Summit football ready for scrappy Middle Park at homecoming
The Summit High School varsity football team (2-2) is expecting a stern test from a scrappy 2A side in Middle Park High School (1-2) for homecoming Friday, Sept. 24, in Breckenridge.
Tigers head coach James Wagner said Summit will take on a dual-threat quarterback for the second straight week, this time in Panthers senior Davis Emery. Summit’s ability to stop the rushing threat of Emery, as well as his penchant to find versatile receiver Jackson Cimino through the air, will play a big part in whether Summit can bounce back from its 33-20 loss last weekend at John F. Kennedy in Denver.
“He’s a dual-threat kid who’s tough and runs hard,” Wagner said about Emery. “He’s a stockier type of guy who likes to run downhill when he gets his shoulders squared away. He likes to go north and south, and he’ll run the perimeter run game. But once he sees an alley, he’s going to take it.”
Emery will lead a Panthers offense attack that likes to pull its offensive linemen to execute trap and buck-sweep play calls. While Emery leads Middle Park’s rushing attack averaging 79 yards of the team’s 113 rushing yardage per game, Wagner said senior Tanner Shannon also provides athleticism.
“When he gets an alley, he runs hard,” the coach said. “We’ve got to stop their inside run game.”
The good news for Summit is senior captain offensive and defensive lineman Graham Kalaf will return Friday after missing Summit’s previous two games with concussion symptoms. Wagner said Kalaf figures to plug in at one defensive end position to complement junior defensive tackle Eli Krawczuk, who is wreaking havoc on interior offensive lines with his size.
“He’s going to be an animal, Wagner said. “I see them having a tough time blocking him.”
It was Krawczuk who was in the middle of some practice fun this week for the Tigers. Wagner pulled something out of New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s playbook, and he stopped practice to have the team undertake a fun challenge. The challenge was for Tigers junior quarterback Jack Schierholz to punt away to several Tigers linemen. If the linemen caught the punt, the team as a whole would avert extra conditioning.
Go to Facebook.com/SummitDailyNews at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24, for Sports & Outdoors Editor Antonio Olivero’s Facebook Live broadcast of the game.
With their fellow Tigers looking on, Tigers linemen like GC Martinez, Jake Boyle and Sylas Marsteller caught Schierholz’s punts on the fly. Then Krawczuk, the final punt receiver, initially missed Schierholz’s punt, kicked the ball back up into the air before it hit the turf and caught it while sprawled out on the ground.
“When Eli caught it on the ground, everyone went nuts,” Wagner said. “It was a fun, cool scene and a great way to end practice. Honestly, after last week’s game practice, this week was just getting back to who we are as a team. In some ways, I’m thankful for the loss we had. It allowed us to get our minds right and focus in on things to do well as a team.”
Kalaf isn’t the only crucial Tigers defender returning from injury, as senior inside linebacker Jackson Segal will play Friday after suffering a groin injury before last week’s loss. Segal will pair with the emerging junior Tigers linebacker Keaton Smith to read opportunities to make plays with all of those pulling Middle Park offensive linemen.
On offense, the Tigers want to execute coordinator Sean Mase’s scheme in a balanced fashion. Wagner said senior Alex Sanchez’s runs between the tackles will be a big part of what the Tigers do as well as Schierholz finding athletes Aidan Collins, Phil Berezinski, Zach Elam and Brecken Perlow downfield.
“They know their role,” Wagner said. “Any one of them, if their name is called upon, we expect them to execute, especially after a good week of practice.”
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