North Summit football anxious to start playoffs
After nearly two weeks of waiting, the North Summit High School football team is ready to get back on the field and begin a playoff run.
The Braves last took the field on Oct. 15 in a 17-7 loss to rival South Summit in Kamas. They’ll return to game action on Friday night when they host Grand, the No. 3 seed from the 2A South region.
North Summit Coach Devin Smith said the Braves are eager to prove they’re one of the top teams in the state with a deep playoff run.
"I think they’re really anxious, and that’s a good thing," he said. "Sometimes at this point in the year, you’ve either got a group that’s excited to play or a group that’s ready to move on. We’ve got a group that’s anxious to make a run and that’s exciting to me."
Grand (6-4 overall) is coming off a 53-27 trouncing of Gunnison in the first round of the 2A playoffs. Despite the offensive outburst from Grand in the first round, Smith said he expects the North Summit defense to have a great game on Friday evening.
"We have a lot of confidence in our defense," he said. "We’ve spent a lot of time scheming [for Grand’s offense], but we feel like they have a lot to prepare for, too."
Smith and the North Summit coaching staff traveled to Moab to watch Grand take on Gunnison. He said the Braves’ defense will need to play like it is capable of playing in order to stop Grand’s rushing attack.
"They run a double-wing wildcat-hybrid type of offense," he said. "Their quarterback is the third- or fourth-leading rusher in 2A — a big, strong kid. They come right at you."
So far this year, North Summit (6-3 overall) is 0-2 against the 2A South region. In the third week of the season, the Braves lost 13-12 to Enterprise, and in week four, they lost 21-17 to Beaver (the top team from the southern region). Smith said the Braves won’t be thinking about those losses when they host Friday’s quarterfinal game, though.
"We did play Beaver tough and I felt like we didn’t play Enterprise well at all," he said. "Enterprise is a good team, but we laid an egg in that game. My approach isn’t going to be that we’re 0-2 against the southern region, though. This is the first game of the playoffs and we need to take care of business. We’ve just got to play."
Helping matters for North Summit will be the return of running back Tristan Woolstenhulme, one of the best backs in 2A. Smith said the junior, who has been nursing an injured ankle, should be ready to go against Grand.
"He’s doing some light stuff right now," Smith said. "We’re planning on him playing Friday, but we haven’t heard officially."
However, Smith added, the Braves have plenty of running backs ready to pick up the slack if Woolstenhulme can’t play. He pointed to the way Rand Pentz has run the ball the past two games in Woolstenhulme’s absence.
"Rand did a great job against South Summit," he said. "We started the year really young in our skill positions, but they’ve all come a long way."
The key to the North Summit offense, though, will continue to be an experienced offensive line.
"We put a lot of pressure on our line this year and we expect them to step up to the challenge for us," Smith said. "No matter who is running or catching the ball, they need to bring their ‘A’ games."
Friday night’s game at North Summit High School is scheduled to kick off at 6 p.m.
Park City Mountain Resort is scheduled to start limited summer operations on Saturday, including the operation of PayDay lift for hikers and bikers.