the final minutes. Leading the way for the Miners was quarterback Troy Mehn, who ran for a 6-yard touchdown and contributed two touchdown tosses of 46 and 31 yards, with his final touchdown pass cutting Corner Canyon’s lead to 41-28 with 11:46 left in the fourth quarter.

But the Chargers wouldn’t let up, with Cole Hagen finding his brother Cody Hagen for a 46-yard touchdown pass to extend the lead to 49-28, which was followed up by a 51-yard interception return by Josh Wilson.

As for the atmosphere throughout the game, it was intense, with Corner Canyon students loud throughout, understanding what was at stake.

“Anytime you play Bingham — they’ve set the standard for years, so it’s big for us,” Kjar said. “Our kids came out wanting to play them and we were excited about the opportunity. (Bingham) is the benchmark, so we were going to get up for this one for sure.”

With the win, Corner Canyon improves to 3-0 on the year and will next take on Jordan. Bingham falls to 2-1 on the year with the loss and will look to rebound taking on Westlake.