DRAPER — Severe weather and a 30-minute lightning delay couldn't stop Corner Canyon as it took care of business at home in a 42-7 thumping over East Saturday.
While both teams had to adjust to the constant rain and harsh winds, the Chargers, yet again, displayed their high-powered offense and stout defense, producing at a high level regardless of the conditions.
After hosting two games earlier in the day — a 31-7 Syracuse upset victory over Brighton and a 54-0 Timpview shutout over Kearns — Corner Canyon finally took the field in a non-region matchup against East. The Chargers couldn't have asked for a better start to the game as the offense put up 21 unanswered points through the first quarter.
With high winds making it difficult to pass the ball at the beginning of the game, both teams turned to the ground game, but only Corner Canyon was able to find success. Corner Canyon quarterback Devin Brown and running back Dylan Carlson consistently found large gaps in the Leopard defense and the Chargers marched right down the field to score on their first drive.
Carlson literally walked into the end zone on a 5-yard rushing touchdown without being touched by an East defender.
On the ensuing series, East fumbled on a poor hand off and Corner Canyon recovered the fumble on East's 36-yard line. The Chargers found the end zone again a few plays later. Despite the fierce winds, Brown completed a 35-yard pass to receiver Cody Hagen, who battled his way to the 1-yard line. Brown then walk into the end zone untouched and the Chargers took a 14-0 in the first quarter.
Corner Canyon's defense was relentless on East's next series and lived in the backfield before the Leopards could seemingly get a play off. With every gap closed off and multiple defenders in the backfield on several occasions, the Leopards were forced to punt on a quick three-and-out.
As Corner took over, they continued to attack through the air and found success; Brown connected with Hagen again, this time for a 20-yard completion in the end zone behind four East defenders for another score.
The teams went on to trade possessions as East struggled to find any sense of offensive rhythm and were forced to punt multiple times. Meanwhile, Brown committed a rare Charger turnover and was intercepted by East defender Spencer Black on a poorly aimed pass. But East couldn't capitalize on the opportunity and were again forced to punt.
The Chargers went 99 yards to take a 28-0 lead on a 37-yard touchdown run by Tre Kofe, who juked a defender out of his shoes, with just under eight minutes left to play in the first half. The Leopards, once again, couldn't capitalize before the halftime break after being penalized multiples times, despite several big runs by Amini Amone, who claimed a majority of the reps for East.
Corner Canyon started out of the break hot, but failed to convert on a fourth-down attempt. That slight momentum shift was enough for East quarterback Sione Vailahi to escape for 40 yards down the sideline on a QB keeper.
But Mother Nature had other plans and the game was delayed 30 minutes due to lightning spotted in the area. East showed life after the delay as Vailahi escaped again for a 53-yard pickup and touchdown — the first and only of the night for the Leopards. Omar Shah, son of Utah cornerbacks coach Sharrieff Shah, also managed two interceptions for East.
It didn't matter, though, as Corner Canyon remained in control an extended their lead and claimed the blowout win over East.
"They did a really good job," Corner Canyon head coach Eric Kjar said of his team's performance. "I was happy with how we played defensively because they are just so tough to defend with what they do, and they do a lot of different formations, which is something we don't see ever until we play them, so that part was pretty different for us.
"Offensively, we were pretty good sometimes execution wise, but then other times it was pretty bad, so we need to be a lot better on offense as a unit, especially when we are in good situations."
Corner Canyon will look next to host Bingham Friday in what could be the most anticipated game of the season as two of the biggest in-state powerhouses face off against one another. The game will take place at 7 p.m. MT.