Wildcats rout San Juan
Punt, punt, blocked punt, punt on third down, punt, interception, fumble, fumble. That’s how the eight first-half possessions by San Juan ended on Friday afternoon in Kamas.
Though the South Summit Wildcats entered the 2A quarterfinal game with an 0-7 all-time record against the Broncos, one couldn’t be blamed for thinking the Wildcats’ record against San Juan was 7-0.
The Broncos’ second half possessions didn’t go much better, ending in two punts and a turnover on downs as South Summit rolled to a 43-0 victory.
The win was extra sweet for the Wildcats, who have lost to San Juan in the state championship game four times. In addition to earning the first win against the Broncos in school history, South Summit also ended San Juan’s impressive streak of 169 straight games without being shut out.
The Wildcats couldn’t have been happier after the game.
"It’s tremendous," coach Jerry Parker said. "You don’t know how much pain they’ve caused us."
Senior Brad Richins summed up the Wildcats’ win succinctly.
"Now they’re 7-1 [against us]," he said.
While the Broncos’ offense was struggling mightily, the Wildcats had no such troubles, scoring three times in the opening quarter. Colby Averett scored the first two South Summit touchdowns, one on a powerful eight-yard blast and one from four yards out, set up by a 47-yard punt return by Bracken Santos. He’d add a third touchdown run early in the second quarter, this one on a 13-yard scamper. After Quinn Zimmerman blocked a San Juan punt and Averett recovered, Keyton Gines scored on a five-yard run for the Wildcats’ final first-quarter touchdown.
A San Juan pass was intercepted by Carson Freestone just before halftime and returned 47 yards for a score to give South Summit a 36-0 advantage at the break. Matt Lee and Jordan McNair also recovered fumbles in the second quarter.
After halftime, the Wildcats were content to simply grind down the clock, controlling possession and marching methodically down the field while limiting San Juan to only three second-half possessions. The only second-half touchdown came courtesy of Gines, who sprinted through the Bronco defense for a 27-yard touchdown, his second of the afternoon.
Parker said credit goes to the defense for maiming the Broncos all afternoon.
"Our defense did a wonderful job," he said. "They played outstanding."
Offensively, Parker said he’s proud of the way his offensive line opened running lanes all game long.
"Our offensive line is very good," he said. "They’re underrated as far as it goes in the state. This win goes to them."
And, though quarterback Ty Jones didn’t put up flashy numbers, Parker said he was very happy with the way Jones put the Wildcats in a great position to win.
"That’s what he needs to do for us to win it all," he said. "He’s got to do that again. We’re hard to stop when he’s on his game like that."
After a long break, during which the Wildcats didn’t play for 16 days, Parker said his team was just happy to get back on the field.
"A week off is so hard," he said. "It feels like we haven’t played in forever."
"Sometimes you get rusty after a bye week," Richins added. "But Colby’s a great runner and our line did what they needed to today."
With the win, the Wildcats advance to this weekend’s semifinal match at Southern Utah University, where they’ll face off against Beaver. Parker said it’s important that South Summit stays energized and doesn’t get complacent with the big win.
"If I have to fire them up [for Saturday’s game], there’s something definitely wrong," he said. "We’re going to prepare them and then it’s on them. These games are tests. We practice and study all week. Test day, it’s on them."
If all the Wildcats feel the same way as Richins, Beaver will have its hands full.
"It’s win or go home," he said. "You either win or you start getting ready for winter sports. We’ve got to stay hungry."
Saturday’s 2A semifinal matchup at Southern Utah University is scheduled to kick off at 1:30 p.m.
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Park City is the lone undefeated team in Region 10 play after a 60-30 win over Mountain View. The Miners have three more region games in their quest to repeat as region champions.