High school football: Corner Canyon Chargers 2014 preview

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 6 2014 11:15 p.m. MDT

Corner Canyon 2014 season preview

Note:Corner Canyon finished with a 6-6 overall record in 2013 and tied for first in Region 7 with a 5-1 record. It lost to East in the 4A quarterfinals.

DRAPER — Despite being in existence for only one year, members of the Corner Canyon football team look like they have been playing together for their entire lives.

Last season, the Chargers got off to a bumpy start in the first three weeks, dropping all three contests by a combined 12 points. Then something clicked.

The dynamic duo of childhood best friends Riley Ogden (RB) and Michael Ebeling (QB) suddenly emerged and became unstoppable.

“Oh yeah, we’ve always had this great chemistry,” Ogden said of his childhood friend and teammate. “Mike and I grew up together playing catch all throughout little league up until sophomore year, junior year and senior year. The chemistry building has just really helped and that’s probably what I would have to attribute it to.”

Ogden ran the ball a team-high 127 times for 567 yards and eight TDs in 2013. He also hooked up with his long-time pal Ebeling in the back of the end zone four more times and totaled 108 receiving yards on 15 receptions.

Meanwhile, Ebeling’s dual-threat quarterback style really opened things on the offensive end. In 2013, Ebeling completed 73 of 128 passing attempts for 922 yards, 16 TDs and only five interceptions.

Ebeling hasn’t stopped working out in the offseason and has really fine-tuned his game in a major way, especially in his throwing technique.

“The biggest difference between this year and last year for Mike is going to be the one year of varsity experience he has under his belt,” Corner Canyon coach Don Eck said of his star QB. “Plus, I now have a quarterback coach who is doing a great job teaching him how to read coverages and get rid of the ball in time, so you’re going to see a big, huge difference in Mike. It’s going to be the same Mike, but our throwing game is going to be a lot better.”

After struggling early in the season, the Chargers went on a roll to end their first season, chalking up four straight victories and winning six of their last nine contests to make the playoffs in their first season of competition. Corner Canyon’s Cinderella ride eventually came to a screeching halt in a 49-point blowout loss against powerhouse East in the 4A quarterfinals.

After getting their first taste of competitive playoff football last year, the Chargers are far from fulfilled and already have their sights set on winning their first state title in school history.

“We are a lot more ready this year than we were last year. Our team has gotten a lot bigger, a lot stronger and a lot better, so we are definitely ready for this season,” Ebeling said. “We’re trying to contend for a state championship. That is definitely our No. 1 goal, and we’re going to be ready.”

With 20 of 22 starters returning this season, the Chargers have tremendous experience on both sides of the field.

Alongside Ogden and Ebeling, Corner Canyon has several top returning contributors who will make immediate impacts on the field. Some of the top players returning include senior stars Brandon Bowen (OT/DT), Sam Dalsasso (OG/OT), Hunter Vranes (LB), Gaige Kartchner (LB/FB), Garrett Micheali (WR), Izaac Brinton (TE/LB), Jake Cahoon (WR), Matt Scheffner (S), and junior Keaton Bills (OT/DE).

“We have 51 seniors on this team with an extremely talented sophomore class coming up,” Eck said. “We have a total of 20 returning starters — 10 of offense and 10 on defense — and two of our best seniors are also returning from knee injuries (Sam Dalsasso, Hunter Vranes) at 100 percent. So it should be a fun year for us.”