South Summit rolls on to quarterfinals
Thirty minutes into their first-round playoff match as the 2A No. 1 overall seed, the South Summit Wildcats boys’ soccer team was deadlocked 0-0 on their home turf with a 5-9 Beaver team .
Then the floodgates flew wide open.
"We scored three really quick in the last 10 minutes of the first half," said head coach Chris Burton. "I told my guys at halftime, I said, ‘Hey, if we can put one more in the first 10 minutes, I think they’ll be done.’ In the first five minutes of the second half, we scored three more goals.
"Realistically, it was six goals in about 15 minutes."
The high-powered Wildcats offense awoke from its temporary slumber to trounce the Beavers 7-0 in the first-round of the 2A state playoffs Wednesday afternoon at Wildcat Stadium.
Senior forward Levi Thompson notched a hat trick, upping his season-goal total to 16. Fellow seniors Trevor Rydalch and Brayden Powers also got in on the scoring, finishing with a goal apiece, while juniors Braxton Farmer and McKay DeGering also tallied a goal each in the resounding win.
Burton said after his team’s extraordinary 6-0 scoring run, he was able to rest most of his starters in the second half.
He said the development of Thompson as a target forward is one of the reasons South Summit is12-2-1 and earned the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs.
"He’s just so big," Burton said of his intimidating forward. "There’s no pushing him around. He’s just so strong. What people also don’t understand is how quick and fast he is. He’s always been able to finish fairly well, but this year, his control has just made him even that much better."
South Summit’s next opponent, the Gunnison Bulldogs, are coming off an impressive 2-1 road victory over West Ridge Academy. The Bulldogs, 11-4, are led by a senior striker, Diego Gonzalez, who has poured in 21 goals so far this season, including one in their first-round upset.
"He’s a very dangerous striker," said Burton.
South Summit senior sweeper Harrison Littledike will no doubt be asked to try to put the shackles on the electric Gonzalez.
Burton says he has faith in his sweeper.
"He’s always got the defense organized," he said.
Burton continues to keep his team grounded going into the 2A quarterfinal matchup today at 1 p.m. in Kamas.
While the Wildcats will be the favoriteS to advance to the 2A semifinals next Friday, the Bulldogs are no pushover and Burton is constantly reminding his team of that.
"I told my guys yesterday, they’re playing the best of any team down south," he said. "They always give us problems."
Asked if his team realizes the pressure is beginning to mount and the matches will get tighter, he said his senior-laden team knows what to expect.
"They do," he said. "Again, we don’t talk a lot about the future that way. We kind of just take it one game at a time. They understand their potential and believe that we’re a really good team this year."
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