Our throw game on offense was as efficient as it's been all year. Michael Ebeling did a great job, our receivers did a great job making plays. And defensively, that's what they've been doing all year. —Don Eck, Corner Canyon coach
DRAPER — Corner Canyon certainly didn’t look like a first-year school in its playoff debut on Friday night. In fact, the Region 7 co-champs played with a confidence level you’d expect more from a tradition-rich program, not a newcomer.
Corner Canyon dominated on both sides of the ball and rolled into the 4A quarterfinals after a convincing 42-21 first-round victory over Spanish Fork.
Coach Don Eck said the victory was nine months in the making.
“They’re fabulous kids. I’ve loved these kids since Day 1 back in February when I first met them. We started working out at Jordan High School and Hillcrest High School, we had 70 of them over there every night. They’ve just worked their butts off,” said Eck.
Corner Canyon racked up more than 500 yards of total offense en route to the victory, while defensively it frustrated Spanish Fork’s passing attack all game.
“Our throw game on offense was as efficient as it’s been all year. Michael Ebeling did a great job, our receivers did a great job making plays,” said Eck. “And defensively, that’s what they’ve been doing all year.”
With the victory, first-year Corner Canyon advances to the 4A quarterfinals and will travel to No. 1 East next Friday, a challenge Eck said everyone is excited about.
The play of Ebeling is a big reason the Chargers are moving on. The junior completed 13 of 19 passes for 286 yards and four touchdowns and also rushed for 49 yards and a score.
Ebeling began to take over the game after Spanish Fork scored on its opening drive for the 7-0 lead. He hit Garrett Michaeli on a 59-yard deep ball at the 7:58 mark of the first quarter to tie the game at 7-7.
In the second quarter, the Chargers started to pull away for good. Ebeling extended the lead to 14-7 with a 26-yard TD run early in the quarter, and then connected with Izaac Brinton and Zach Franchowiak on TD strikes of 9 and 34 yards to increase the lead to 28-7 by halftime.
“We had great practices the whole week, and it really came through,” said Ebeling. “I feel like we pulled away in the second quarter ’cause our coaches called great plays, we had a great game plan all game. We picked them apart.”
Ebeling’s counterpart wasn’t nearly as fortunate in the first half. Spanish Fork’s Jason Money only completed 8 of 24 passes in the first half for 77 yards — and he was sacked five times.
“He was moving his feet a lot in the pocket, he never got comfortable in there, and that’s what our defense has been doing all year,” said Eck.
Leading 28-7 at the half, Corner Canyon only needed 56 seconds to put the game out of reach as Tanner Putnam returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown.
“At halftime we talked about our defense getting a stop and offense scoring on the first drive, but the defense got the score for us,” said Eck.
The defense finished with two interceptions and only allowed 135 passing yards. Spanish Fork added rushing touchdowns by Money and Leilua late in the game, but the outcome had long since been decided.