SPRINGVILLE — The Red Devils gave Corner Canyon all it could handle Friday night in a 4A non-region matchup, but it was the Chargers who prevailed in the end, 31-21.
Corner Canyon pulled out the win despite a controversial play at the end of the third quarter that resulted in Springville’s Kaleni Neiufi scoring a touchdown from the 1-yard line and following that with a two-point conversion to pull even with the Chargers at 21-21.
On the play prior, the Red Devils had the ball at the 3, but fumbled into the end zone as a result of a big hit on Zachary Gordon by Gaige Kartchner. Brady Thayer recovered the ball, which was originally ruled a touchback. After considerable discussion between the referees, it was determined that Gordon was down before the fumble and they awarded Springville the ball on the 1. There was also uncertainty regarding whether it was third or fourth down, but Neiufi scored on the next play, rendering that discussion moot.
On the Chargers’ next possession, they drove from their own 22 to the Springville 13, where Braxton Martison kicked a 30-yard field goal against a strong canyon wind to put Corner Canyon ahead and put the score at 24-21 with 8:23 remaining.
After holding Springville on its next possession and forcing the Red Devils to turn the ball over on downs at their own 30, Corner Canyon scored again a few plays later when Mike Ebeling found Jacob Sanderson in the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown. Martison’s extra point provided the final score of 31-21.
In the first half, the Chargers jumped ahead midway through the first quarter on a 12-yard run by Ebeling with just 45 second remaining in the first quarter.
The Red Devils answered with two unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter, the first on a 10-yard pass to Devyn Tate from Gordon and the second on a 24-yard pass from Gordon to Garrett Clark. After the second score, a Springville penalty pushed the extra point back, which helped the kick go wide but still put the Red Devils in the lead at 7-13 with 5:11 remaining in the half.
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Corner Canyon answered quickly with a decisive 78-yard drive that resulted in a 23-yard touchdown run by Ebeling, which gave the Chargers back the lead at 14-13 with 1:49 left before the break.
To start the second half, Gordon threw an interception under pressure to the Chargers’ Jake Cahoon at the 30, which was returned for a touchdown 12 seconds into the half that put Corner Canyon ahead 21-13 and led to the controversial play at the goal line.
Corner Canyon’s record improves to 2-0 while Springville evens its record at 1-1.
Drew Daniels is a Utah County native and has covered local sporting events for several news organizations, including the Deseret News since 1988.