Wildcats bounce back with huge win over Millard | ParkRecord.com

Wildcats bounce back with huge win over Millard

South Summits Parker Grajek 2, in green and grey, catches the ball before being tackled by an American Leadership Academy player earlier this season.

It was bad enough for South Summit High School football team's opponent, Millard, that the Wildcats were just coming off of a regular-season loss for the first time in 22 games. Matters were made worse when an Eagles' linebacker lined up offside on the second series of the game, charged into the backfield and laid out a South Summit wingback who was going for a pitch.

The linebacker was then given a personal foul for standing over the tackled Wildcat, a play that would widely be considered as unsportsmanlike. A lot of times, a play like this leads to a scuffle and maybe a couple more yellow flags on the turf.

"Millard is a very physical team, even though they haven’t had a great record this year," South Summit Head Coach Mike Grajek said. "I thought our kids responded in a great way. They didn't respond in a let's be cheap and let's be dirty (way). They responded in a way that was, 'Hey, let’s support our teammates and protect our teammates.' From there on out, the kids were on fire."

"On fire" might be an understatement. After that play, the Wildcats responded by hanging 27 points on the visiting Eagles in the first quarter and 27 more in the second to go up 54-0 at halftime. They cruised in the second half, scoring just one additional touchdown the remainder of the game to seal the victory over Millard, 61-7.

With the win, South Summit improves its record to 7-1, remaining one of the top 2A teams in the state.

"I guess I'd just say preparation and execution," Grajek said in regards to what went right this week versus last. "We had a great week of practice. The kids' attention to detail, they were a little bit more focused after the loss. … We got back to the basics. The kids responded great and played great."

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The Wildcats were led by quarterback Nick Beasley, who completed 11-of-15 passes for 230 yards and five touchdowns. The five scores from Beasley were thrown to four different receivers, with Parker Grajek bringing down two of them. The team also finished with 163 yards on the ground and three touchdowns, including one from Grajek, to balance out the offense.

With Beasley being among the state leaders in terms of passing touchdowns, the Wildcat coaching staff was expecting Millard to come out with a strong game plan to counter the pass. Coach Grajek wasn't expecting to pass as often as they did early on in the game, but like every other week, the team was just taking what the defense gave them.

"We just kind of have tried to build a program where we have a running option or a passing attack, whatever's given to us," Grajek said. "So when we talk about a balanced attack, I try not to say, 'Hey, run it, pass it.' We try to share and get all of our weapons the ball."

Up next for South Summit is its final regular-season game against rival North Summit, which boast just a 3-5 record this year. When asked about the contest, Grajek emphasized just how big a game this is to his team.

"Huge, huge rivalry," Grajek said. "It's a big game. … It wouldn't matter if one team was 11-0 and the other team was 0-11, this would still be a dogfight."

The Wildcats will kick off against the Braves at 7 p.m. on Thursday at North Summit.

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