Wildcats on the prowl for 2A title
Chris Burton admits, coming into this season, he had no idea what to expect.
"I was hoping for the best," he said. "We had to fill a few holes that we were able to fill. We’ve come together as a team."
The South Summit Wildcats boys’ soccer team won its second straight Region 14 title, finishing the regular season an impressive 11-2-1. Burton, South Summit’s head coach, said winning the second region title in two years speaks volumes to where the program is headed and where it came from.
"We’re thrilled about it," he said. "We’ve come a long way from where the program was a few years ago. We’re very pleased with the way the season went."
Burton added: "Our region is the toughest in 2A. To get another region championship is just a huge accomplishment. In winning 11 games, we just try to take it one game at a time. There’s been a few up and downs, but it’s been a great season so far."
Today, the Wildcats start their playoff journey for a 2A state championship.
South Summit welcomes Beaver High School (5-9) to Wildcat Stadium today at 4 p.m.
In years past, the Wildcats have been the underdog waiting to shock higher-rated teams. This year, South Summit is arguably the best 2A team in the state as the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament.
How Burton’s boys will handle that is a question the coach is asking himself.
"It’s kind of interesting," he said. "They’re really excited about the new season that begins now, excited about the possibilities. I think they kind of like being the team everybody is out to get."
South Summit is led on offense this year by the trio of Levi Thompson, Trevor Rydalch and Casey Lundgreen. Thompson, a bruising forward, leads the team with 13 goals, while midfielders Rydalch and Lundgreen each has eight.
The Beavers are led by Tyler Roberts (11 goals) and John Howard (eight goals).
For the Wildcats, winning region and being an overall No. 1 seed certainly has its perks.
The first two matches of the tournament should the Wildcats advance will be in Kamas. If South Summit continues to win, it will find itself at Rio Tinto Stadium on May 14 playing for the 2A state championship.
"That’s one thing we were really wanting to do is get those two home games," Burton said. "It’s always nice to play on our home turf."
As for Rio Tinto, Burton said they’ll worry about that later, and that’s the way the Wildcats have been so successful this season.
"We’re just focusing on Beaver right now. That’s our goal," he said. "I think if we play the way we’ve been playing the way we have all year, we should be right there."
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