Summit High football falls in season opener at Delta
Tigers open home slate at 7 p.m. Friday vs. Skyview at Tiger Stadium
The Summit High School varsity football team battled through sudden injuries in a 27-0 loss at Delta High School in Grand Junction Friday night, Aug. 27.
Tigers head coach James Wagner knew the season-opening tilt would be a challenge against the 2020 2A state semifinalist Panthers. That situation grew worse when the Tigers had two contributors at the all-important tight end position suffer injuries in the game’s opening moments. Summit senior KJ Slaugh injured his ankle on the first play of the game, and junior Zach Elam was forced out of the game after a tackle to the ribs on the first drive.
The losses added to an already bad situation for the Tigers, as Summit came into the game without three two-way starters in Christian Broughton, Will Koll and Gavin Vogt. Wagner said not having three tight ends hampered the Tigers’ ability to play out of their preferred “12 formation,“ which features two tight ends on the field at a time.
“Right away we had to adjust what we wanted to do offensively, and it kind of put us in a scramble situation because we game planned to have those two kids there throughout the day,” Wagner said.
The Tigers leaned on first-time starter Jack Schierholz on offense. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound junior rushed eight times and completed 6-of-20 passes for 54 yards through the air. Wagner said with Delta double- and sometimes triple-teaming star wide receiver Aidan Collins, Summit utilized Schierholz in a triple-option attack. Collins, a senior, caught two passes for 23 yards, while first-year senior Phil Berezinski caught three passes for 31 yards. Collins also led the team with six tackles on defense.
“Their defense was keying on Aidan, and Jack took advantage of that and converted some first downs,” Wagner said. “Their cornerbacks were really good at covering, and Jack did some really good things.”
Though Schierholz threw four interceptions, Wagner said he made some good decisions and will learn from his first game at the helm. Wagner said one interception was not on Schierholz, as it ricocheted off a receiver’s hands. Another interception came on fourth down on a shot downfield that was intercepted inside the 5-yard line and, for all intents and purposes, was equivalent to a punt.
“He threw one ill-advised pass, rolling to his left and (throwing) it back across his body, which is the one he’ll learn from,” Wagner said. “He knows not to do that again. And the last one was a bad play call on our part. It’s the first week. Coaches are going to make mistakes. Kids are going to make mistakes. He’s a great player and leader and is going to be good player for us for the rest of the season.”
Wagner credited Slaugh for gutting through the ankle injury to contribute throughout the night on as many plays as he could. The coach also highlighted the play at linebacker by senior Jackson Segal, who missed the 2020 season, to lead the Tigers’ defense in a solid effort. Another player who did not play in 2020, senior Alex Sanchez, led the Tigers with 32 yards rushing on 10 attempts.
“KJ never quit, and our kids never quit,” Wagner said. “You watch the film and we battled in the trenches all night long. We didn’t give up long run plays. They were doing a good job chunking down field, slowly but surely, but we made some good plays in their backfield. It’s good to play against a really good team so we can fix our mistakes. You want to continue to up your game and play good programs. And I’m proud of the way we came out last night, the energy. We never quit, and these guys are going to be OK. Any time I’ve asked them to respond about a situation they do. I have full faith in my guys.”
The Tigers will return to action against Skyview at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 3, for the home opener at Tiger Stadium in Breckenridge.
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