The No. 4 Skyridge football team was forced to play from behind after the first few minutes of the 6A state championship game on Friday afternoon (Nov. 17) at Rice-Eccles Stadium, and ultimately the Falcons were never able to get over the hump as they fell to No. 2 Corner Canyon 41-27.
Skyridge was awarded the silver trophy and finished the year with an 11-3 overall record.
The Chargers got the ball first and despite their own miscues producing multiple penalties during the drive, they got on the board first with a 24-yard throw at the 7:41 point of the initial quarter.
Skyridge had to punt after the second series of the first Falcon possession, and Corner Canyon marched 83 yards and scored again on a 4-yard quarterback run. A penalty produced a 35-yard PAT try and the kick was missed, leaving the score at 13-0 for the Chargers with 1:56 left in the period.
Starting from the 20-yard line, senior quarterback Jackson Stevens moved the ball smartly down the field with big passes to senior wide receiver Jack Burke for 20 yards, senior wide receiver La’a Kalama for 13 yards and to senior wide receiver Trevan McClellan for 34 yards to move his team into the red zone.
Two plays later, Burke made an 8-yard grab to get the Falcons on the board with 35 seconds to play. Junior kicker Blake Hestermade the PAT to narrow the gap to 7-13.
The next Corner Canyon drive went only backwards with more penalties, a bad snap and a sack bringing on a third down with 53 yards to go. After the Chargers only managed to pick up a few yards, they punted and downed the ball at the 3-yard line.
Again using his bevy of fine receivers, Stevens worked the ball down the field only to get stuck inside the opposing 10-yard line. Skyridge elected to kick a field goal and Hester made good from 22 yards to reduce the advantage further to 10-13 with 2:33 remaining to the break.
Two key Falcon defenders sustained injuries during the subsequent Corner Canyon drive and the Chargers were able to put two touchdowns on the board inside the final minute to inflate their advantage to 27-10 heading to the locker room.
Skyridge got the ball first in the third quarter but once again were stymied after reaching the red zone. Hester kicked a 32-yard field goal to make it 13-27 at the 6:57 mark.
Corner Canyon took all of 45 seconds to answer that score with a rushing touchdown to stretch the lead once more to 34-13.
Falcon junior running back Zaden Selu came up big during the next drive with substantive runs. Combined with several Burke receptions, Skyridge reached the 5-yard line and Selu finished the job to reduce the deficit to two scores again at 20-34.
The Falcons were then able to finally get a stop, as senior defensive lineman Ian Mariner and senior linebacker Jackson Fenton made key tackles and senior linebacker Austin Barker and senior defensive back Mark Baird both got deflections to force the Chargers to punt.
With a shorter field to work with, runs by Selu and junior running back Jared Iakopo plus catches by senior wide receiver Trent Call and McClellan moved the ball to the 2-yard line. With second effort, Stevens broke the plane and Hester’s kick narrowed the gap to one TD at 27-34 with 7:22 to play.
However, Corner Canyon responded immediately, scoring again in 23 seconds. Skyridge got two more chances after that, but the Falcons were unable to reach the end zone again.