Dynamic John F. Kennedy quarterback to challenge Summit football defense Saturday in Denver
Tigers (2-1) to take on Commanders (1-2) at 2 p.m.
Summit Tigers football head coach James Wagner’s defense has a tall task ahead of them Saturday afternoon, Sept. 18, in corralling John F. Kennedy of Denver quarterback Isaac Sisneros. The junior dual-threat leader of the Commanders through three games is one of the state’s most prolific of quarterbacks. He has 799 yards passing and 11 passing touchdowns to combine with 120 yards rushing and three touchdowns on the ground.
When the Tigers (2-1) kick off against the Commanders (1-2) in the 2 p.m. showdown Saturday, Wagner hopes his defenders containing Sisneros, and in coverage, react well to scramble situations.
“They are going to challenge us in ways we haven’t been challenged yet,” Wagner said Friday, Sept. 17. “… He’s the guy. He’s got some weapons on the outside that have some speed and they are going to try to stretch us vertically down the field, but he’s the focal point for us. If we can stop this kid and contain him from making crafty plays, we’ll be in a good situation.”
Wagner and Tigers assistant coach Rob Gannon took an inventive approach to preparing Summit’s defenders for Sisneros. Wagner and Gannon each took days this week lacing up their cleats and playing scout-team quarterback against the Tigers defense.
Their focus was on trying to simulate plays in outside-the-pocket, scramble situations that would represent what Sisneros and his receivers will do Saturday. For example, on one day when Wagner rolled out left, he wanted the defenders to react to how JFK’s receivers will streak to open spaces in the defense, north or south, when they see Sisneros scramble. On another day when Gannon rolled out right, he wanted to test Tigers perimeter defenders’ ability to hold the edge and collapse down on rushing openings.
“We’ll see how well it pays off,” Wagner said. “It was fun. I was quarterback one day and Rob was QB the next — we both want to be able to reserve our hamstrings a little bit.”
On Saturday — along with a couple of healthy Tiger coaches who avoided hamstring pulls — Summit will be at better health than they were last week. The Tigers will get back ferocious senior inside linebacker Jackson Segal, who was at his home watching the game via Summit Daily Facebook live stream for last week’s 37-20 triumph over Aspen. Segal figures to be a key returnee thanks to his ability to make plays and tackles in space versus active quarterbacks like Sisneros.
Summit, though, will still be without senior captain center and defensive lineman Graham Kalaf, who as of early this week was still experiencing concussion symptoms. Wagner, though, said Kalaf’s injury has been a great opportunity for fellow senior lineman Jake Boyle to continue to blossom. Boyle, the coach said, was awarded the team’s offensive player of the week award for last week after he found out just two days before the win over Aspen he’d be stepping in to snap the ball to Tigers junior quarterback Jack Schierholz.
Summit Tigers junior quarterback Jack Schierholz drops backs into the pocket as he looks for his receiver during the Tigers’ 37-20 win over the Aspen Skiers Friday, Sept. 10, at Tiger Stadium in Breckenridge. | John Hanson/For the Summit Daily News
Go to Facebook.com/SummitDailyNews at 2 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 18, for sports & outdoors editor Antonio Olivero’s Facebook Live broadcast of the game.
On the defensive line, without Kalaf, Wagner said massive junior playmaker Eli Krawczuk will likely play on the interior while Summit will look to guys like Noe Blanco, KJ Slaugh, Brecken Perlow and Sylas Marsteller to rotate in and out on the line’s edge.
On the offensive end, Summit expects JFK to defend the Tigers’ talented receivers with a single-high safety — cover 1 — and man-to-man defense more off of the line of scrimmage than Aspen utilized last week. As such, Wagner expects Saturday’s game to come down to if Tigers senior star Aidan Collins and the rest of Summit’s offensive playmakers can execute man-beater routes and concepts well with more space at the line of scrimmage. But Saturday surely won’t only be a passing attack for Summit, as Wagner said he wants the team to remain with a close to the 50-50 rush-pass balance they’ve had thus far this season.
As for the QB Schierholz, Wagner said the game will be business as usual, as the junior gunslinger has thrown six touchdowns since his last interception in the season-opening loss at Delta.
“For him taking care of the football is No. 1,” Wagner said. “Then, it’s being a leader and having a command of the offense. And then it’s taking everything play-by-play — whether we are up by 10 or down by 10 — and continuing to run the offense and look for mismatches pre-snap; and staying calm and composed post-snap and deliver the ball. He’s a gamer. He’s got a big arm. He’s just got to stay within himself and trust his instincts and skills and allow his game to do the talking.”
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