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The City Journals

Titans lose clash of undefeated teams in 5A state semifinals

Nov 29, 2018 12:53PM ● By Josh McFadden

Tommy Poulton gains a large chunk of yards in the 5A state semifinals against Corner Canyon. Poulton finished the year with 13 touchdowns. (Justin Adams/City Journals)

By Josh McFadden | [email protected]

When 12-0 Olympus and 10-0 Corner Canyon met on the gridiron in the Class 5A state semifinals on Nov. 9, something had to give. 

Unfortunately for the Olympus football team, it ran into a team unlike anything it had seen all season.

The Titans held the potent Corner Canyon offense well below its season average in points but still lost a close 20-15 contest in a game held at Rice-Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah. 

Corner Canyon entered the game with a per-game scoring average of 50. It had won its previous 10 games by an average of 50-12, with its closest game coming in a 28-20 victory over Jordan in the regular season finale. But the Titans’ defense gave the powerful Chargers’ offense fits all game long.

Corner Canyon had scored at least 40 points in nine of its 10 games and had topped 50 points five times and scored 70 points on two occasions. Olympus came in with its own stingy defense. Coming into the semifinals, Olympus had given up a mere 66 points all season. No other team in the state could boast those defensive stats. The Titans had four shutouts this season and five other games in which the opponent had single digits in points. 

It was no wonder the game would come down to the wire. 

In a strength-vs.-strength matchup, the Titans fell just short, but they had their chances. Olympus got on the board first with a 42-yard touchdown run in the first quarter from Tommy Poulton. It was the senior’s 13th rushing TD of the season. Following a Corner Canyon touchdown, Olympus tallied a safety in the second quarter when a bad shotgun snap for the Chargers went into their own end zone, where they recovered. 

Corner Canyon went up 14-9 with four minutes to play in the first half, but the Titans answered with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Jackson Frank to Noah Bennee. A two-point conversion failed, but Olympus was up 15-14 at halftime.

That’s when the Titans’ offense stalled. 

Corner Canyon may be known for its offense, but its defense is no slouch. The Chargers kept the strong Olympus running game in check the rest of the way, as the two teams played to a stalemate until the final two minutes of the game when Corner Canyon broke through for the winning touchdown. 

Despite the first and only loss of the season, the Titans had much to be proud of. They frustrated a normally punishing Chargers’ offense and recorded four sacks. Bennee not only hauled in a touchdown pass, but he also picked off three Corner Canyon passes from his safety position. 

However, back-to-back fumbles on the Titans’ first two second-half possessions proved costly. 

Olympus won its first two state tournament games at home, defeating Alta 27-6 and Springville 28-3. Against Alta, the Titans’ defense didn’t allow a single point, as Alta’s lone TD came on a kickoff return. In the quarterfinals, Springville scored a first-quarter field goal, but Olympus held the opponent scoreless over the final 39 minutes of play.