South Summit football: Wildcats pitch a shutout
Jerry Parker said it wasn’t going to be easy. Turns out, his South Summit Wildcats turned Friday’s showdown against visiting American Leadership Academy into a cakewalk.
In their first region game of the season, the Wildcats obliterated the Eagles 42-0 at Wildcat Stadium in Kamas, improving to 2-1 this season. South Summit took a 35-0 lead going into halftime and was able to rest a majority of its starters in the second half.
"We played really well. We hit them," said Parker, South Summit’s head coach. "Their kids are giant, but we got after them pretty good."
Thanks to another impressive outing by junior quarterback Caden Christenson, South Summit’s offense was clicking on all cylinders. What made it more impressive was that the Wildcats were without talented senior running back Porter Santos, who missed the game due to an MCL sprain suffered in week two against Morgan.
Christenson accounted for three Wildcat touchdowns — on a 22-yard run and two touchdown passes — in the rout of the Eagles. He threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Cole Richins and followed that with a 37-yard touchdown pass to senior speedster Hayden Packard, who had two touchdowns Friday night.
"(Caden’s) been outstanding," Parker said. "He’s really matured and he’s been impressive. He’s taken his reads and he’s doing the right thing with them."
Parker said the evolution of his junior signal-caller has been a revelation for a team that questions at quarterback coming in.
"I feel like he’s done an excellent job," he said. "We knew we’d be tough at the running-back position, but Caden has shined (at quarterback)."
Carson Freestone added a seven-yard touchdown run in the second quarter before Keyton Gines added the final score of the game, a 15-yard run, upping the final score to 42-0.
Parker said a number of players stood out in the win, including Packard, who can make a game-changing play in the blink of an eye.
"Gosh, it’s kind of weird. We’ll work our offense, then we’ll say, ‘OK Hayden, go score,’" he explained. "And he does. He had another good game."
Parker said Freestone and Gines, along with Steven Flinders and Bracken Santos, had impressive games on both sides of the ball. After the week two loss at Morgan, Parker said some of his younger players would have to step up and provide needed rests for the starters. On Friday, the youngsters did just that, helping pitch a shutout.
"We subbed pretty freely," he said. "We had young kids in there and they all understood that we wanted to keep them scoreless. Our kids were on the same page defensively from top to bottom. Our younger kids and our underclassmen are playing really well. They’re hungry to play. It’s working out for us."
South Summit is scheduled to face Millard (3-0) at home Friday at Wildcat Stadium. Parker knows his defense will have its hands full with Millard running back Jesse Rhodes, who already has eight rushing touchdowns this season.
"He’s good," Parker said. "Last year we played really well against them, but we’ve got to cut the big plays out and that starts with Rhodes. You give him an inch, he’ll take a mile. If we can cut the big plays, we’ll be OK."
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