South Summit football advances to 2A finals |

South Summit football advances to 2A finals

In this season’s opening game, the South Summit High School football team defeated San Juan on the road, 26-7. On Saturday, the Wildcats headed south to face the Broncos again, this time with a trip to the 2A state championship game on the line.

South Summit took a 26-0 halftime lead and never looked back, racking up more than 500 yards of total offense and holding on for a 47-23 victory.

South Summit Coach Aaron Tillett said both teams have grown a lot since the week one matchup, but added that the game was valuable preparation for Saturday’s semifinal.

"It helped a lot," he said. "We were able to prepare for what they were going to do."

On both offense and defense, Tillett said the Wildcats kept things simple.

"Both sides of the ball, we went back to the basic stuff," he said. "We played base defense and ran option at them offensively."

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Running back Isaac Tillett got the scoring started with a 12-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. In the second quarter, the floodgates opened for the Wildcats as quarterback Nick Beasley (two yards), Tillett (65 yards) and running back Porter Fitzgerald (five yards) all scored rushing touchdowns to take a 26-0 lead into the intermission.

Following the halftime break, Fitzgerald scored on a one-yard run before San Juan was able to score its first touchdown via a 94-yard kickoff return. However, the Wildcats quickly answered as Beasley scored on a three-yard run and hit receiver Matt Lee for a 14-yard touchdown to make the score 47-7.

The Broncos managed to score two late touchdowns on an 18-yard pass and a one-yard run, but the Wildcats already had done enough damage to advance to Saturday’s state finals.

Aaron Tillett said the Wildcats had some variations to their basic plays they could have used, but it wasn’t necessary on Saturday at Southern Utah University in Cedar.

"When you can just play the base defense, it’s good for the kids," he said. "You have some stuff that you’re ready to use that you don’t really want to use. You want to do what you do. This isn’t the time of year to change your identity."

Offensively, Tillett was happy with the balance the Wildcats displayed as Isaac Tillett, Beasley and Fitzgerald all scored two touchdowns on the ground. Both Tillet (195 yards) and Fitzgerald (106) eclipsed the century mark and Beasley (74), Jordan Miller (37) and Brady Bess (24) were also effective.

"That’s the key to everything offensively," Aaron Tillett said. "It’s not so much about how many times everybody gets it. It’s about their productivity when they get it. Having Porter and Jordan gash them up the middle, it takes the focus away from some of our speedy guys like Isaac. We’ve been a team that’s tried to emphasize balance. We don’t want to rely on one person to take us to the Promised Land."

That said, Tillett emphasized the importance of the quarterback in an option offense and praised Beasley for another solid outing.

"The ball is in his hands on every play," he said. "He’s the one who decides who does the damage."

Moving forward, Tillett said both the offensive and defensive units are feeling confident heading into Saturday’s state title game against Beaver. Though Beaver narrowly escaped its semifinal matchup against North Summit with a 14-6 win, he said both the Wildcats and Beavers have proven they’re the best two teams in 2A and he’s expecting a great game.

"North Summit is a good enough team that they make you have to earn games like that," he said. "It’s not a surprise Beaver struggled with North Summit.

"This is going to be our toughest challenge in a 2A game and their toughest challenge as well. I think it’s going to be two evenly matched, very similar teams. They’ve got really good skill players and we’ve got some, too."

With a 21-game winning streak on the line, Tillett said South Summit (11-0 overall) expects to win on Saturday against a 10-1 Beaver squad.

"There’s not going to be a whole lot of satisfaction if we don’t win it," he said. "I know that’s a lot of pressure, but there’s no reason not to go win it. That’s the nature of winning games — each game gets more and more important and there’s more pressure on you. This is as big as it’s ever going to get."

Saturday’s state championship game is scheduled to kick off at noon at Weber State University in Ogden.