SHS Tigers and their fans roar into season | SummitDaily.com

SHS Tigers and their fans roar into season

Janice Kurbjun
summit daily news

Summit Daily/Mark Fox

One word describes the Summit Tigers’ Friday night game against the Battle Mountain Huskies: Eruption.

As in: senior running back Nic Berry erupting in 34 rushes for 210 yards.

He also ran in the final touchdown and snuck in under the line to recover several Battle Mountain fumbles on defense. Berry also snagged an interception – which was negated by a penalty.

The Tigers won, 21-7, but penalties were extensive. Two touchdowns were brought back throughout the game, including Markeith McDonald’s nearly 70-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second half.

“I liked the way we came out to start the game. We had a lot of intensity. The players did their assignments really well,” said SHS head coach Dylan Hollingsworth, whose Friday night game landed him his 50th win in eight years as head coach. His record is now 50-26.

The Tigers prowled the field, stalling their opponents while completing passes and drives to move the team toward the end zone. And then there were the penalties.

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“The penalties in particular hurt us. If we’re going to be the team we want to be – and make a run for the playoffs – we just can’t have that stuff,” Hollingsworth said. “We would do something good and then we would shoot ourselves by doing something bad.”

Still, there were plenty of team highlights to drive the black-out crowd in the stands wild.

Like brand-new senior quarterback-kicker Sean Farley, whose speed and skill from the soccer field outweighed his inexperience on the turf. He beat out sophomore Luke Egging and junior Creed Wilson for the spot, but is still rough around the edges. He had eight of 19 completions for 102 yards passing and performed well under pressure.

Senior receiver Markeith McDonald was Farley’s receiver for all of those yards as the dynamic duo teamed together to produce two of the team’s three touchdowns.

Outside of the limelight is the offensive line, which Hollingsworth said in a preseason interview he had his eye on for success.

“This is the biggest team size-wise since 2004,” he said. He’s not the only one who’s noticed the traditionally lanky ski children have beefed up this year.

“They established the run game early on and that helped us do other things,” Hollingsworth said. “Those linemen did a good job.”

After the season opener and looking ahead to Steamboat Friday (at Steamboat), Hollingsworth said he and his coaches want to continue to drill the players to be more disciplined in practice. It was the little things that caused penalties, but a playoff team doesn’t make little mistakes, he said.

Additionally, he noticed work needs to be done on defense to ensure it is stalling the opponent from the get-go. On Friday, the defense wasn’t cohesive at the start, which resulted in Battle Mountain’s late first-quarter touchdown.

“In the second half, (Battle Mountain) had nothing,” Hollingsworth said. “They really shut things down.”

Leading the defense was junior Tyler Blackford, who had his first start as a linebacker and had eight tackles.

Conversion is also key, Hollingsworth said.

“Three times, we got inside their 20 and came away with no points. … We have to do something with the ball,” the head coach said.

Season outlook

The 2012 team wants to be remembered, Hollingsworth said in his preseason interview, and he aims to get them there.

This year is the 25th anniversary of the program – several previous players and coaches were recognized at halftime of Friday’s game to celebrate – and today’s players want to leave a legacy like the 2006 and 2008 teams did with their runs for the state title.

They lost a handful of excellent talent – including some who went on to play college ball. Hollingsworth tallied a quarterback, two receivers, a tailback (the leading rusher for last season) and two offensive linemen as well as four defensive backs, one linebacker, and one defensive lineman who have new faces stepping into their roles this season. They’re also lacking an experience kicker and punter – which has been filled for the time being with Farley.

Leaving a legacy might be possible, Hollingsworth said. There’s a quality of leadership in the team this year that will be key to developing skill throughout the bench. The younger players will need to perform for the team to be good.

That’s where 2008 fell short, Hollingsworth said. The older players weren’t mentors for the younger guys.

Early on, the coach called for more enthusiasm and emotion from his players, which they seemed to deliver Friday night.

The league change isn’t going to help much, either, according to the coach. Eight out of the 10 teams in the league made the playoffs in the last four years, so it’s stiff competition even on the west side of the Continental Divide.

“The Battle Mountain kids came out with a lot of intensity and a lot of pride. … We have to set a standard early in the season on who we’re going to beat, what kind of team we’re going to beat,” Hollingsworth said.

The team wants to be remembered, Hollingsworth said in his preseason interview. He aims to get them there.

This year is the 25th anniversary – several previous players and coaches were recognized at halftime of Friday’s game to celebrate – and today’s players want to leave a legacy like the 2006 and 2008 teams did with their runs for the state title.

They lost a handful of excellent talent – including some who went on to play college ball. Hollingsworth tallied a quarterback, two receivers, a tailback (the leading rusher for last season) and two offensive linemen as well as four defensive backs, one linebacker, and one defensive lineman who have new faces stepping into their roles this season. They’re also lacking an experience kicker and punter – which has been filled for the time being with Farley.

Leaving a legacy might be possible, Hollingsworth said. There’s a quality of leadership in the team this year that will be key to developing skill throughout the bench. The younger players will need to perform for the team to be good.

That’s where 2008 fell short, Hollingsworth said. The older players weren’t mentors for the younger guys.

Early on, the coach called for more enthusiasm and emotion from his players, which they seemed to deliver Friday night.

The league change isn’t going to help much, either, according to the coach. Eight out of the 10 teams in the league made the playoffs in the last four years, so it’s stiff competition even on the west side of the Continental Divide.

“The Battle Mountain kids came out with a lot of intensity and a lot of pride. … We have to set a standard early in the season on who we’re going to beat, what kind of team we’re going to beat,” Hollingsworth said.

> Team rival: Non-conference – Battle Mountain; Conference – D’Evelyn

> Home game not to miss: 7 p.m., Sept 14 – Silver Creek at Tiger Stadium

> Players to watch: Grant Koch (offensive/ defensive tackle, three-year starter); Markeith McDonald (wide receiver/cornerback, two-year starter); Nolan Rookey (tight end/defensive end, three-year starter); Nic Berry (running back/linebacker, three-year starter)

> 2011 record: 6-4

> Head coach:

> Dylan Hollingsworth

> Years coaching: Eight years in head coach role

> Team goal: Make a return to the playoffs for the first time since 2008

> Sept. 7 – Steamboat at Steamboat, 7 p.m.

> Sept. 14 – Silver Creek at Summit, 7 p.m.

> Sept. 21 – Lutheran (Homecoming) at Summit, 6 p.m.

> Sept. 28 – D’Evelyn at Trailblazer Stadium, 7:30 p.m.

> Oct. 5 – Moffat County at Moffat County, 7 p.m.

> Oct. 12 – Alameda at Summit, 7 p.m.

> Oct. 19 – Arvada at Trailblazer Stadium, 7:30 p.m.

> Oct. 26 – Conifer at Summit, 7 p.m.

> Nov. 2 – Evergreen at Evergreen, 6 p.m.