Summit Snow Tigers youth football wins Rocky Mountain championship
FRISCO — Despite having only 22 players on the roster, the Summit Snow Tigers fourth- and fifth-grade youth football team (5-2) won this season’s Rocky Mountain Showdown championship.
On Oct. 19 in Kremmling, Summit avenged a pair of losses earlier in the season to Kremmling, winning 13-12 in a classic run-heavy football game.
In his first season as Snow Tigers head coach, Dan Cotter brought a new level of teamwork, devotion and desire to the program, director McChan Rawson said.
Cotter also had the Snow Tigers play a more between-the-tackles style of offense throughout the season against Rocky Mountain competition, compiling a 4-2 record in the regular season before the Rocky Mountain Showdown. In the championship game, Summit scored the eventual game-winning one-point conversion just before halftime on a quarterback sneak by Bodie Heenek. The moment, with Heenek’s teammates pushing the pile behind him, was something akin to scenes from the movie “Little Giants.”
“And then after that, it became a game of defense,” Cotter said.
The offensive struggle for Summit and Kremmling was a testament to each team’s defensive efforts, Cotter said, as each team became accustomed to moving the ball and scoring points frequently through the regular season. It all led up to a defensive stand to win the game when Summit decided to punt from its own 45-yard line. Kremmling burst one 25-yard gain before the Snow Tigers clamped down to recover the ball on a turnover on downs and run out the clock.
“It was just a game full of heart on both sides, an amazing game,” Cotter said. “The crowd was super loud on both sides. And when the game became defense, the ball stayed at the middle of the field for three quarters. It was pretty awesome.”
Summit’s win was Kremmling’s first loss in three seasons. The Snow Tigers were led in the game by captains Raum Allegretto, Charlie Cotter, Bodie Hennek and Matias Salcedo.
In his first season coaching Colorado youth football, Cotter said the Snow Tigers team respected Kremmling throughout the season, as they lost twice to the league favorite. Cotter said he was impressed by the Kremmling team’s approach to the sport, with a level of toughness similar to what he previously experienced coaching in New Hampshire. With that, Cotter said the team’s goal early in the season became to defeat Kremmling.
“In New Hampshire, we played a really tough hard-nosed style of football,” Cotter said. “We mostly keep it on the ground, not a lot of passing. And that’s what I instituted here with this team because we have a lot of big tough kids, and that’s the way I like to play football — I like to play football tough. A lot of the opponents we play do a lot of reverses or just run around the outside. We like to pound the ball right up the middle with our big guys. That’s what we started out with and stuck with. We tried to create a little ball of fire.”
Looking ahead, Rawson is hopeful the Snow Tigers program can grow its numbers after only 12 kids played with the younger team, the second and third grade team, this season. Despite the lack of players, the younger team went 4-2, behind Kremmling.
As for the older team, after a season full of losses in 2018, Rawson is happy they had this season’s childhood championship experience.
“They usually struggled winning games,” Rawson said. “So it was impressive for them to pull it off this year. And I think just the cohesion in the team, the team effort, all of the guys worked really good together. They worked really hard to come together as a team.”
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