North Summit football clips Eagles 39-13
The North Summit High School football team started out quickly on Friday night in Coalville. Playing Millard, the Braves jumped out to a 22-0 lead in the first quarter in a game they’d ultimately win 39-13, thanks to some opportunistic defensive plays.
North Summit’s first touchdown came on a 31-yard return of a blocked punt by defensive lineman Braden Richins. Then, quarterback Braxten Northrup scored on a four-yard run and running back Tristan Woolstenhulme added a six-yard scoring run and tacked on the two-point conversion for good measure.
North Summit Coach Devin Smith said the big first quarter put the game out of reach early, thanks to stout defense from the Braves.
"That fast start was really big for us," he said. "It just gave us a little breathing room and that can be demoralizing to the other team, too."
After a one-yard touchdown run by Millard, Braves’ kicker Gonzalo Portillo hit a 27-yard field goal and receiver Luke Keisel scored on a 26-yard pass from running back Rand Pentz on a trick play to give North Summit a 32-6 halftime advantage.
Though Smith doesn’t know how much the Braves will rely on trick plays in the future, he won’t rule out using them, either.
"It was a halfback pass off a quick pitch," he said. "We’ve had a lot of success on quick pitches this year, so teams are starting to flow to it. A lot of [the trick plays] just depend on if we feel like we need that. Or, maybe, an opportunity is there with something the defense might be giving us."
In the second half, Woolstenhulme returned a kickoff 98 yards for the Braves’ final touchdown of the game. Millard scored on a 37-yard run by Derek Brunson, but North Summit held on for the victory.
Smith said the Braves played well in all three facets of the game — offense, defense and special teams — on Friday night.
"We blocked two punts and had several interceptions and created some turnovers," he said. "I feel like our kids are taking advantage of those opportunities and capitalizing on them."
Offensively, he said, the Braves didn’t have big numbers, but that was by design.
"We scored when we needed to, but at the same time, we kept things pretty conservative to try to keep the clock going," he said. "We went into protective mode a little bit. We weren’t super explosive, but we did score when we needed to. I felt good about it."
With one game left before a potential region-deciding game against South Summit on Oct. 15, the Braves are making sure they do what they can do enter the rivalry game with an unblemished 2A North record. North Summit (5-2 overall, 3-0 in 2A North) hosts American Leadership Academy (4-3, 1-2) on Friday night.
"Our focus is 100 percent on ALA," Smith said. "We know the rivalry game is coming and we’ll be excited for it when it gets here, but when you think about the big picture, this [ALA] game is really important as far as playoff positioning goes. We’ve got to be focused on this game and respect them. We just can’t come in with no energy and expect to win."
Friday night’s game in Coalville is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m.
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The Miners are truly a brotherhood, relying on one another to help their teammates go farther. After a few players missed last year’s 4A state semifinal game, this year’s group made sure those guys got the chance to experience this year’s semifinals. When injuries last week had the chance to derail the season, unsung heroes stepped up for the win. Now No. 1 Park City faces No. 2 Sky View in the 4A state title game on Friday at Rice Eccles Stadium.