North Summit football team turns to seniors for leadership | ParkRecord.com

North Summit football team turns to seniors for leadership

Gary Crittenden returns to his alma mater as head coach

By Griffin Adams
The Park Record

North Summit High School quarterback Wade Woolstenhulme looks to pass the ball after the snap during the game against South Summit last season. Woolstenhulme returns as the senior signal-caller for the Braves this season.

Being a first-year head coach for a high school football team presents many challenges. Doing it at one's alma mater, however, is an entirely different scenario.

That's the situation new North Summit High School football coach Gary Crittenden finds himself in after taking over the program. Crittenden was a Brave in the late 1980s and early 1990s and helped build the proud football tradition that exists in Coalville. After the Braves went 4-7 last season, the head coach hopes to bring his old team back to its winning ways.

"I cannot tell you how excited I am to finally be home," Crittenden said. "I want those same memories, experiences and traditions for today’s Braves. I love North Summit for so many reasons and am beyond honored to be entrusted with this responsibility."

Crittenden has been an assistant coach at Morgan High School for the last 12 years. He also served as one of the school's counselors during that time period, and despite taking on this new coaching gig, will remain in that position. In addition to him being a first-year head coach, the fact he won't be around North Summit during the school day may seem like it could spell trouble in some instances.

However, Crittenden said that isn't the case with this year's Braves, thanks to the senior class.

"One of the neatest things that I have observed is the senior leadership that has emerged," Crittenden said. "They are having a lot asked of them and are stepping up in a big way both on and off the field."

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One of the team's seniors is Wade Woolstenhulme, who is slated to remain the starting quarterback. Joining him in the backfield will be fellow senior Christian Martinez, as the Braves will continue to operate out of the wishbone offense, with a few tweaks and adjustments, Crittenden said.

However, the offense could be a potential question mark heading into the season, as Woolstenhulme and Martinez are two of just three players returning on that side of the ball. Offensive lineman Brian Rodriguez is the third and will be tasked with anchoring the offensive line to create running lanes and solidify protection.

"We are short on numbers, but big on heart and effort," Crittenden said. "I could not ask for more out of my players."

On the defensive side, North Summit fares slightly better, with four returning starters working out of a 4-4 scheme. Martinez will double as a linebacker, while fellow senior Quaide Richins returns at the position, as well. Quinn Chappell will help hold down the secondary with the aid of Taten Ringle, who will fill the safety slot.

While each player on the team will need to figure out what they need to do individually to improve, Crittenden said this year's squad is all about team success.

"[The senior leaders] will be the first to tell you that it is all about the team," he said. "Taking their lead, it is really a team-first mentality across the board."

The Braves certainly have their work cut out for them if they hope to fill up the win column, as many 2A contenders from last season return large chunks of their rosters. That said, the attitude and mindset to improve and win are there, Crittenden said.

"We want to play hard, physical, and for everybody to be proud of their efforts," Crittenden said. "I am holding myself accountable, and so are the players. They have high expectations and have worked hard to have things come to pass. We want to win at everything, on and off the field.

"Our motto is, 'Respect All. Fear None.' And that starts with us."

North Summit will begin its season on Friday when it travels to Layton Christian. Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.

North Summit High School Football Schedule 2017
Friday, Aug. 18 — at Layton Christian — 4 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 25 — vs. Duchesne — 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 1 — at Enterprise — 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 8 — vs. South Sevier— 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 15 — vs. Gunnison — 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 22 — at Delta — 7 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 29 — vs. Millard — 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 6 — vs. American Leadership — 7 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 13 — at South Summit — 7 p.m.