Summit Tigers football defeats Woodland Park, 17-0 in home opener |

Summit Tigers football defeats Woodland Park, 17-0 in home opener

Jack Schierholz crosses the goal line during the Summit Tigers varsity football team's home opener against the Woodland Park Panthers at Tiger Stadium in Breckenridge on Friday, Aug. 26.
John Hanson/For the Summit Daily News

There is nothing quite like a Friday night football game in a small town, and on Friday, Aug. 26 the Summit High School football team brought that atmosphere back to Summit County when the team hosted the Woodland Park Panthers in its season opener. 

Following the kickoff from the Panthers to the Tigers, senior quarterback Jack Schierholz lined up behind center for the first time in the 2022 fall football season.

Schierholz, alongside fellow captains Eli Krawczuk and Keaton Smith, is attempting to lead the Tigers to another historic season after the Summit football team had its best season in the last 10 years.

In front of a standing-room-only crowd, the Tigers got off to a shaky start on its first possession of the game. After three downs, the Panthers forced the Tigers to punt. On the punt, Schierholz received a high snap which led to a scrambling throw play resulting in a turnover in downs for Summit.

Although Woodland Park took over on its own 30-yard line, the Tigers’ defense worked hard to keep the Panthers from moving up the field. Summit was rewarded when the Panthers fumbled the ball and the Tigers jumped on top of it to bring out its offensive unit for the second time in the game.

On Summit’s second drive of the game, the Tigers were able to string a solid drive together which resulted in a made field goal from freshman Henry Eslich.

The Tigers’ scoring drive was highlighted by big plays from the Elam brothers. Senior Zach Elam connected with Schierholz for huge receptions while junior Ben Elam rushed for any yardage he could get.

With around four minutes remaining in the first quarter, Summit led 3-0 over Woodland Park. 

After the field goal by Eslich, both teams struggled in the second quarter.

For the Panthers, the Tigers defense stopped every opportunity for offensive momentum, working hard to stop the plethora of rushing plays called by the Woodland Park coaching staff.

Meanwhile for the Tigers offense, the team had multiple drives with momentum but would hinder its own progress with costly penalties or turnovers. 

This was especially evident on the Tigers last drive before halftime when the team’s drive was stopped at the goaline by the Panthers to go into the locker rooms leading, 3-0. 

“Game one is always a mystery, you never know what is going to happen,” head coach James Wagner said. “It takes a little time to figure things out. It was just a matter of trying to figure things out early on.”

In the Tigers’ first drive of the first half, the team collectively put a drive together that was good enough for the team’s first touchdown of its season. The drive was spearheaded by huge runs by senior Micheal Cheek and concluded with a 5-yard rushing touchdown for Schierholz.

Leading 10-0, the Tigers continued to play staunch defense with the Elam brothers and Will Koll coming up with big tackles.

“I am proud of the entire defense,” Wagner said. “Eli Krawczuk in the middle, Silas Sandshaw was a big piece of the defense tonight. Both the brothers (Elams) were solid, it was awesome to see them fly around. And Will Koll and Christain Broughton too, I am proud of them and it was cool to see them make plays.” 

Perhaps no one came up bigger than GC Martinez who was able to fight his way through the Panther’s blocking unit and get a hand on a punt attempt which set the Tigers up for an offensive possession with great field position.

The blocked punt eventually led to the Tiger’s second touchdown of the game when, with a little over four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Schierholz took the ball 17 yards for his second rushing touchdown of the night. 

“We adapted and overcame,” Ben Elam said of the team’s offensive turnaround. “It was all mental and we overcame all of it. Minor adjustments were made at halftime and we just finished.”

With the Tigers now leading 17-0, the Panthers attempted to cut into the Tigers’ lead by running riskier passing plays but was met by Zach Elam who intercepted a pass from Woodland Park quarterback Bryce Broeker. 

The Elam interception sealed the 17-0 shutout for the Summit Tigers football team and gave the team its first win on the season.

“I felt fantastic,” Ben Elam said of the team’s performance in the first game of the season. “I felt like we were electric on both sides.”

Summit will face Thompson Valley High School next week on Friday, Sept. 2 from Tiger Stadium in Breckenridge. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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