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High school football: Lone Peak hoping to spoil Corner Canyon’s historic season in highly-anticipated 6A championship

SHARE High school football: Lone Peak hoping to spoil Corner Canyon’s historic season in highly-anticipated 6A championship
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Lone Peak takes on Corner Canyon during a high school football game at Lone Peak High School in Highland on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020.

Yukai Peng, Deseret News

Corner Canyon began the season ranked No. 1 in the state of Utah, which has never been in question. Nationally it’s been shooting up the rankings as well, currently sitting at No. 8 in the MaxPreps rankings.

With that upward trajectory, the program has received more and more attention, whether it’s been the byproduct of the 39-game winning streak, Jaxson Dart’s single-season passing TD state record, Noah Kjar’s all-time receptions state record or coach Eric Kjar’s 50-1 record at Corner Canyon.

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Lone Peak (12-1) vs. Corner Canyon (13-0)

6A state championship

Friday’s, 11 a.m. (At Cedar Valley High School)

Parry’s Power Guide: Corner Canyon by 5

All-time series: Corner Canyon leads 3-0

Coach vs. coach: Corner Canyon’s Eric Kjar leads Lone Peak’s Bart Brockbank, 3-0

Last meeting: Sept. 25 (Week 7), Corner Canyon 35, Lone Peak 25

Those notable achievements will feel a bit hollow for Corner Canyon if it doesn’t back them up with one more victory against region foe Lone Peak in Friday’s 6A state championship at Cedar Valley High School (11 a.m.).

“When you’ve sacrificed and you’ve put a lot of time in and weight room work, early mornings, all those things that factor into it, you definitely want to have it pay off. It’s the same way for Lone Peak or anybody that gets to this point, the only way to pay it off is to win the state championship,” said Corner Canyon coach Eric Kjar.

The 6A title game is a rematch of a week 7 game in which Corner Canyon overcame a 19-14 deficit late in the third quarter to rally for the 35-25 win.

These teams met in the semifinals at the University of Utah a year ago, with Corner Canyon rolling to the 34-7 win.

With one more victory, Corner Canyon would become the 114th team in state history to finish with a perfect record, and it would begin the 2021 season on a 40-game winning streak, with Duchesne’s state-record 48-game winning streak within sight.

At the moment, those accolades don’t meant anything. The focus for the Chargers is all about dealing with Lone Peak’s relentless pressure, most notably on defense and special teams.

In Lone Peak’s earlier loss to Corner Canyon — its only loss of the season — it forced two turnovers, including one that John Henry Daley turned into a touchdown.

Last week in Lone Peak’s 28-24 come-from-behind win over Skyridge, Daley blocked a key punt in the third quarter that swung momentum the Knights way. Than after Skyridge had taken a 24-21 lead with 6:34 left in the game, Kao Hansen returned the ensuing kickoff 94 yards for the winning score.

For the season, Lone Peak has recorded five defensive touchdowns and four special teams TDs.

“Daley is just relentless as a pass rusher. He might be the best pass rusher I’ve coached against in 17 years, brings it relentlessly. Just their whole team, they’re an attacking defense that causes a lot of pressure and problems and you just have to offset that and prepare your kids for it as best you can,” said Kjar.

While Lone Peak’s defense can be relentless at times, the same can be said about Corner Canyon’s offense, which is averaging 48.2 ppg.

Dart has passed for 4,353 yards and a state-record 63 touchdowns this season. He needs 374 yards to become the single-season all-time passing yards leader as well.

He’s also rushed for 1,076 yards and 11 TDs.

The Chargers have two 1,000-yard receivers, Noah Kjar and Cody Hagen, while Talmage Handley has hauled in 836 yards. They’ve accounted for 54 of Darts’ TD passes.

Lone Peak coach Bart Brockbank said half the battle when playing Corner Canyon is limiting possessions.

“Obviously they’re a great team. We have to control the ball on offense and get points out of it. If you can do that, it reduces the number of times they’re on offense which obviously increases your chances drastically,” said Brockbank.

Lone Peak can’t afford many three-and-outs or turnovers, or it will quickly find itself in a huge hole like East did in the semifinals, falling behind 31-0 in the second quarter.

Brockbank wasn’t able to coach in Lone Peak’s semifinal win after testing positive for COVID-19 last week under the UHSAA participation protocols for the final two weeks of the season. Brockbank said Tuesday he’s still not sure yet if he’ll be able to coach this week either.

He watched the semifinal win on TV last Thursday, and said it was, “terrible. I couldn’t sleep that night. My heart was beating so hard.”

In Zoom meetings with his players since that win, he’s been impressed by how quickly their focus had turned toward the end goal of 2020.

“Everybody knows the road through the championship is going to be through (Corner Canyon). I think the mentality the kids have had going into the playoffs, that’s our goal and that’s who we’re going to have to go through. So I think beating Skyridge it seemed the team was super excited, but I was surprised at how quickly the mood had already turned to we have one left,” said Brockbank.

Lone Peak is making its fourth state championship game appearance in the past six years. Its lone title during that stretch came in 2018. Corner Canyon won the 5A state title that same year, its final year in 5A before making the jump to the state’s largest classification.


Lone Peak statistical breakdown

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Lone Peak player to watch
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Luke Romney, QB

Scoring offense: 37.1 ppg (4th in 6A)

Scoring defense: 13.1 ppg (2nd in 6A)

Passing leader: Jonah Heimuli (102-180, 56.7%, 1,258 yards, 2 TDs), Luke Romney (68-129, 1,224 yards, 14 TDs)

Rushing leaders: Jaxson Willits (116 carries, 737 yards, 7 TDs)

Receiving leaders: Weston Covey (43 rec., 743 yards, 12 TDs)

Tackles leaders: Luke Durfey (116 tackles), John Henry Daley (79 tackles)

Sack leaders: John Henry Daley (22 sacks)

Interception leaders: Christian Arrington (4 INTs)


Corner Canyon statistical breakdown

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Corner Canyon player to watch
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Noah Kjar, WR

Scoring offense: 48.2 ppg (1st in 6A)

Scoring defense: 17.1 ppg (5th in 6A)

Passing leader: Jaxson Dart (214-309, 69.3%, 4,353 yards, 63 TDs, 3 INTs)

Rushing leaders: Jaxson Dart (112 carries, 1,076 yards, 11 TDs), Dylan Carlson (71 carries, 468 yards, 5 TDs)

Receiving leaders: Noah Kjar (88 rec., 1,795 yards, 21 TDs), Cody Hagen (46 rec., 1,051 yards, 17 TDs), Talmage Handley (38 rec., 836 yards, 16 TDs)

Tackles leaders: Harrison Taggart (135 tackles), Micah Wilson (127 tackles)

Sack leaders: Harrison Taggart (4 sacks)

Interception leaders: Harrison Taggart (3 INTs)


Felts Facts for Lone Peak High School

All-time record: 207-85 (24 years)


Region championships: 14 (1999, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 co, 2005, 2009-co, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 co, 2015, 2016, 2018 co)

Playoff appearances: 22

All-time playoff record: 41-19


State championships: 2 (2011, 2018)


State championship record: 2-4
 


Felt’s Facts for Corner Canyon High School

All-time record: 78-20 (8 years)


Region championships: 6 (2013 co, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)


Playoff appearances: 7

All-time playoff record: 17-4


State championships: 2 (2018, 2019)


State championship record: 2-0