Summit High School Tigers football team closes season with win over Steamboat

Team awaits 3A state playoff seeding

Summit High School Tigers junior tight end Zach Elam leaps between a pair of Aspen defenders during the Tigers' 37-20 win over the visiting Aspen Skiers Sept. 10 at Tiger Stadium in Breckenridge.
John Hanson/For the Summit Daily News

The Summit High School Tigers were focused on dominating from the first snap against the Steamboat Sailors in the last football game of the regular season on Friday, Nov. 5.

Summit displayed this type of domination against Battle Mountain two weeks ago at the Tigers’ senior night game. On that night, the Tigers looked unstoppable and put up 33 unanswered points in the first half. The Tigers would end up shutting out the Huskies 47-0.

This week, the Tigers took the field and started running away with the game against the Sailors in the first quarter. The Tigers put up 28 points in the first quarter, with proper execution on the offensive line that led to the backfield being able punch through the Steamboat defense.

Senior running back Alex Sanchez had his way with the Sailors defense, adding to his 446 yards and six touchdowns rushing on the season.

“We had a good game plan coming into the game,” head coach James Wagner said. “We wanted to run the ball. We were able to attack and make plays when we needed to. When we play with confidence and understand what is at stake, we play really good football.”

Summit High School running back Alex Sanchez dives forward for a couple of yards during the Tigers 41-0 win over the Glenwood Springs Demons on Oct. 9 at Tiger Stadium in Breckenridge.
Kerri Elam/Courtesy photo

The Tigers were able continue to capitalize on the run game, which opened up opportunities to throw the ball as well. Summit added two more touchdowns to put the game pretty far out of reach with a halftime score of 42-14.

In the locker room, coach Wagner urged his guys to keep it “business as usual” in the second half.

“Good teams know how to finish,” Wagner said. “You’ve got to continue to go out there and put together a good product. I told them to not let the opportunity where you are in a position to put an exclamation point on your season go to waste.”

The Tigers then put up a strong case for why they deserve to be in the 3A state football playoffs this year. The team’s defense held the Sailors out of the end zone in the third quarter, while the offense was able to produce another touchdown and bring the Tigers up 48-14 at the end of the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, the Sailors were able to get their offense going and scored two touchdowns, but the margin was just too large to overcome. The Tigers would end up scoring one final touchdown to win the game 55-27.

Across the board, Wagner said the Tigers seniors were the ones who shined bright on both sides of the ball in what could be their last game together as teammates.

Junior quarterback Jack Schierholz was able to feed to ball to his senior wide receivers and running backs for the Tigers’ eight touchdowns.

Senior Aidan Collins had two rushing touchdowns of his own to polish off a regular season that saw him pound out 10 touchdown receptions and eight rushing touchdowns after Friday’s game.

The win against the Sailors improves the Tigers to 7-3 for the season and 4-1 in the 3A Central West League. Summit is now ranked second in the Central West behind Palisade, who beat them in a 29-26 nail-biter on Oct. 15.

The Tigers have a chance of making it to the 2021 3A state football playoffs, but are currently ranked 17th in the state — one place out of the playoffs. According to Wagner, the team is a thousandth of a point out of 16th place and the bracket will be released Sunday, Nov. 7, at noon.

The state playoff brackets are determined by four sources of data, including rating percentage index, Colorado High School Activities Association Now coaches poll, Maxpreps rankings and Packard rankings. The state association’s football committee will consider all of these factors together when determining the 3A Colorado State Football playoff bracket.

The Summit Tigers football team hasn’t made the playoffs since 2006, 15 years ago. If the coaches poll is an indication of what fate may be in store for the Tigers, the Tigers received two votes in the last coaches poll released Sunday, Oct. 31.

“These kids deserve the opportunity to get that chance,” Wagner said. We are all hoping for it, but I don’t have a ton of say in whether or not that happens for us. It’s just a matter of a couple of things falling in our favor, and we will see what happens.”

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