North Summit football wallops ALA at home
After a special-teams lapse led to an 82-yard kickoff-return touchdown early in Friday night’s game in Coalville, the North Summit High School football team found itself trailing American Leadership Academy 7-6.
But, after quickly regaining the lead, the Braves’ defense completely stifled the Eagles’ offense en route to a lopsided 42-13 victory.
North Summit Coach Devin Smith said the Braves may have felt some early pressure on Friday night.
"They scored on that kickoff return and we just had to get the nerves out, I guess," he said. "Our kids knew there was a lot riding on this game as far as playoff position goes. We settled down and played really well defensively the rest of the night."
North Summit running back Tristan Woolstenhulme scored on a two-yard run on the game’s first possession, but the extra point was no good. However, on the ensuing kickoff, Dallen Short returned the ball 82 yards for an ALA score. With the extra point, the Eagles took a 7-6 lead.
But on the Braves’ next drive, Woolstenhulme was eager to return momentum to the North Summit side, scoring on a 71-yard sprint to the end zone. A two-point conversion gave the Braves a 14-7 lead from which they’d never look back.
In the second quarter, quarterback Braxten Northrup scored on a 17-yard run and running back Rand Pentz added touchdown runs of 15 yards and one yard to give the Braves a 35-7 halftime advantage. Pentz added a 32-yard scoring run in the third quarter for North Summit’s final points.
Pentz shouldered a larger load than normal after Woolstenhulme sat out most of the game’s final three quarters due to a minor ankle injury.
"He just has a slight tweak," Smith said. "We didn’t feel like we absolutely needed him in the second half. He’ll be OK. Rand ran really hard. We know he’s capable of that. He’s a big, strong kid that’s a tough runner. He stepped in and did a great job there."
Short scored the game’s final points in the fourth quarter for ALA on a 20-yard run. Though the North Summit defense played well, Smith said they may have been worn down in the fourth quarter after a few long ALA drives.
"Sometimes it’s hard to keep your kids playing at a high level," he said. "Starting the third quarter, [the Eagles] had a nice long drive. We’ll focus on stopping those and making sure we play four quarters."
With the win, North Summit improved to 4-0 in 2A North region play (6-2 overall). The Braves kept pace with rival South Summit, who also sports a 4-0 region record, heading into Thursday night’s showdown in Kamas.
"As far as I was concerned, this game was, up to this point, the biggest game of the year," Smith said. "Now we get to go play our rival for the division championship. The other good part is we both get a first-round bye and we both get a home quarterfinal game. In the big picture, that’s what’s most important."
The road team has won the last two meetings between the Summit County rivals, a trend Smith hopes to continue. He said he’s anticipating a great game between two strong football teams.
"There are going to be emotions on both sides," he said. "That’s what you see in a rivalry game and that’s why you play — that’s what makes it fun. We’re going to work on being really disciplined in our defense. We respect what they do and we’ll work on executing what we do. We’ll be ready and they’ll be ready."
Thursday night’s regular-season finale in Kamas is scheduled to kick off at 7 p.m. at South Summit High School.
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Chase Campbell, a Park City High School sophomore, has a busy summer schedule, including the USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships on July 22-23.