High school football: Corner Canyon’s march to state-record 48 straight wins has included some memorable close calls
Only four of Corner Canyon’s 48 straight wins have been decided by single digits
Eric Kjar’s wife posed an interesting question to him last week ahead of Corner Canyon’s bid to tie a state record with a 48th straight victory — which it did easily with a 56-0 win over Westlake.
She said simply, “is the record really that big of a deal?”
Corner Canyon’s coach wasn’t sure how to answer it. Sure a longevity record like that is cool, but winning state championships and region championships, and the process that goes into achieving them, are the real goals. That hasn’t changed either despite tying Duchesne’s state record with a 48th straight win on Friday.
The focus is now on beating Lone Peak this Thursday to earn at least a share of the Region 4 title, and moving closer to a fourth straight state title. If a 49th straight win happens as a result, and in November possibly a 54th straight win after the 6A championship, those will just be cherries on top of the larger goals.
So no, to answer his wife’s question, it’s not really that big a deal right now. However, while Kjar will never pat himself on the back about 48 straight wins, make no mistake he is very proud that the streak represents an unbelievable level consistency he’s established in five years as head coach at Corner Canyon.
“Everything we’ve accomplished in our program is based off our kids. We have really good kids, but they also just buy into everything,” said Kjar. “It’s hard as a coach to make sure you’re kids are consistent, but everything you ask of them in our program, the lifting, the running, the film, the focus, the hard work in practice, all the things that make up a team, the attitude, all those things have been there as a collective group every year.”
48 Straight! Here's a recap of the record-tying run over the last 4 years. https://t.co/K9j8R39rV4 @HSFBamerica @Zack_Poff_MP @mjfrecruits @MooseB90 @GNLRewind @KjarEric @sports_audible @KyleMorgan_XOS @SIAllAmerican @MaxPreps @DNewsPreps @kslsports @bcavi68 @_codyhagen_ @M11Jett— CornerCanyonFootball (@CCHSFOOTBALL_) October 2, 2021
Kjar talks process often about his football program, whether it’s January, June or November, and 48 straight wins is proof of his successful formula.
“Obviously our goal is to win every game and state championships, but the process is more of our goal, we’ve got to do this right, we’ve got to do that right,” said Kjar.
Nobody’s done it better for the past 31⁄2 seasons, and it’s tough to see an end in sight as Corner Canyon’s average margin of victory in eight wins this year is 40.8 ppg.
There have been the occasional close calls in Corner Canyon’s winning streak, but for the most part it’s been blowout city in Draper with an average margin of victory of 33.1 points over the 48-game winning streak.
The streak is the second-longest active streak in the nation, just behind Fyffe, Alabama, which has won 51 straight.
Of the Chargers’ 48 wins, offensive and defensive total yards for both teams are available for 44 games. Corner Canyon’s average total offense in those games is 481 yards while it’s only surrendering 261 yards on average.
Only four games during the streak have been decided by single digits, and they’re probably the four most memorable to Kjar.
Asked about the one that jumps out the most, he easily referenced Corner Canyon’s surreal 21-17 win over Lone Peak on Sept. 27, 2019. It’s a game the Chargers realistically had no business winning, but they did anyway because the players never stopped believing it was possible even when Lone Peak went ahead 17-7 with 2:17 left in the game.
Corner Canyon cut the lead to 17-14 on a Cole Hagen 16-yard TD pass to Talmage Handley.
After a failed onside kick, Corner Canyon forced Lone Peak to punt after three straight runs and three straight timeouts. Despite 80 yards and only 40 seconds, Hagen engineered a game-winning scoring drive connecting with younger brother Cody Hagen on a 6-yard TD pass with two seconds remaining.
At the time, Cody Hagen said, “Every day we just dream of this opportunity. Ever since we were ... first starting football we’ve talked about this moment — with him throwing the ball to me. It feels great.”
Reflecting back on the win, Kjar said, “We didn’t play all that well, but our kids came back around and played really well those last two drives on offense. And then our defense stepping up and making some steps. That’s probably the one that pops out of them all,” said Kjar.
No. 2 on Kjar’s memorable list is last year’s 29-26 win over Skyridge, which required similar late heroics, both offensively and defensively. Corner Canyon outscored Skyridge 15-0 in the fourth quarter, the last touchdown coming on a fourth-down 4-yard completion from Jaxson Dart to Cody Hagen with 59 seconds remaining.
Corner Canyon’s defense bent on Skyridge’s ensuing drive, but it ultimately didn’t break stopping McCae Hillstead on a QB scramble at the 3-yard line on the final play of the game. Skyridge could’ve kicked a field goal to send the game into overtime but elected to go for the regulation win on the final play.
“Our Skyridge game last year was ultra competitive. They played really well. We got down in that game and it’s just something different that our kids hadn’t really faced so to have them work through a little bit of adversity and try and win that game. Those types of things have been good for our team, and then as a coach seeing the growth after those games have been pretty fun,” said Kjar.
Each of those two comeback wins came as a 6A program, but perhaps the third most memorable win on Kjar’s list came back in 2018 when the Chargers were still a 5A program in the state semifinals.
Despite being the clear favorite against Olympus, Corner Canyon found itself trailing 15-14 late in the fourth quarter. Just like he did a year later though against Lone Peak, Cole Hagen engineered a game-winning 80-yard touchdown drive that Caden Johnson capped with a 1-yard TD run with 1:55 remaining.
Corner Canyon’s defense sealed it with a late interception by Andrew McDonald for the 20-15 victory on its way to winning the school’s first state championship.
“A lot of these games, something that’s consistent is being able to rally late and pull some things through at the end, which you don’t want to have to do and usually that’s a byproduct of not playing up to your level early and other teams playing us well too,” said Kjar.
The only other game of the 48 decided by single digits also came in 2018 in a regular season game against Jordan — Kjar’s first game coaching at Jordan, where he was previously the head coach for eight seasons.
Corner Canyon won 28-20, but needed some defensive heroics to seal the win. The Chargers led 21-20 midway through the fourth quarter, but Jordan had the ball at Corner Canyon’s 36 yard line as it marched for a possible go-ahead touchdown or field goal.
Junior defensive lineman Van Fillinger spoiled those hopes as a batted ball fell into his arms as he returned it 56 yards for a touchdown an an eight-point cushion.
“(I) don’t know how it got there. I just ran it back,” Fillinger said at the time. “I just saw the goal line. I didn’t look back once; I just kept going.”
Fillinger’s comments in many ways represents the entire mantra for Corner Canyon’s football program. Win No. 48 is old news now, the only thing that matters is beating Lone Peak this week and if more records are achieved from it, so be it.
|3||10/8/20||CC 29, Skyridge 26||Region|
|4||9/27/19||CC 21, Lone Peak 17||Region|
|5||11/19/18||CC 20, Olympus 15||5A SF|
|8||10/17/18||CC 28, Jordan 20||Region|
|10||8/17/18||CC 40, Pleasant Grove 30||Nonregion|
|10||9/24/20||CC 35, Lone Peak 25||Region|
|15||11/22/20||CC 45, East 30||6A SF|
|15||9/24/21||CC 38, Skyridge 23||Region|
|16||8/15/19||CC 30, Orem 14||Nonregion|
|17||11/16/18||CC 31, Skyridge 14||5A Champ|
|17||10/14/20||CC 51, American Fork 34||Region|
|22||8/28/20||CC 42, Bingham 20||Nonregion|
|25||11/6/20||CC 57, Bingham 22||6A QF|
|27||11/15/19||CC 34, Lone Peak 7||6A SF|
|28||10/11/18||CC 49, Alta 21||Region|
|28||8/30/19||CC 56, Bingham 28||Nonregion|
|28||8/27/21||CC 35, Bingham 7||Nonregion|
|29||8/14/20||CC 49, Farmington 20||Nonregion|
|31||8/23/19||CC 31, Herriman 0||Nonregion|
|31||9/13/19||CC 59, Alta 28||Nonregion|
|31||10/16/19||CC 59, American Fork 28||Region|
|31||9/18/20||CC 38, Pleasant Grove 7||Region|
|31||9/17/21||CC 52, American Fork 21||Nonregion|
|32||9/21/18||CC 53, Timpview 21||Region|
|32||11/1/19||CC 53, Westlake 21||6A 2nd|
|33||9/20/19||CC 47, Pleasant Grove 14||Region|
|34||8/31/18||CC 41, Westlake 7||Nonregion|
|34||10/10/19||CC 56, Skyridge 22||Region|
|35||9/6/19||CC 42, Jordan 7||Nonregion|
|35||11/22/19||CC 49, American Fork 14||6A Champ|
|35||8/21/21||CC 42, East 7||Nonregion|
|37||9/4/20||CC 51, Jordan 14||Nonregion|
|38||10/2/20||CC 56, Westlake 17||Region|
|38||11/20/20||CC 45, Lone Peak 7||6A Champ|
|41||8/24/18||CC 41, Riverton 0||Nonregion|
|41||10/4/19||CC 48, Westlake 7||Region|
|45||9/10/21||CC 52, Lehi 7||Nonregion|
|46||11/2/18||CC 52, Viewmont 6||5A QF|
|48||9/28/18||CC 55, Brighton 7||Region|
|50||9/11/20||CC 56, Alta 6||Nonregion|
|51||8/13/21||CC 72, Farmington 21||Nonregion|
|56||11/8/19||CC 56, Syracuse 0||6A QF|
|56||8/21/20||CC 56, Herriman 0||Nonregion|
|56||10/30/20||CC 56, Westlake 3||6A 2nd|
|56||10/1/21||CC 56, Westlake 0||Region|
|63||9/3/21||CC 70, Jordan 7||Nonregion|
|67||10/27/18||CC 70, Murray 3||5A 1st|
|70||10/5/18||CC 70, Cottonwood 0||Region|