Corner Canyon routs American Fork 49-14 for the state 6A football championship

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) American ForkÕs Jaxon Gregory scores a touchdown. Corner Canyon High School takes on American Fork High School during the 6A State Championship football title, Nov. 22, 2019 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Three times during Corner Canyon’s opening drive, American Fork’s defense made a third-down stop. All three times, the Chargers converted a fourth-down play, including a touchdown pass.

The theme of Friday’s Class 6A state championship football game became clear: No matter what the Cavemen tried to do, Corner Canyon’s domination was inevitable. Even when the Chargers’ next two possessions ended with a fourth-down stop and an interception, American Fork’s defensive success was only temporary.

Corner Canyon proceeded to score touchdowns on six straight drives, storming to a 49-14 victory Friday at Rice-Eccles Stadium that gave the Chargers a 26th consecutive win.

Cole Hagen threw for 349 yards and four touchdowns and Dylan Simons ran for three scores. The Chargers’ defense intercepted four passes as Corner Canyon (14-0) asserted itself in another state title game — a year after winning the 5A title. The Chargers’ first TD drive may have taken 16 plays to reach the end zone, but they got there via those fourth-down plays.

The Draper school just kept coming. “We always tell our kids we’re going to be super aggressive,” coach Eric Kjar said. “It doesn’t matter really, situationally. We’ve always kind of preached that to them. As a coach, you’ve got to kind of stand by it.”

The Chargers’ command of the game resulted in a 42-7 lead and a running clock (via the 35-point rule) as of midway through the third quarter. Hagen’s last TD pass came with 5:00 remaining. “We just knew we had to come out and play aggressive from start to finish,” Hagen said.

“People get critical every once in a while because we are that way,” Kjar said, “but that’s what we do. That’s who we are, and that’s what we try to instill in our kids.”

That includes Noah Kjar, who caught three touchdown passes to create another father-son celebration on Utah high school football’s biggest stage. The family theme extended through the offense as Hagen’s brother Cody made a team-high eight receptions for 74 yards.

“It’s just fun to have him out there,” Cole Hagen said.

Corner Canyon led only 7-0 for 1½ quarters. There was no hope of stopping them all day, though, even though Peyton Wilson had 10 tackles and an interception for the Cavemen, who had lost 59-28 to Corner Canyon in the regular season.

And the Chargers’ defensive performance was such that Hagen got to repeat his quote of last December, when he insisted that group “kicks our butts” in practice. Jaxon Gregory ran for 146 yards and a touchdown and Devin Downing caught seven passes for 85 yards and a score for American Fork (10-5), but Corner Canyon’s defense otherwise was relentless.

Josh Wilson made 16 tackles and Luke Cahoon added 11, while Dylan Millich intercepted two passes and Quinn Andra and Cahoon each picked off one.

“They’ve had our back for the last three years,” Noah Kjar said.