Eastsiders make a statement
The South Summit Wildcats first turnover on Friday night against the defending 2A champion Grand County Red Devils couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time.
With the game all tied up and 17 in overtime, and a historic win on the line, South Summit couldn’t hold onto the ball and fumbled just yards away from the goal line. Minutes later, Grand’s six-foot three-inch star wide receiver, Kelly Van Arsdol, made a touchdown pass to put the Red Devils six points ahead and save their perfect record on the season.
But take nothing away from the ‘Cats, who despite being outsized by 20 pounds at the line, still managed to hold the Red Devils to three touchdowns and kept Van Arsdol and running back Tanner Brown, a 2,000 yard rusher last season, reasonably contained.
"Those Grand players are legitimate stars," said South Summit head coach Jerry Parker. "I’m just proud of my guys for playing so well against them."
The Wildcats showed Grand that they were a force to be reckoned with early on in the game. The Red Devils scored first on an early game field goal, but the Wildcats answered back quickly with a one-yard run by their bruising back, Brayden Stembridge.
the second quarter, the Wildcats pulled ahead with an awe-inspiring 70-yard pass from Peterson to J.D. Lewis. The Red Devils, a team used to 50-point blowouts could only watch with amazement.
But playing as championship teams often do, the Red Devils got their legs back underneath them on a 27-yard pass from Gordon Garrett to Van Arsdol to end the second half with a 14-10 score.
In the third quarter, the Wildcats struggled somewhat offensively and defensively, allowing an eight-yard run by Tanner Brown to end a long Grand drive. The Wildcats tried to answer back in the fourth, following big plays by Stembridge and fellow back Cody Wall, but had to settle for the field goal. The Wildcats had one last chance to score to end the game, but failed to make a touchdown conversion or score the field goal, forcing the game into overtime on a 17-17 tie.
Parker said that his team more than executed their plan to shut down the high octane Red Devil offense, but just came up short on a few key plays. South Summit nearly matched Grand in total offense earning 347 yards to the Red Devils’ 373 yards.
The Wildcats’ impressive effort is a big confidence booster heading into next week’s big rivalry game against undefeated North Summit. Parker said that Grand was the perfect warm-up for facing another top-ranked 2A team. The Wildcats will face another strong running back in the Braves’ Nathaniel Richins and have the added challenge of playing the game in Coalville, but Parker says he isn’t worried about his guys being ready for the game.
"This is our big rivalry," Parker said. "If they weren’t ready for the game, I’d be worried that there was something wrong with them."
The "Battle of the Summits" is set to kick off Friday night, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. in Coalville.
The varsity Braves traveled to Salina on Friday, Sept. 8 where they shutout the North Sevier Bulldogs 27 – 0 and continued their undefeated run. Quarterback Kameron Garfield ran in two touchdowns and Drew Robinson scored on a 25-yard pass play. Dallin Donaldson also scored on 85-yard kick return. The Braves record for the season now stands at 4-0, putting them in second place in their region. The junior varsity team beat the Bulldogs 55-34 and the freshmen team won their game 42-30.
The Braves are looking forward to hosting perennial rivals South Summit on Friday, Sept 15. A pre-game pow-wow will be held prior to the game at 6:15 p.m. Anyone interested is invited to come and witness the pageantry and authentic culture of the First Nation Dance Troupe and the Eagle Rib Dancers.
-submitted the North Summit High School student newspaper staff
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