Summit football ready for return to packed Tiger Stadium on Friday vs. Skyview
Tigers home-opener scheduled for 7 p.m. kickoff
Full-fledged Friday night lights will be back in Summit County this week when the Summit Tigers (0-1) welcome the visiting Skyview Wolverines (0-1) to Tiger Stadium in Breckenridge.
With family, fans and a Summit student section in the bleachers, the Tigers will be able to feed off atmospheric energy that was not there during a COVID-ravaged 2020 campaign. Last year, the Tigers played only one home game before contact tracing and public health regulations upended the season, canceled games and forced the team fully away from home for the final four matchups. This year, the Tigers will welcome teams to town on five Fridays, and head coach James Wagner couldn’t be more excited to have fan energy feed this year’s team, which has the motto “Be electric.”
“I think people are excited just to be able to go out on Friday night again and support the team,” Wagner said. “We’re fired up to be playing in front of a home crowd, in front of our peers and friends because, for the kids, knowing their friends are watching them creates a buzz for them. They’re excited to take the field on their home turf and get last week out of their mind.”
Last Friday, the Tigers fell 27-0 at Delta, an early-season favorite to win the 2A state championship. After licking their wounds this week, Wagner said Summit’s seniors are especially ready to embrace the Tiger Stadium buzz.
Leading the charge of those Summit seniors on Friday will be star wide receiver and free safety Aidan Collins. Though Collins was bottled up last week offensively for just 23 yards receiving, he was the Tigers’ leader with six solo tackles and seven assisted tackles. Skyview is sure to scheme to take Collins out of Friday’s matchup, but whatever happens offensively, Wagner knows No. 17 will be a force on defense.
“He backs up everything he says with his play,” Wagner said. “Defensively, he understands the whole picture. When he knows what’s going on as a free safety, as the quarterback of the defense, he can put people in places of where they’re supposed to be. He knows how to be aggressive and fly downhill in the run game. He’s like a third linebacker at the free safety position. And the angles he takes in the passing game are spot on. He’s usually not too far off in anything he does.”
Speaking of quarterbacks of the defense, Wagner said it’s senior Alex Sanchez — the Tigers’ leading rusher last week on offense — who is the inside linebacker he signals in calls. In Sanchez, the coach said it’s nice to have a veteran in there he can trust. Wagner said Sanchez also brings a swagger about him to the team, which pairs well with the frenetic energy of fellow senior linebacker Jackson Segal.
Against Skyview, Wagner said he is looking for the defense as a whole to play fast while executing a simpler game plan rooted in base formations and concepts.
“Keep it simple, and let the kids fly around,” he said.
Ashley Low/For the Summit Daily News
Who: Summit Tigers (0-1) vs. Skyview Wolverines (0-1)
Where: Tiger Stadium, Summit High School, Breckenridge
When: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 3
How to watch: Go to Facebook.com/summitdailynews for sports editor Antonio Olivero’s Facebook Live broadcast
On special teams, Wagner hopes to get Collins more involved after he was stymied to a large degree on offense last week.
“When he gets the ball, you never know what’s going to happen, but it’s usually something pretty darn good,” Wagner said.
On offense, Tigers junior first-year quarterback Jack Schierholz will look to grow off a maiden game where he threw four interceptions. Wagner made it clear after the loss to Delta all four of those picks were not solely on Schierholz, the coach adding blame to himself and his staff as well for putting the junior in tricky spots.
Against Skyview — a side that lost 28-0 to tough Conifer last week — Wagner said he likes the Tigers matchups on the outside versus man coverage. If the Tigers can get some guys — like Collins, senior Phil Berezinski and some talented running backs and tight ends — in open space, he’s confident Summit can make the plays it struggled with last week.
Though Summit will still be without several key starters, junior tight end and defensive end Brecken Perlow is back this week while senior tight end and defensive lineman KJ Slaugh and junior tight end and versatile defensive player Zach Elam should be available after injuries suffered last week. The team will also benefit from having more kids prepared to play, such as the talented Berezinski and important lineman GC Martinez, than last week when school contact tracing kept some crucial players out of practice.
“It’s not an ideal situation to have guys miss practice then go into a game and expect them to be executing at all levels,” the coach said.
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