Wildcats are champions again | ParkRecord.com

Wildcats are champions again

When the South Summit High School football team needed a first down or a touchdown this season, there was one play that would often get the job done.

Quarterback Ty Jones would drop back to pass, with two or three receivers running "go" patterns straight up the field. Sometimes, it would be receiver Ethan Miles who would get open. Other times, tight end Matt Brady was the target. On Friday at Southern Utah University, in the 2A state championship game, senior receiver Bracken Santos was the one who found himself in position to make a big-time play.

Jones took the snap and retreated from the line of scrimmage, scanning the field and looking off the Summit Academy safety. Santos sped right up the middle of the field, sprinting past the Bear defenders as Jones launched the pass, which hit Santos in stride for a 46-yard touchdown to extend the Wildcats’ lead to 14-6 in a game they’d go on to win 28-6.

A South Summit fumble on the first play from scrimmage set the Bears up in great field position, ultimately leading to a Summit Academy touchdown.

After falling behind 6-0, seniors Jones, Averett and Santos decided they’d had enough. With Averett’s bruising running style moving the chains, Jones scored the Wildcats’ first touchdown on a 49-yard burst to put his team on top 7-6.

Then, after trading punts with the Bears for a few possessions, Jones and Santos took advantage of a connection they have been forging since they became friends at age two. First came the 46-yard bomb. Then, just before halftime, the two connected again, with Santos making a diving catch on a nine-yard pass to put the Wildcats ahead 21-6 at intermission.

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Jones struggled to put into words what it was like to share yet another state championship with Santos, one of his oldest friends.

"I can’t describe the feeling," he said. "It’s just so overwhelming. We’ve known each other since we were two years old. Getting that connection, it was awesome. I knew where he was going to be and he knew where I was going to throw the ball to him. It was perfect."

The second half turned into a defensive struggle, with the only score coming when South Summit linebacker Harley Georgi intercepted a pass after it was tipped by Miles, taking it 13 yards to the house to put the finishing touch on the 28-6 victory and secure South Summit’s second-straight 2A championship.

With guys like Santos, Jones, Brady, Miles, Colby Averett, Quinn Zimmerman and Isaac Tillett on the team, South Summit coach Jerry Parker had a wealth of options when it came to play-calling. Sometimes teams with that much individual talent implode, failing to live up to expectations as players vie for their own personal glory.

But, Parker said, that wasn’t the case at all with this year’s Wildcat squad.

"They sacrifice their own personal [statistics] for the team," he said. "Bracken could have carried the ball a lot this year. We could have fed Colby on every down. But we spread it out and kept everybody involved. They sacrifice for each other."

"We are happy when someone else does well," Santos added. "That’s the way we’ve always been and that’s the way we always will be."

Parker said the great thing about this year’s squad was that anyone could have been the hero on Friday afternoon it just so happened that Santos and Jones stepped up.

"That’s what’s neat about this team we have individuals where we can say, ‘OK, now it’s your turn you go do it,’" he said. "Ty and Bracken have been playing together since little league and they have a great connection with each other."

That great connection spread to the rest of the team, too, Parker added.

"They’re exceptional together as a team," he said. "They took care of the young kids. They just mesh so well together and they know their jobs and they just go out and do it. It’s been a great year, a wonderful year."

For Jones, Santos and the rest of the senior class, winning a state title this year was even better than winning as juniors.

"It’s the most overwhelming, best feeling ever," Jones said. "Junior year hit me pretty good, but senior year, this is the only way to go out."

"We get to go out on top," Santos continued. "We all had great games and it’s just amazing that we’re back-to-back state champions."

That legacy, Santos hopes, will be one people remember for a long time in Kamas.

"It’s kind of hard to think about that," he said. "Going back-to-back, we’re going to be one of the greatest [classes], hopefully, to ever play at South Summit."

South Summit finished the season with a record of 11-1.