Braves football cruises to homecoming win |

Braves football cruises to homecoming win

After two straight losses to tough 2A South squads, the North Summit High School football team started its 2A North schedule with a bang on Friday night.

Hosting Gunnison on a festive homecoming night, the Braves’ offense scored early and often and the defense held strong in a 34-7 victory. North Summit Coach Devin Smith said he was happy with the focus his team showed against the Bulldogs.

"You always worry about homecoming week because there’s so much else going on," he said. "But I thought we bounced back and played well."

Chris Richins, who missed last week’s game with a cast on his hand, got the scoring started, catching a 12-yard pass from Braxten Northrup. In the second quarter, Rand Pentz had a 21-yard touchdown run and Richins added a 16-yard score to send North Summit into halftime with a 21-0 lead.

In the third quarter, Pentz scored again, this time from three yards out. In the fourth quarter, Jace Hirzel caught a 33-yard touchdown from Northrup to end the scoring for the Braves. Gunnison scored on a 72-yard pass late in the fourth quarter, but it was too little, too late, as the Braves held on for the win.

Smith said it was nice to have Richins back in the lineup to give the offense another weapon.

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"Chris was excited to play," he said. "He is a good leader for us and gave us a spark early on. We were able to use that and continue the momentum."

Though Tristan Woolstenhulme, the Braves’ feature running back, didn’t score on Friday night, Smith said he still made a sizable impact on the game. With teams focusing on stopping Woolstenhulme, lanes are opening up for Richins and Pentz.

"It definitely gives those guys some opportunities," he said. "To their credit, they’re taking advantage of it.

"[Woolstenhulme] had 22 carries for 173 yards and one catch for 17 yards. I think that’s really important — teams have to account for [all three of] them. They have their different strengths and are all doing a really good job."

The passing game took another step forward under Northrup, too, Smith added. He said Friday night was a good performance from Hirzel and Luke Keisel.

"Luke had some nice catches and Jace made a nice catch and made some moves to get to the end zone," he said. "They’re both doing a good job. Braxten’s really coming along, too. He ran the ball well and threw well on Friday. I’m really pleased with what he’s doing. The kids are starting to rally around him and we’re getting a lot of confidence in him."

Defensively, Smith said there wasn’t much to say about Friday’s performance — it was another dominant performance that the team has come to expect on that side of the ball.

"That’s still our strength and will probably continue to be," he said. "Our defense played really well and we hope they’ll continue to get better."

North Summit (3-2 overall, 1-0 in 2A North) travels to take on Summit Academy (3-2, 1-0) on Friday night. Smith said every game from here on will be important for playoff seeding.

"I’m hoping to see a lot of energy and I’m hoping we’ll prepare well this week," he said. "Our kids will be excited for that game. It’s becoming a pretty good rivalry, but, more importantly, we’re all jockeying for playoff position right now."

Friday’s game is set to kick off at 7 p.m. North Summit returns home on Friday, Oct. 2, when Millard visits for a 7 p.m. showdown.