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High school football: Corner Canyon defense leads the way in big victory over Skyridge

SHARE High school football: Corner Canyon defense leads the way in big victory over Skyridge
Corner Canyon’s Isaac Wilson, looks to pass as Skyridge and Corner Canyon play a football game in Lehi on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. Corner Canyon won 21-17.

Corner Canyon’s Isaac Wilson, looks to pass as Skyridge and Corner Canyon play a football game in Lehi on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022. Corner Canyon won 21-17.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Corner Canyon went on the road Friday night against Skyridge and picked up a 21-17 win against the state’s top rated team. Not only did the Chargers give the Falcons their first defeat, but they also limited Skyridge to season worsts in points allowed and points scored. 

The Falcons entered the matchup undefeated, having scored 42 or more points in five of its first six games while winning all six contests by an average margin of 40.

“They’re a really really good team,” Corner Canyon head coach Eric Kjar said. “They’re defense is really really good. We made a lot of mistakes … but our kids battled.” 

Coming into Friday’s showdown, Corner Canyon had two losses, marking its most regular season setbacks since the 2016 season. Still, the Chargers were excited for the challenge.  

“That’s why we’re playing high school football is to play games like these,” Kjar said. “As much stress as they are, they’re fun too. … We’ve really kind of had some tough games at times and we haven’t played super well. It’s fun to have one where we played better in the fourth quarter and finished stuff off the right way.”

The Falcons’ and the Chargers’ meeting was one of the biggest games of the season, pitting two Region 4 powers against each other. Friday’s result could be the deciding factor for who wins what has been the best region in the state since the introduction of the 6A classification.

Over the last four seasons the 6A state championship game has been played between two Region 4 foes, making Friday’s contest a potential preview of things to come. 

If the schools meet again, the Falcons hope to see their starting quarterback and Utah State commit McCae Hillstead on the field. Hillstead’s absence did not go unnoticed as he sat out for the second week in a row.

Without Hillstead, the Corner Canyon defense held strong, keeping Skyridge scoreless on every one of its possessions that began on the Falcons’ own side of the field. 

“They played so good,” Kjar said. “Our defense did what they were supposed to do. … Defense saved us, for sure big time.”

Corner Canyon trailed 17-14 going into the half, but the Chargers’ defense shut Skyridge out in the second half, forcing two promising possessions to end in turnovers for the Falcons in the fourth quarter. Corner Canyon senior linebacker and future BYU Cougar Owen Borg secured both turnovers for the Chargers, picking the Falcons off on two consecutive drives. 

“Coach (Cody) Gardner had me in the right spots,” Borg said. “He knew exactly what to call. It was all him. I just executed the play that we’ve been practicing all week.” 

The Corner Canyon offense had the lone score of the second half sandwiched between Borg’s interceptions. The Chargers drove 59 yards, taking their first lead of the game on a three-yard touchdown run by senior running back Drew Patterson.

Though neither school is more than a decade old, both Skyridge and Corner Canyon know a thing or two about big games, having faced off against each other in their fair share of consequential contests.

Friday was another closely contested matchup between the two teams that saw the Chargers extend their winning streak over the Falcons to five games.

Both schools continue play in Region 4 next Friday on the road when Skyridge heads to Lone Peak and Corner Canyon travels to take on Westlake. Kickoff time for the two games is set for 7 pm.