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Missed opportunities doom American Fork football in loss to Corner Canyon

By Jared Lloyd - | Sep 17, 2021
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American Fork running back Dax Watts gets tackled during the Region 4 game against Corner Canyon in American Fork on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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American Fork defenders attempt to make a tackle during the Region 4 game against Corner Canyon in American Fork on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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American Fork running back Evan Agor celebrates scoring a touchdown during the Region 4 game against Corner Canyon in American Fork on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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American Fork quarterback Maddux Madsen attempts to avoid the rush during the Region 4 game against Corner Canyon in American Fork on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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American Fork tight end Noah Moeaki gets tackled during the Region 4 game against Corner Canyon in American Fork on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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American Fork defensive back Davis Andrews recovers a fumble during the Region 4 game against Corner Canyon in American Fork on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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American Fork head coach Aaron Behm encourages his players during the Region 4 game against Corner Canyon in American Fork on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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American Fork players take the field before the Region 4 game against Corner Canyon in American Fork on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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American Fork defenders prepare for the snap during the Region 4 game against Corner Canyon in American Fork on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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American Fork defensive back Brendon Bourgeois runs after making an interception during the Region 4 game against Corner Canyon in American Fork on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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American Fork quarterback Maddux Madsen throws a pass during the Region 4 game against Corner Canyon in American Fork on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)
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American Fork defenders attempt to make a tackle during the Region 4 game against Corner Canyon in American Fork on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. (Jared Lloyd, Daily Herald)

To beat a great football team, you have make fewer mistakes and take advantage of your opportunities.

American Fork appeared primed to do just that in Friday night’s Region 4 showdown in American Fork against the defending 6A champs from Corner Canyon, a team that had won 45 straight games.

The Cavemen forced a fumble on the first Charger possession and seven plays later turned it into a 7-0 lead when running back Evan Agor plunged into the end zone.

American Fork then proceeded to intercept a Corner Canyon pass and stop the Chargers on a fourth-attempt. If the Cavemen had turned those stops into TDs as well, it really would have put a lot of pressure on Corner Canyon.

But the Charger defense rose to the challenge and stopped American Fork on those crucial possessions, allowing the Corner Canyon offense to get rolling. Once that happened, the Cavemen simply couldn’t keep up as the Chargers pulled away to get the 51-22 win and extend their winning streak to 46 games, moving just two games short of the state record.

“They are a great team,” American Fork head coach Aaron Behm said. “We were able to get some stops in the first half and we capitalized on one of them. It would’ve been nice to capitalize on the others but I was proud of the defense and the way they went after the ball.”

The Cavemen aggressively tried to force turnovers whenever they could. After Corner Canyon had tied the game in the second quarter and were driving, it appeared American Fork had wrestled the ball free when a Charger running back was straining for extra yards.

Although no whistle was ever blown to stop the play, the officials conferred and gave the ball back to Corner Canyon. The visitors promptly took advantage, driving down the field and getting back in the end zone to take the lead for good.

The Cavemen didn’t go down easily, however.

After the Chargers built a 21-7 lead late in the first half, American Fork senior quarterback Maddux “Mad Dog” Madsen engineered an eight-play, 65-yard drive, finishing it off himself with a 7-yard TD run to narrow the gap.

Since the Cavemen were receiving the ball to start the second half, it looked like things might be setting up for a rally by the home team.

Instead, Corner Canyon had enough time left on the clock to get a 43-yard field goal as the clock expired at the half, stopped American Fork on the first possession of the third quarter, then tacked on a TD of their own to extend the lead.

“When you get down by two or three scores, it’s tough,” Behm said.

Although the Cavemen kept battling, the Charger advantage was far too much to overcome and American Fork was handed its first defeat of the year.

“This is an opportunity for us to learn and find out where we need to get better,” Behm said. “It’s a chance for the guys to see the level we need to get to. We’re close and I think we’ve got a lot of potential, but we’ve got to close the gap between our potential and where we are at now.”

Behm said seeing the Chargers showed his athletes some area to work on moving forward.

“We need to be able to match their physicality a little more,” Behm said. “We need to give Madsen more time. We need to get our running game going better so we can take the pressure off the quarterback.”

American Fork (4-1, 0-1) will try to get back on track when it plays at Lone Peak on Sept. 24, while Corner Canyon (5-0, 1-0) will attempt to get even closer to matching the state record for longest unbeaten streak (48 games, Duchesne 2010-14) when it hosts undefeated Skyridge in Draper on the same evening.

Both games are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

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