2021 Boys Lacrosse Championship Recap
Issue 74 - Corner Canyon, Alta, Pleasant Grove Win Titles
Good evening lacrosse fans. It was a fantastic day of lacrosse and a great way to end the 2021 high school lacrosse season. I want to take a minute and thank you, the reader, for sticking with me all year. I wasn’t entirely sure how a weekly newsletter would pan out in a world of ‘instant’ but I think it’s safe to say it worked. But it doesn’t work without you, so thanks again for reading. Don’t forget to follow on Instagram as I’ll be posting more photos and videos from the games there.
Thanks to my brother, Ben, for providing photos. We’ve been covering lacrosse together since 2009. He’ll have full galleries at haslamphotography.com on Sunday or Monday. Also thanks to all the other photographers who were at the games all season long and especially my two videographers, Jeff Guckert and Max Sturgill. Guck and I used to be road trip roomies when we would travel with the University of Utah Men’s team in 2019. He would do the game film, I would do the pictures and social media. I’ll never forget him chugging Mountain Dews at the top of Klöckner Stadium.
And of course, I would like to thank the fine folks at Vessel Kitchen for being the title sponsor this year. There was a phone call in early February where the future of the newsletter was up in the air and Vessel stepped up to the plate. You know who you are, so thank you.
Please stop by one of its four locations and grab some grub this holiday weekend!
Corner Canyon Claims UHSAA Boys Division A Title To Cap Off Undefeated Season
There was a weekend in March where I asked fans to submit questions via Instagram. Of course, one of the most popular questions was who I thought would lift the trophy today. I wrote, ‘It’s Corner Canyon’s world and we’re all just living in it.’ It became bulletin board material for some teams but for the first half of the 2021 UHSAA Boys Division A championship game, it was, for the first time this season, Park City’s world and the Chargers were living in it.
Park City began the game with a goal by Connor Monson at the 10:52 mark after a long possession which would be a theme for the Miners all night long. Corner Canyon answered back with a goal by Mason Quick 50 seconds later. The Miners found the back of the net again when Jude Trahan scored on the ensuing faceoff, sending the Park City bench and fans into hysterics. Trahan won the next faceoff then Dillon Bush found Connor Beyer on the wing who stepped down with a low to high rip to give Park City a two-goal lead.
Blake Franckowiak scored his first goal of the night for the Chargers on an assist by Blaze DeGracie to make the game 3-2 midway through the first quarter. Beyer notched another for the Miners before Corner Canyon tied the game at 4 with goals by Jona Serrell and Eric Neilson. Monson would notch another goal late in the quarter to give Park City the 4-3 lead after the first quarter.
Neilson would find Franckowiak on a slow break midway through the second quarter to tie the game. Ryan Whitworth scored next for Park City on a pass that slipped into the goal on an errant pass. Bush then scored for Park City to extend the lead to 7-5. Quick added a goal with 5 seconds left to make the halftime score, 7-6 in favor of Park City. If you look at each Corner Canyon game, the Chargers never lost a half. They did tie a half in two American Fork games.
On the broadcast with Dane Stewart for Game Night Live Rewind, we talked about how Corner Canyon either had dominant second quarters or third quarters. There was no dominance in the second quarter so we were anxious for the third quarter. Well, we were right, the Chargers scored 6 goals while only allowing 2, making the score 12-9 after the third quarter. It was a complete team effort from the Chargers. Ayden Santi made save after save while the attackmen rode hard and the midfielder gave it all they had. Jon King, after notching zero points in the first half, opened the scoring in the second half on an assist from Quick. Neilson scored the next goals while King added another. Franckowiak earned his hat-trick at the 3:27 mark, making the score 11-7 for the Chargers. Bush found the back of the net for Park City but was answered by King. The goal came after a save by Santi and a good slow break transition from Neilson to King who buried it. Bush would score again for the Miners, making the score 12-9 for Corner Canyon after the third quarter.
With plenty of time left in the game, the Miners were hopeful but the Chargers had other plans. Quick scored two back-to-back goals, extending the lead to 5 goals. Monson scored next for Park City on a great feed by Beyer but Corner Canyon quickly answered with a pair of goals by Neilson. Beyer would score again for Park City but the Chargers would close out the game with 4 more goals before sending in the Seniors and giving up two goals for a final score of 20-13.
“I’m ready to cry,” said Corner Canyon Head Coach Aaron Ika. “These boys have battled all year and I’m just ecstatic and proud for them. They are a great group of guys to coach. They are pedal to the metal all the time. Our offense is a bunch of Ferrari’s and we have to let them be themselves and when we slow them down it doesn’t work.”
The Chargers outscored the Miners 14-6 in the second half.
“I told the boys they were in control and they responded,” said Ika. “They had to do the little things and it was time to ride and I think they are the best riding team in the state.”
Neilson finished with 6 goals and 3 assists while Quick had 5 goals and 2 assists. King finished with 4 goals. The Corner Canyon defense held strong with Santi registering 11 saves.
“I have to talk about Trace White on defense,” said Ika. “He’s the anchor of D with Lincoln Hanks and Justin Egan. We let in more then we have all season but we wouldn’t be where we are without those guys. Santi was great for us too. That second half was a championship effort.”
Monson finished with 4 goals and an assist while Beyer had 3 goals and 2 assists.
Corner Canyon returns much of its roster next season.
“My expectations don’t change year to year,” said Ika. “Our guys go out and play year-round, playing all over, and they play hard year-round. They don’t rest on being good now, it’s year round.”
The Chargers finished the season with a 22-0 record while Park City finished 17-3.
The age-old question is where does this Chargers team stack up compared to other champions? My personal opinion is certainly Top 3 if not the top. Why? Because they dominated the entire season. If we look at the Corner Canyon schedule and use the playoff rankings, we get the following: They beat No. 2 Park City twice, by a combined score of 40-23. They beat No. 4 Olympus team, 17-3. They beat No. 5 Green Canyon 20-6. They beat No. 7 Mountain Ridge, 13-2. They beat No. 8 American Fork three times by a combined score of 53-21. They beat No. 14 Brighton, 21-3. They beat No. 15 Lone Peak twice by the combined score of 37-19. If you disagree, leave a comment below or send me a note!
Alta Beats Westlake to Win UHSAA Boys Division B Championship
The Alta Hawks dominated from start to finish to claim the UHSAA Boys Division B championship with a 12-4 win over Westlake.
The story in this game was the outstanding play by Alta goalie Tyler Parry who finished with 15 saves. It was an incredible performance.
“Tyler works his butt off for us,” said Alta Head Coach Brandon Horoba. “He got to show everyone today how good he is.”
But, to win games, you also have to score goals which is where we’ll start.
Rogan Babka, last of the legendary Babkaline, scored the first goal of the game for the Hawks but was equalized by Rhett Ellingson for Westlake. The energy in the first quarter was electric and it made the play on the field even more exciting. Babka added another then Will Waddoups found the back of the net for the Hawks, extending the Alta lead to two goals, making the score 3-1 at the end of the first quarter.
It was all Alta from here on out as the Hawks scored three goals in the second quarter while holding Westlake scoreless. Second-quarter goals came from Waddoups who added his second goal then Mason Egan scored as it bounced off his leg into the back of the net. On the ensuing faceoff, Aiden Swanson won the faceoff and took it to the cage, scoring for the Hawks leading to a 6-1 lead at halftime.
Casey Blackham opened the scoring for Alta in the second half that started with a great save by Parry. Paxton Schramm gave the Westlake faithful hope at the 8:58 mark in the third quarter with a goal but Alta answered with three-straight, making the score 10-2 late in the third quarter. Zack Allen added a goal for Westlake on a man-up opportunity to make the score 10-3 at the end of the third quarter.
Westlake attackman Ethan Boren scored the first goal of the fourth, cutting the Alta lead to 6 goals. Blackham added a fast break goal for Alta then Waddoups finished the scoring as the Hawks won the game by the score of 12-4.
“We played as good as we played all year,” said Horoba. “This Senior group came in as Freshman and won three games so to leave as champions in awesome. It’s special for those guys and it’s special for me because of the relationship I have with these guys.”
Waddoups finished with 4 goals while Babka, Egan and Blackham each had two goals for the Hawks.
Pleasant Grove Wins The ‘Battle of the Vikings’ to Claim UHSAA Division C Championship
The Pleasant Grove Vikings beat the Viewmont Vikings, 15-5, to win the UHSAA Division C Championship. Pleasant Grove was the overwhelming favorite entering the game and led from start to finish.
James Livingston, Lane Berg and Mckay Lindsey scored the first three goals of the game for Pleasant Grove before Noah Horsley found the back of the net for Viewmont, making the score 3-1 at the end of the first quarter.
Mason Hepworth scored early in the second quarter for Viewmont but Pleasant Grove answered with 5 straight goals with 2 from Berg, one from Evan Robinson, one from Livingston and one from Luke Smith, making the halftime score 8-2 for Pleasant Grove.
The second half was more of the same with Pleasant Grove scoring three goals in the third with two from Brigham Burbidge and one from Lindsey. Viewmont scored two goals from Abe Salmon and Tanner McCurdy. Salmon added a man-up goal to being the fourth quarter scoring but Smith scored three straight for Pleasant Grove to put the game completely out of reach. Sean Bezzant added the final goal for Pleasant Grove, securing the 15-5 win.
“It feels awesome,” said Pleasant Grove Head Coach Brae Burbidge. “We took a run at it two years ago and were in a similar spot to Viewmont where we were a high seed and frankly Viewmont played up and they were awesome.”
When asked where this memory ranks, Burbidge replied, “It’s one of the best. It’s the last game I’ll coach, Brigham is my last son, so it’s good.”
Smith finished with 4 goals while Berg had 3. Brigham Burbidge and James Livingston each had 2 goals and 2 assists. Evan Robinson won 13 of 19 faceoffs for Pleasant Grove. Chase Hatfield had 6 saves. For Viewmont, goalie Tommy Fraser was outstanding, registering 22 saves including 12 in the fourth quarter.
I won’t believe that Brae won’t be on the PG sidelines until I see someone else’s name listed on MaxPreps. The reason I love this community is the people in it and the relationships formed because of it. Almost all of my fondest lacrosse memories are from things/times/conversations outside of the lines. I’ve had many of those conversations with Brae and I can’t wait for more. On the bright side, the title of ‘Current Head Coach with the Best Hair’ is up for grabs…
Utah U-17 National Team Update
The Utah U-17 Girls National Team is in Maryland this weekend. The team started the day beating New York, 13-7, then losing to Maryland, 13-10, and Philly, 12-9. The team will finish the tournament tomorrow against Ohio.
Assistant Coach and Instagram manager Jocelyn Dorton provided this recap of the days events: “Haven Buechner has probably been our most impactful attacker with most of our goals and a huge playmaker. River Buechner and Hazel Baker found an amazing connection on the draw with River getting it to Hazel very consistently over our three games. Samantha Atwood has had most of our caused turnovers on defense and had a behind the back goal against Maryland. As a team we have really come together to play as a unit; on defense especially. They quickly clicked and a few of the girls said they haven’t had this much team chemistry on any team they’ve played with. As for fun things, most of that is tomorrow, we are going to the NCAA National championship game and spending the evening at the inner harbor!”
You can follow the team on Instagram.
Well folks, that concludes high school coverage for the year. Thanks again for reading, enjoy the NCAA Championships and we’ll see you on the sidelines!
— Tim Haslam
Duke Babka, Hayden Babka and Jace Babka played for Jordan. Jackson Babka and Rogan Babka played for Alta.