What can you say about a 2-7 season? It’s character building? Maybe. Summit head coach Dylan Hollingsworth certainly hopes it will be for his young squad going in to next season. The Summit Tiger football team closed the year with a 41-0 loss to playoff-bound Evergreen (8-2 overall) at home Friday night.
“We had some miscommunications on defense that led to some big plays,” senior defensive lineman and fullback Duncan Roberts said after the final loss. “We didn’t play our game on offense.”
Evergreen jumped out to a 21-0 start in the first quarter led by a strong night from senior quarterback Jack Curtis.
“He was very composed. He made some big throws,” Hollingsworth said, adding, “you can tell that team has a lot of seniors on it. That’s what we’re hoping for from our sophomores and juniors next year.”
Field position and turnovers were big factors throughout.
“The story of the year,” Hollingsworth said. “Penalties and turnovers gave them the short field early on. Instead of making them earn it we gave them opportunities.”
Curtis also took advantage of a mismatched young Tiger secondary.
“There’s not a single senior in that defensive backfield and not one of those guys played varsity last year,” Hollingsworth said of his defensive backfield. “Hopefully the experience this year will pay dividends next year.”
Coming into the season the team only had three returning starters on both the offensive and defensive sides. Next year they will have eight returning on offense and seven of 11 on defense.
Even with the score, the Tiger defense looked stout at times and the secondary played tight coverage on a number of the big plays.
But, Hollingsworth pointed out, “We need to them to play the ball, not play the man.”
For the graduating seniors it was a tough way to go out, but Hollingsworth commended their dedication throughout the season.
“I’m really proud of the effort they put forth through the season,” he said of his few seniors. “Even though they only won two games, they had a good attitude about it.”
“It’s always hard when the season’s ending,” Roberts said of his final year. “This year was hard being a senior. Hopefully the team will continue to get better.”
For the most part, Evergreen shutdown the Tiger offense Friday night. Summit went 0-6 in the passing game, had four turnovers and was held to just 132 yards rushing. “That’s a bad day,” Hollingsworth said.
The lone bright spots on offense were a few big runs by junior running back Tristan McDonald who finished the night with 75 yards on nine carries.
Junior quarterback Luke Egging did not return in the second half due a shoulder injury, according to Hollingsworth.
“He took a hit to the shoulder,” Hollingsworth said. “Luke was not playing like himself. We pulled him at halftime because of his symptoms.”
Senior linebacker Tyler Blackford lead the way for the defense with eight tackles. Defensive backs Jordan Nelson and Riley Beck each accounted for seven.
“That’s very telling when your safeties are your leading tacklers,” Hollingsworth said.
As for more positive spin on a tough season, the Tigers lost four games by nine points or less.
“Three we lost by less than a touchdown,” Hollingsworth said he told his players. “It’s important to not loose sight that we could have finished 5-4.”
He hopes his team heads into the off-season positive, and that they stay dedicated.
“I believe that our biggest challenge moving forward is the off-season. The weight room is huge. The kids have got to buy in. If they’re willing to do it, they’ve got the talent.”
SHS Sports Notes: Boys soccer
Ponderosa High School ended the Tiger soccer team’s playoff run last Tuesday with a hard fought 2-1 win in the second round.
“We were the clear underdogs,” Tigers head coach Tommy Gogolen said, “and we had them on their heels.”
Gogolen was also nominated as 4A Western Slope League Coach of the year this week. Full story is available online at SummitDaily.com