South Summit football must reload for 2016
The South Summit High School football team isn’t interested in rebuilding.
Instead, the Wildcats will simply reload for the 2016 season after losing nearly every starter on both sides of the ball from last year’s 11-1 state runner-up squad.
First-year coach Mike Grajek said it’ll be difficult to replace last year’s seniors, but added that South Summit has been in this position before.
“Obviously, it would be nice if we had 10 or 11 starters returning,” he said. “But, in the last two years, this is how it’s been. We’ve been a senior-heavy team.”
Fortunately, Grajek said one of the two returning offensive starters plays the ever-important quarterback position.
“[Nick Beasley] had a great season last year,” he said. “He did great things for us. It’s nice to have his experience and leadership back.”
The other returning offensive contributor is lineman Broughton Flygare. Surrounding Beasley and Flygare will be a new cast of players, but Grajek is confident in the new crew.
“We might not have guys with the same physical capabilities [last year’s seniors] had, but I think we have a strong group,” he said.
Juniors Cole Reidhead and Riley Bayles will take over at the running back spot and juniors Keegan Stracher and Parker Grajek will man the receiver spots. Meanwhile, senior Brandon Dansie and his brother, Jared, will also contribute offensively.
On defense, Flygare is the only returning starter. But, Grajek said, his 11 seniors will fill in on that side of the ball.
“We’re optimistic that with the 11 seniors we have and with some help from the junior class, we’ll have strength in numbers,” he said.
South Summit’s early season schedule doesn’t give the new players much time to acclimate to the varsity level. The Wildcats host a top 2A South team — San Juan — this Friday in their season opener.
“That’s a great test for us to start off with,” Grajek said. “We’ve said we’ll go out and give 100 percent effort. That’s what we can judge — our effort — and we’ll see where the chips lie at the end of those 48 minutes.”
From there, the Wildcats must play 3A powerhouse Morgan and an improved 3AA Park City squad. Grajek said these games will show where improvement is needed if the Wildcats are going to return to the 2A state championship game.
“We’d like to be playing the last day in southern Utah,” he said. “We’ll find out where we’re at pretty quickly. I think, with the kids believing in the process and the program, we’ll be able to see what these kids need to do [to get back to the state title game].”
South Summit’s first home game is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 19. The Wildcats will host San Juan at 5:30 p.m. in Kamas.
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