Braves stun Wildcats |

Braves stun Wildcats

The day before the University of Utah football squad took down an unbeaten Stanford team that was the fifth-ranked team in the country, the North Summit Braves had an upset on their minds as well.

The odds were certainly not in North Summit’s favor when it visited Kamas to take on the 7-0 South Summit Wildcats.

When South Summit quarterback Ty Jones found Colby Averett for a 67-yard touchdown pass less than a minute into the game, it looked like the Wildcats were en route to another prolific offensive performance.

After a North Summit punt, the Wildcats drove the ball down to the Braves’ red zone, threatening to score yet again.

But then the game changed on a South Summit fumble. The ball bounced perfectly into the arms of defensive end Cason DeForest and he took it 97 yards for a score. Brenz Staples added an extra point and the Braves were right back in the game, tied 7-7.

North Summit would score again on the first play of the second quarter when quarterback Ryan McMichael found Nick Rees in the end zone from five yards out. South Summit would answer with Jones sneaking across the goal line to tie the game at 14 at halftime.

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After giving up a 30-yard field goal to Harley Georgi early in the third quarter, the Braves once again responded in a big way, this time courtesy of a 36-yard touchdown run from McMichael.

Jones was up to the challenge again, however, scoring on an eight-yard run on the first possession of the fourth quarter to put South Summit ahead 24-20.

Needing a touchdown, McMichael decided the evening’s battle of the quarterbacks wasn’t over quite yet. Reaching first-and-goal from the one-yard line, McMichael tried a QB sneak, a pitch and another QB sneak to no avail. Only inches away from the goal line on fourth down, he once again tried a sneak, this time bursting through the left side of the line to pay dirt. Ahead 26-24, North Summit would allow the Wildcats to get into field goal range before a long field goal attempt was blocked as time expired, sealing the victory.

"I was ecstatic," McMichael said of the late touchdown run. "I forgot what the score was for a second. I knew we were down, but as soon as I crossed the goal line I had to look up at the scoreboard to make sure we were ahead."

He was quick to acknowledge the efforts of his offensive linemen against a stout Wildcats defense.

"Crossing the goal line was huge," he said. "But I couldn’t have done it without my teammates."

With the win, North Summit improves to 6-2 on the season, while dropping South Summit to 7-1. North Summit coach Devin Smith said this win sets the tone for the rest of the season.

"It should be a huge boost for us," he said. "We have a quick turnaround next week, and I hate to even think about [that game] right now, but that win would be huge for us. We’ll go into it with a lot of confidence, but we want to stay grounded too."

"We have endless amounts of confidence now," McMichael added. "We feel like we can compete with anybody. South Summit is a great team. It was a hard-fought game. We know we’re as good as any team in the state and we just wanted to come out and prove it."

Proving themselves in a big rivalry game made the win against the top-ranked 2A squad even sweeter, McMichael said.

"It’s huge, especially at their place," he said. "Any time you can win a rivalry game, it’s a huge morale boost and it brings a lot of energy into the rest of the season."

Smith, who was happy to see his team once again win the turnover battle, said the way the Braves have improved from their early-season fumbling problems is impressive.

"It makes a huge difference," he said. "You don’t put the ball on the ground, you don’t give it up it’s a big difference. When you do that, it kills drives and gives teams short fields. We just tried to eliminate that. And we’ll continue to work on it."

Not committing turnovers makes the defense’s job easy, Smith said.

"Coach [Lyndon] Johnson does a great job with the defense," he said. "They believe in the system and they just get better week by week. You play well defensively and give the offense chances and it makes you a better team."

North Summit faces another tough test on Wednesday, when it travels to play Layton Christian. South Summit will travel to Millard for its last game of the regular season on Friday night.