Isaac Wilson said he’s never run farther, and his coach said he’s never seen him run faster, and the combination of the two equated to the most important touchdown for Corner Canyon High School in the past three years.
Wilson’s 54-yard touchdown run straight through the heart of Skyridge’s defense — the same defense that shut Wilson down in last year’s 6A state championship — was the knockout blow that led Corner Canyon to the 41-27 victory over Skyridge on Friday night in the 6A title game.
“I’m gonna be honest, that was the farthest one of my life. I’m never doing that again,” joked Wilson about his third touchdown run of the day that pushed the lead to two touchdowns with 6:59 remaining in the game.
The run was the exclamation mark on a sensational senior season for the Ute commit in a game the Chargers never trailed but never seemed completely in control of until his big burst up the middle.
Wilson finished the game carrying the ball 20 times for 160 yards and three touchdowns while he completed 15 of 23 passes for 251 yards and two scores.
“He’s someone we’ve leaned on all year offensively for sure. We just kept trying to feed him. They were kind of giving us some stuff where we could keep running our draw play, and he just answered the bell. It was awesome. He showed some speed, too. We always tease him about that fast, but he showed a little bit there,” said Corner Canyon coach Eric Kjar.
Wilson finished the season with 4,508 passing yards and 49 passing TDs, which rank fourth and 10th in state history respectively. He also finished with 1,270 rushing yards and 13 TDs on the ground.
His performance helped Corner Canyon reclaim the 6A state title after back-to-back runner-up finishes the past two seasons to Lone Peak and Skyridge. Prior to that, the Chargers had won three straight state championships.
Kjar joked that at times he wondered if Corner Canyon would ever get over the hump again after the disappointment of those runner-up finishes. All week though, Kjar made sure his players didn’t feel that same type of pressure and anxiety.
“The big thing to our kids all week was to play loose, play relaxed and go play football,” said Kjar, who credited the senior leadership of his captains for leading that mentality into the game.
The stats are proof of how loose Corner Canyon played as it totally 470 yards of offense and had four scoring drives of less than one minute.
Skyridge played with an equally relaxed mentality as it racked up 509 yards of total offense and moved the ball often at will through the middle of the field as it finished with 30 first downs.
The Falcons, however, twice settled for field goals despite having first-and-goal situations, which was the difference in the game in many ways.
Corner Canyon jumped out fast, using a big kick return by semifinal hero Bryton Brady to take a 7-0 lead less than five minutes into the game as Wilson hit Jerome Myles on a 24-yard pass that Myles laid out to catch on the edge of the end zone.
The Chargers stretched the lead to 13-0 at the 1:56 mark of the second quarter on Wilson’s first of three TD runs. A muffed punt by Skyridge — the only turnover of the game — set the offense up with great field position at Skyridge’s 21 yard line.
The Falcons responded with a great drive of their own, trimming the lead to 13-7 as Jack Burke hauled in a 14-yard TD reception from Jackson Stevens, who finished the season with 51 TD passes.
Corner Canyon responded quickly and moved the ball down to Skyridge’s 13, but a bizarre sequence in which the center snapped the ball when Wilson wasn’t ready, and then another 23-yard sack had the Chargers facing a third down and 53.
Skyridge’s offense built on the momentum and drove 91 yards and took 7:22 off the clock, but despite a first-and-goal situation at the 3 yard line, it was forced to settle for a field goal and still trailed 13-10 with 2:33 remaining in the half.
Corner Canyon’s big play offense struck twice before halftime though to push the lead to 27-10. The first was on a Wilson 5-yard run with 48 seconds left and the second on a Wilson 26-yard TD pass to Myles with one second left in the half.
“We knew they would pay attention to Tate (Kjar) because they were bracketing him a ton, so we ran a little through him, and then ran Jerome on an out and up to single him up and Isaac was able to hang in there and throw one downfield,” said coach Kjar.
On that drive, Corner Canyon drove 70 yards in three plays and just 23 seconds.
“Coach Kjar has ran us through that so many times. I can’t tell you how many practices we’ve run where we’ve gone off that situation, 30 seconds left, one timeout, we’ve got to get down the field and score,” said Wilson.
Despite the large deficit, Skyridge’s offense came out of halftime and kept churning out first downs as it moved the ball 68 yards in 11 plays but again had to settle for a Blake Hester chip-shot field goal and still trailed 27-13.
Corner Canyon answered quickly again, with Brady running into the end zone from 23 yards out in another 3-play scoring drive to pushed the lead to 34-13 with 6:12 left in the third quarter.
Skyridge made things interesting despite three three-TD deficit, and following back-to-back touchdowns from Zaeden Selu and Stevens, it only trailed 34-27 with plenty of time to try and get a stop defensively and tie the game.
Wilson dashed that hope in a matter of seconds with his 54-yard scoring run with 6:59 remaining in the game.
It was the 114th touchdown Wilson was responsible for in his career and capped a night he sensed would unfold the way it did.
“I had a gut feeling that something great was going to happen tonight,” Wilson said, “and I mean, looking at us now it has. We came together as a team and won a state championship.”