American Fork 11, Davis 6
With the Corner Canyon Chargers the far-and-away favorite to claim the 6A boys state lacrosse title, Wednesday afternoon’s semifinal between American Fork and Davis felt like the championship for 6A’s up-and-coming squads.
The difference was easy to recognize. It came from Caveman goalkeeper Jacob Cline.
Cline was one of 16 American Fork seniors who left the school’s graduation ceremony earlier to ride the bus to Westminster College’s Dumke Field. Cline then turned away 20 shots as the Cavemen beat the Darts 11-6 in the second semifinal match on a glorious, sunny day.
The win sent American Fork into Friday’s title game at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, where the Cavemen will get a chance at redemption against their Region 4 rival, which handily defeated them 17-3 and 18-6 in their two earlier matches.
“We’ll have to bring our ‘A’ game, that’s for sure,” American Fork coach Tyson Poole said.
The Cavemen will be a heavy underdog, but after a slow start Wednesday they showed that kind of potential against Davis. The Darts scored the first two goals, but then Tate Fisher got going with four goals, Camden Oswald had three and Noah Fisher two. American Fork scored six times in the second period, and never let up. Cline was the inspirational leader in the Cavemen’s recovery.
American Fork had a 3-2 lead midway through the second quarter when Cline blocked a Davis shot, retrieved the ball and noticed nobody in front of him. At first, he walked slowly with the ball but then sprinted forward past midfield before a defender approached. With an empty net behind him, he hurled the ball to Tate Fisher for a score.
It’s rare for a goalie to earn an assist, and that led to a raucous celebration.
“It was an intense game,” Cline said. “There was a lot on the line and we knew Davis would play aggressive.”
When they missed that shot, though, the Darts let up and Poole said Cline just took advantage.
“It’s a game of momentum,” Gorton said. “We’ve never been here before but the guys are battle-tested and emotional. Five goals ahead or behind, the game can change really quick.”
American Fork was never threatened after that, and never gave up after Davis rallied with three goals in the fourth period to keep the match interesting. The Darts got two goals from Eli Greenway.
Corner Canyon 24, Weber 3
The Chargers won the opening face-off and scored 15 seconds into the game. They led 11-0 after the first period and 20-0 by halftime.
Jon King had eight goals and Blaze DeGracie five to lift the Chargers into the title game for the second-straight year. Corner Canyon improved to 18-1 this season, with its only loss to a California power in early April.
Weber coach Alex Gorton said the Chargers played a near-perfect game. The second half lasted less than 30 minutes due to the UHSAA’s “mercy rule.” Weber tried to rally behind two goals from Squish Easley, but the Warriors had to spend much of the game on defense. Corner Canyon won almost all of the face-offs, ran a patient offense and then fired two dozen shots into the net.
“They’re a great team, from top to bottom,” said Gorton, who remained proud of his squad that made it the furthest into the state tournament in school history.
Corner Canyon coach Aaron Ika said his teams’ 80-man program includes 13 players that have already earned Division 1 college scholarships. Ika estimated 15-20 players were on the school’s dominant football team, which reached the 6A finals last fall but lost in the title game.
“We have one speed, and that’s fast,” Ika said. “This is a whole different game (than football) and a different team. The kids are wired and anxious to play again.”