Summit football ready for strong Glenwood Springs test in conference opener
Tigers take on Demons at 1 p.m. Saturday at Tiger Stadium
After a strong 3-2 start, the Summit Tigers varsity football team will begin a five-week, five-game league slate to round out the season with their conference opener versus Glenwood Springs at 1p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9, at Tiger Stadium.
Tigers head coach James Wagner said the Demons (3-2) are a proud, proven program that is challenging opposing defenses with two distinct offenses. One is its more traditional double-tight, double-wing offensive formation that features one tight end and one wingback flanking behind a tight end on each side.
The spread formation has opened up another option on offense for its dynamic sophomore quarterback Joaquin Sandonval, who is no stranger to finding the end zone on the ground or through the air. When the Demons have the ball, the Tigers are ready for the challenge that is their bread-and-butter rushing attack. That can also come on designed quarterback runs and option sprint-outs from the spread. The coach said he has been sure to drill his team on how to transition defensively play to play between each of Glenwood’s offensive formations.
“We treated it like we’re playing two separate teams,” Wagner said. “We had two weeks to prepare for both styles of offense they go about.”
Wagner said the Tigers will have to wait to see if Demons senior running back Blake Nieslanik will play Saturday. Wagner said Nieslanik’s recent absences combined with the caliber of Glenwood’s two defeats — against Basalt and undefeated state-title contender Roosevelt — put Saturday’s task in perspective for his Tigers.
“They are going to be coming out with a vengeance trying to attack and make up for their loss last week,” Wagner said.
On the Demons defense, Wagner said he admires the way Glenwood’s two inside linebackers, freshman Mason Markovich and senior Teddy Hutenhower are thick gap-fillers who flow downhill well and remind football fans of neck-rolled backers of yesteryear.
Going against thumpers like Glenwood’s backers, the Tigers linemen — namely senior captain Graham Kalaf and junior monster Eli Krawczuk — know the battle they are in for, Wagner said.
“I’ve been talking about it all week with the kids that this is a different ballgame than we’ve been in all year,” he said. “The physicality will hit them in the mouth. The kids understand what’s at stake.”
Tigers junior quarterback Jack Schierholz will look to build off his balanced three-touchdown, 200-yard passing, 81-yard rushing performance in Summit’s last game, the 41-7 homecoming “blackout” win over Middle Park. With Schierholz at the helm, Wagner said Summit has continued to grow its playbook through the bye week to take advantage of a team healthy from recent nagging injuries. Wagner said Summit’s injuries are of the smaller scale, such as Tigers senior captain wide receiver and defensive back Aidan Collin’s sprained thumb.
Collins, like always, will be the focal point of Summit’s offensive attack between the tackles and on the perimeter. With Glenwood assuredly putting the star in the crosshairs of their defensive scouting and game plan, Wagner said Summit likes the matchups Saturday for junior tight ends Zach Elam and Brecken Perlow and reliable starting senior wide receiver Phil Berezinski.
As for Schierholz under center, Wagner said the junior is settled into being a composed, captain leader at the all-important position for the Tigers.
“He’s excited to be in conference play while we have the team in the position where we are in the hunt,” Wagner said. “This should be a fun stretch of football.”
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