On the road for the first time, Summit High football loses to Woodland Park 49-10

The Summit High varsity football team takes the field for the National Anthem before the game against the Moffat County Bulldogs on Sept. 6, 2019 in Breckenridge.
Liz Copan /

Summit Tigers first-year head football coach James Wagner knows it’s always tough on a team when the scoreboard reflects a blowout when, in actuality, a game was much more competitive than the score would indicate. But that’s the situation the Summit High varsity football team (1-3) will have to bounce back from after Friday night’s 49-10 loss at Woodland Park.

The Tigers took the lead early on a field goal from their new kicker, junior soccer player Jaden Smith who, in just his second ever football game, drilled a field goal early in the second quarter to make it 3-0. The Tigers extended that lead to 9-0 with an inside-zone TD run from junior Jackson Veeneman. Smith tacked on the second point-after-touchdown kick of his career to make it 10-0.

The inside-zone running game was a bright spot for the Tigers.

“That was an improvement,” Wagner said. “Knowing what we ran and how we ran it, our inside run game was so much better executed this week than it has been in the past. It’s another building point, that we are capable of doing this, and let’s continue to grow and get better.”

Woodland Park was able to break through late in the second quarter, taking advantage of a blown coverage by the Tigers for their first touchdown. After a short Summit punt, the Panthers then took advantage of another short-field position to take a 14-10 lead into halftime.

“We were playing solid defensively all night long,” Wagner said. “We had probably about five or six three-and-outs in the first half, didn’t give up the big plays early on, were playing solid fundamental defensive football. It was great to see, a big improvement from last week.”

Woodland Park then extended the lead in the third quarter. A trick play, a double-reverse flea-flicker, set them up for their fourth touchdown of the night and a 28-10 lead.

Wagner said the trick play was a back-breaker for the Tigers, who gave up 21 more points in the final minutes of the game.

“That’s just kind of how it went,” Wagner said, “but I’m proud of the kids improvements they made through the week. Our success isn’t measured by the outcome on the scoreboard right now. It’s measured by the day-to-day and by the self satisfaction of giving your best effort each and every day.”

Reflecting on the game after a film session Saturday morning, Wagner again hailed the play of senior captain Al Espinosa.

“Al was a man among boys last night,” the coach said. “He was all over the field making tackles. He caused a fumble and Daniel Gonzalez recovered it. We were able to take that fumble recovery and turn it into points.

Summit will return to game action 7 p.m. Friday on the road at Elizabeth. The Tigers will then have a bye week before returning to Tiger Stadium in Breckenridge for homecoming versus Battle Mountain on Friday, Oct. 11 (6:30 p.m.).

Between now and then, Wagner said the Tigers will continue to dial in the little details to get better.

“We are beginning to do take things from the practice field to the game field,” Wagner said, “but now it’s about doing that consistently every play.”

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