SALT LAKE CITY — The matchup between Utah’s two best high school football teams lived up to expectations Friday evening.
It felt even better for second-seeded Lone Peak.
The Knights, who seemingly lived in Corner Canyon’s shadow all season even after ending the Chargers’ 48-game win streak last month, proved that win was not a fluke as quarterback Easton Comer threw for 276 yards and four touchdowns in a dramatic 49-42 victory to claim the 6A state championship at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Comer’s final pass was a 41-yard scoring strike to Crew McChesney with 2:24 left that ended a back-and-forth battle that had the fans at the edge of their seats the whole game.
It also ended Corner Canyon’s three-year claim as Utah’s top prep football team.
“We’re just starting our dynasty,” Comer said. “You should never doubt us. This team knows how to win.”
Added Lone Peak coach Bart Brockbank: “Easton was ice all night. Our whole team was resilient.”
The outcome was actually in doubt until 2:02 remained when Takeao Hansen intercepted Devin Brown’s pass on the first play from scrimmage after Lone Peak’s score.
The Knights then handed the ball to Jaxson Willits, who managed to gain 5 yards on a third-and-4 play even though Corner Canyon knew exactly what was coming.
Willits, who ran for 128 yards on 23 carries, also was instrumental as the Knights dominated the second half time of possession, 18:12 compared to Corner Canyon’s 5:48.
Lone Peak was successful on 10 of 13 third-down conversions and 2-2 fourth-down tries. The Knights, in fact, never punted but still needed Hansen’s pick to seal the win.
“We had what we wanted,” said Chargers coach Eric Kjar, who has been well-known for his offensive play-calling since he won his first state title at Jordan High in 2012.
“Devin just wanted to make a big play. He was money for us all season, and we couldn’t have gone as far as we did without him.”
Brown was on target for much of the game — and enhanced his season-long stat sheet that included 56 touchdown passes — but so was Comer.
Brown put Corner Canyon on the scoreboard just 29 seconds into the game with a 61-yard touchdown throw to Cody Hagen.
Then Lone Peak responded less than a minute later. By halftime, the fans were shocked to see a highlight reel 35-35 tie.
The second half was filled with more defense and far fewer big plays. The difference was Lone Peak’s ability to keep the ball.
On the Knights’ first drive after halftime, Brockbank even asked his team to convert a fourth and 4 near midfield, and they made it.
“We made some adjustments at halftime,” Brockbank said.
Added Hansen: “Coach just said we needed to make a couple of stops and come up with a turnover.”
Corner Canyon, which never gave up more than 22 points in any game this season except its two contests against the Knights, was not able to do that as Lone Peak averaged 6.2 rushing yards per carry and had 569 yards total offense.
With the win, the Knights erased a bad memory of losing 45-7 to the Chargers in last year’s title contest and finished with an 11-2 record.
Lone Peak has won 75 games in the last seven seasons and may have proved to be dynasty-worthy already while earning its fourth football state title in school history.
Corner Canyon, meanwhile, will still be the team whose success every Utah team tries to emulate, even if it’s no longer the champion.
The Chargers ended this year with a 12-2 mark, but also have a two-game losing streak to Lone Peak.