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High school football: Corner Canyon cruises into 6A semifinals with 45-28 win over American Fork

Box score

Corner Canyon’s quest for another state title is starting to feel familiar after the Chargers vanquished perpetual Region 4 foe American Fork on Friday to earn a spot in the 6A semifinals.

Devin Brown tossed five touchdowns and the Corner Canyon defense came up with two turnovers to cruise past the Cavemen 45-28.

“You’re always going to see them. They’re good teams,” Corner Canyon coach Eric Kjar said. “You kind of expect it out of our region, and it’s hard because you see something different each time and you get to know each other pretty good.”

Brown set the tone from the first snap, guiding Corner Canyon coolly on a 13-play drive capped with a dump off to the flat to Dylan Carlson for a 5-yard score with 8:10 left in the first quarter.

Brown said there’s “no doubt” that he elevated his focus in a head-to-head matchup with fellow top quarterback Maddux Madsen.

“We always want to play the best teams no matter what, and those are always the best ones to play,” Brown said. “We game planned for him. We know he’s a really good player and he’s a good kid, too.”

American Fork responded with a heavy dose of running between Madsen and Dax Watts to set up Evan Agor, who punched in a 1-yard rush to make it 7-7 with 2:36 left in the opening quarter.

Corner Canyon owned the first half from that moment, scoring a trio of unanswered touchdowns keyed with an explosive connection between Brown and high-powered receiver Cody Hagen.

Three straight wildcat quarterback runs brought a Drew Patterson score to break the tie. After an ensuing American Fork punt, Brown took just six plays before Hagen curled back to him on a silky smooth route for a 15-yard touchdown catch.

The Cavemen punted again, and Corner Canyon’s quick strike offense found success for a third straight time as Hagen drew attention away from an underneath route and a 4-yard Jon King scoring catch to make it 28-7 with 29 seconds to halftime.

“Offensively, I felt like we did a good job just continuing to keep pressure on them and getting scores,” Kjar said.

Corner Canyon stymied Madsen and bracketed his receivers for most of the game, forcing him to drop his eyes and scramble out of the pocket. His lone explosive pass of the night came early in the third quarter when Trey Roberts broke free of a tripped up Corner Canyon defender for a 52-yard scoring bomb to eat into the Chargers’ lead 28-14.

Brown responded with another long drive, taking four minutes off the third quarter clock before finding Hagen wide open for a second 5-yard scoring strike as American Fork’s defense crashed down to keep him from running into the end zone himself.

“He’s just so clean out of his routes and it makes it hard on defenses,” Brown said of Hagen. “They’ve got to honor him and they’ve got to play two guys on him a lot of times.”

A recovered fumble led to a short Corner Canyon field goal before Madsen strung together American Fork’s most sustained drive of the night with a 17-play effort and a 1-yard quarterback dive plus a two-point conversion toss to Roberts to make it 38-22 with 9:58 left in the game.

Brown responded and found his reliable running back Carlson with a 7-yard screen pass for his fifth and final scoring toss.

Tate Staley picked off a desperation Madsen interception at the goal line to end any thought of a Cavemen comeback before one final Madsen to Roberts connection rounded out the final score 45-28.

“Maddux scrambled and he’s a really good quarterback,” Staley said. “He’s got good eyes, but we had pressure coming up and he had to get the ball out quick. I just ended up being in the right spot at the right time.”

Next up for the Chargers is a relatively unknown challenge in Weber as the 6A field whittles down to a final four.

“That region is tough up there always and we’ll have to be ready to go and bring our ‘A’ game because they’re a good team,” Kjar said.