The Tigers jumped to a 14-0 first-quarter lead and didn’t look back in their season opener Friday night on the road in Thornton against Skyview High School. Summit came away with a 35-18 win to kick off the year.
“It’s a great way to start the season,” Tiger head coach Dylan Hollingsworth said, assessing his team’s performance. “It’s a heck of a lot better to start the season 1-0 than 0-1, but you have to keep it in perspective. It’s one game.”
Hollingsworth said the team still has a lot to work on moving forward but that they seem to be headed in the right direction.
“We still have a lot of problems to fix, but the kids played with a different level of fight than they have in a couple of years.”
Leading rusher Tristan McDonald echoed his coach’s sentiment. “I really feel that everybody is buying into it this year,” he said Saturday. “Everybody is excited to be out there. I think we have more energy and potential than we’ve had any other season.”
Coming off a 2-8 season last year — that also included a Week 1 win — the team hopes this year they can keep their early momentum going.
“One win is great,” Hollingsworth said. “Now do we have what it takes to put together a series of wins?”
He proceeded to add that his team simply needs to learn how to win and be consistent.
“We need to limit turnovers and limit penalties.”
Friday’s win was a good start with no turnovers and just one fumbled snap on offense. The defense also had a strong showing, preventing big plays, tackling efficiently and recording an interception and fumble recovery.
“It was a team effort across the board,” Hollingsworth said, adding that he thought their defense “did a very solid job.”
He also credited strong offensive line play for their 386 yards of combined offense.
“Russ Arnold (assistant coach) has done a phenomenal job with our offensive line. They were the heros of the night.”
Another area of focus Hollingsworth discussed leading up to the game was the ability to sustain drives — an area where they struggled last season . The Tigers were able to do so effectively Friday night with an 8-play, 65-yard opening drive for a touchdown. Later in the game they also put together an impressive 21-play drive for a score.
Led by an effective running game that averaged 4.9 yards per carry, the team didn’t need to open up the passing game, which Hollingsworth said could continue to grow in their new offensive scheme.
“We felt comfortable that if we had to throw the ball we would have. There was no reason to put the ball in the air and take that chance,” he said.
Senior runningback Tristan McDonald led the way with 29 rushes for 149 yards, followed by junior Drew Chastain who added 73 yards and a touchdown on 12 attempts. Freshman Vale Hildebrand also contributed to the win with an 86-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the second quarter.
Tiger senior quarterback Luke Egging went 6-12 passing for 85 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 79 yards and a score on a quarterback sneak. Eddie Jane led the way among receivers with 41 yards and a touchdown. Jack Anderson caught Egging’s other touchdown pass. Three of Egging’s incomplete passes were in the endzone, according to Hollingsworth.
The Tigers will host non-league opponent Harrison High School in their home opener Friday, Sept. 5, at Farmer’s Korner.
“They are going to be tough. They are a team that has an attitude and a lot of aggression. On defense they’re bringing it. On offense their taking chances,” Hollingsworth said. “We’re looking forward to this week. We’re hoping to have a strong crowd.”