In the home stretch of one of the most dominant high school football seasons in state history, Corner Canyon wasn’t about to let ‘what ifs’ be the lasting memory of an obstacle-riddled 2020 season.
The Chargers absolutely dominated Friday’s 6A state championship at Cedar Valley High School, turning in probably their most complete performance of the season in a resounding 45-7 victory over region foe Lone Peak.
“We knew we didn’t play as good as we should’ve the first time we played them, and we felt like we could’ve played better, and our kids came out in all facets ready to go.” — Corner Canyon coach Eric Kjar
Many expected a close game after Corner Canyon beat Lone Peak by 10 points during the regular season, but the rematch was realistically over by the end of the first quarter with the Chargers already ahead by three touchdowns.
“We knew we didn’t play as good as we should’ve the first time we played them, and we felt like we could’ve played better, and our kids came out in all facets ready to go,” said Corner Canyon coach Eric Kjar, whose record in four seasons with the team now stands at 51-1.
Lone Peak forced some key turnovers in the first meeting and got defensive stops, but Corner Canyon finished drives off early and often in the rematch. It finished the game with 480 yards of total offense and a state championship state record 31 first downs. Conversely, its defense limited Lone Peak to a paltry 132 yards of offense.
“That’s what we talked about all week, just coming out and finishing, finishing the game off the way it was supposed to be. That’s what I was really happy with,” said Kjar.
Corner Canyon quarterback Jaxson Dart capped his magical senior season passing for 329 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for 116 more yards and a score.
He finishes the season with a state record 67 touchdown passes, and then 79 total touchdowns. He came come up 43 yards shy of the single season passing yards state record, but did set a new total offense state record, finishing with 5,867 yards of total offense.
None of that mattered to him.
“My focus this whole year was just to win a state championship. Just win games and I just felt like production with winning games, those things would come along,” said Dart.
So while many of his teammates celebrated winning a third straight state championship afterward, for Dart he finally got to experience that euphoria for himself. He was quick to attribute much of the team’s overall success to his new coaches.
“It starts with the coaching staff, they had a great foundation and the kids buy into it. We just have so much trust in them, and we know that if we just do our job they’re put us in the best situation to succeed,” said Dart.
One of the most welcoming players for Dart at Corner Canyon this season was four-year starting lineman Jackson Light. He said he’s humbled to have been a key blocker during Dart’s record-breaking season.
“I think it just shows how good J Dart is as a quarterback and a person. He works his butt each day and I’m humbled to block for him,” said Light, who finished his career with a 51-1 record as a senior along with fellow senior Noah Kjar.
- Watch replay: Corner Canyon 45, Lone Peak 7
Dart threw touchdown passes to four different receivers on Friday, while he and Dylan Carlson also rushed for scores.
Like it often does, Corner Canyon took the opening kickoff and marched straight down field with Dart connecting with Noah Kjar on a 9-yard TD reception for the 7-0 lead 7:14 into the game.
Lone Peak’s ensuing drive was just as telling, as the Knights went three and out.
Ahead of the game Lone Peak coach Bart Brockbank said his team couldn’t afford quick offensive possessions — especially turnovers — where it gave the ball right back to Corner Canyon’s explosive offense.
Unfortunately for Brockbank and his team, that’s exactly how the first half unfolded with two turnovers and only four first downs.
After Lone Peak’s first punt of the game, Dart drove his team 79 yards in nine plays capping it with a 17-yard touchdown run.
On the first play of the Knights’ next drive, a bad snap resulted in a fumble recovery for Corner Canyon.
The Chargers punched it in a few plays later on a Carlson 1-yard plunge for the 21-0 lead at the 1:46 mark of the first quarter.
Lone Peak’s offense picked up a couple of first downs on its next two possessions, but those drives stalled with a punt and a turnover on downs.
Corner Canyon eventually stretched the lead to 28-0 on a Talmage Handley 15-yard touchdown reception late in the quarter, with Cody Christensen capping the first half scoring with a 31-yard field goal as time expired for the 31-0 lead.
The 31-0 lead was the same score Corner Canyon led East by at one point in the second quarter in the 6A semifinals.