High school football: Corner Canyon rallies past Skyridge in Region 4 barnburner to stay undefeated
Down 12 in fourth quarter, the Chargers scored twice in final eight minutes for 35th straight win
LEHI — Top-ranked Corner Canyon’s offense sputtered most of the game on Thursday, but when it needed a couple of fourth quarter drives to try and rally past Skyridge and remain perfect on the season, quarterback Jaxson Dart delivered.
Dart connected with Noah Kjar and Cody Hagen on TD passes in the final eight minutes, including the game-winner to Hagen with 59 seconds left as Corner Canyon rallied for an improbable 29-26 victory over Skyridge in a Region 4 showdown that exceeded the hype surrounding the game.
“This means so much more than just a normal game for sure. Those games where we’re just killing them and we’re out the second half isn’t very fun. Just to be able to keep battling the whole game was so much fun.” — Corner Canyon wide receiver Cody Hagen
“This means so much more than just a normal game for sure,” said Hagen. “Those games where we’re just killing them and we’re out the second half isn’t very fun. Just to be able to keep battling the whole game was so much fun.”
After conceding the late touchdown, Skyridge moved the ball all the way down to the 3-yard line, but Corner Canyon’s defense held strong on a QB keeper as time expired.
With the win, Corner Canyon improved to 9-0 on the season and extended its winning streak to 35 straight over the past three years.
While the offense was clutch in the end, Corner Canyon’s steady defense was the difference throughout the second half keeping Skyridge off the scoreboard after trailing 26-14 at the half.
With the way the offense was struggling, it didn’t look like those defensive stops would matter.
On Corner Canyon’s opening two drives of the second half, it moved the ball into the red zone each time, but one drive stalled on downs and the other on a sack fumble.
Despite rarely ever being in that position, Corner Canyon’s offensive players weren’t panicked.
“We all knew we could stay in it, and we all know our offense is capable of that,” said Hagen.
On the third drive of the half, Dart finally started to get things going as he ripped off a pair of long runs to help move the chains and then hit Kjar on a 16-yard TD pass at the 7:24 mark, cutting the deficit to 26-21.
After another big defensive stop, Dart again ripped off some chunk plays with his feet to move the ball down into the red zone. Facing a fourth-and-goal at the 4-yard line, Dart hit a wide open Hagen on a slant route after a double move in the end zone for the go ahead score.
Skyridge didn’t go quietly in the final minute, moving the ball down to the 6-yard line with six seconds remaining. Instead of electing to kick the field goal and send the game into overtime, it went for the win but it came up 3 yards short on McCae Hillstead’s scramble attempt.
Hillstead finished with three touchdown passes and one rushing score, while Jeter Fenton shouldered much of the offensive work with 29 carries for 143 yards.
While Skyridge’s offense struggled in the second half, it enjoyed an outstanding first half.
Skyridge struck first on a Teagan Calton 25-yard TD reception from Hillstead, but Corner Canyon responded in impressive fashion with Dart connecting with Hagen and Jett Meine on back-to-back 4-yard TD passes to put the Chargers ahead 14-6 midway through the first quarter.
The scores came just 80 seconds apart as Trevor Ogden intercepted a slant pass by Hillstead on the second play of Skyridge’s drive.
Despite Corner Canyon’s quick touchdowns, Skyridge’s offense didn’t panic and responded with an impressive 12-play scoring drive that Hillstead capped with a 9-yard TD pass in the corner of the end zone to James Palmer.
The key play of the first half came on Corner Canyon’s ensuing drive on what was designed to be a screen pass. Instead, Skyridge defensive lineman Stone Mulitalo stepped in front of a Dart pass at the 10-yard line and raced 70 yards the other way setting the Falcons up inside the red zone.
Hillstead scored on a 10-yard scamper four plays later as Skyridge regained the 20-13 lead.
Hillstead wasn’t done though. He threw his third TD pass of the first half on Skyridge’s next drive, this one a 3-yarder to Mitch Adamson as his team extended the lead to 26-14 heading into halftime.
The Falcons had a chance to really put the game out of reach just before halftime, but fumbled the ball on a first and goal at the 1-yard line. The defensive stop helped keep it a two score game for Corner Canyon.