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Draper • The beginning of the game was kind of a nightmare loop for East High Saturday night.
Facing a Corner Canyon team on a 41-game winning streak, the last thing the visiting Leopards needed was this kind of a playback.
Against a fierce headwind that would later bring rain and a 30-minute lightning delay, the East offense was unable to move the ball positioned deep in its own territory. Then, short punts and one turnover gave Corner Canyon prime striking position.
And that sequence played itself out three times in a row, resulting in Charger touchdowns on each occasion, as Corner Canyon rolled to a 42-7 victory. It was the nightcap of three games played at the Chargers’ stadium on Saturday, with Syracuse beating Brighton 31-7 and Timpview blowing out Kearns 54-0.
“I was happy how we played defensively, because they’re just so tough to defend with what they do and they do a lot of different formations,” Chargers coach Eric Kjar said. “It’s something we don’t see, really ever.”
East (1-1) only mustered four yards in its first possession and the fourth-down punt only went 16 yards. The consequence? Corner Canyon (2-0), which last week clobbered Farmington 72-21, scored four plays later on a three-yard run by Dylan Carlsen.
The Chargers then went up 14-0 on a two-yard jaunt by quarterback Devin Brown with 5:33 left in the first quarter. That TD was set up by a fumble when East botched a handoff exchange at it’s own 36.
Before the Leopards were arrest the opening game fall, still in the first quarter, Corner Canyon got the ball near midfield and finished off a quick five-play drive with a 16-yard pass from Brown to senior Cody Hagen.
“We had to swap up our whole defense, just to prepare for East,” Chargers senior defensive lineman Brad Critchfield said. “I felt like we executed pretty good. We kind of struggled at the beginning of the second half, but we pulled it together.”
The hosts went up 28-0 in the second quarter when running back Tre Kofe broke loose for a 38-yard rush to the end zone.
Only four minutes into the third quarter, lightning forced an emptying of the stadium and a delay.
Run-oriented East, when play did resume, surprised Corner Canyon on the first play from scrimmage.
The Leopards, who got 94 yards on the ground from junior Amini Amone, this time utilized quarterback Siona Vailahi. The sophomore tore loose for a 53-yard run on a keeper for East’s only touchdown.
Vailahi ended up with 136 yards rushing but was knocked out of the game on a hit by Corner Canyon’s Micah Wilson late in the third quarter.
Meanwhile, the Chargers’ highly-touted quarterback was having an up-and-down game. Brown threw for 231 yards but was intercepted three times — the last two by East junior linebacker Omar Shah.
The scoring closed, however, when Brown found Blaze DeGracie on a 3-yard pass midway through the fourth period.
“Offensively, we were pretty good at times execution-wise. But at other times, it was pretty bad,” Kjar said.
“We need to be a lot better on offense as a unit, especially when we have good situations. Like to have good situations and really squander them,” the Corner Canyon coach added.