Watch: Collins’ 5 touchdowns power Summit football to first win of season
WESTMINSTER — After scoring nine touchdowns through the first six quarters of the season, Aidan Collins didn’t really need to put an exclamation point on an already stellar start to the season. The junior captain wide receiver and defensive back provided a resounding one anyway at the end of Summit High School’s 56-23 win over Thornton on Thursday, Oct. 16.
Collins scooped up a fumble and ran it into the end zone from more than 50 yards out for the Tigers as the time expired at North Stadium in Westminster to cap a five touchdown performance.
“He’s just such a pure playmaker,” said Tiger senior captain quarterback Cam Kalaf. “He’s just — somehow he always finds an open space. It helps me out too, whenever I’m in trouble. I know he’s just going to be there for me. If I’m flushing out of the pocket he’s going to be open. He finds loopholes in defenses and he helps me out with those.”
From the outset of the contest Summit (1-1) leaned on Collins and Kalaf to power the Tigers offense. The team roared out to a 20-0 lead as Kalaf connected with Collins on jet sweeps, wide receiver screens and vertical routes downfield. The first four scores for Collins all came through the air in the first half.
“They play a cover-3 defense, which means the flats are open a lot so we designed our gameplan to hit the flats constantly with those specific plays,” Kalaf said. “We schemed up that gameplan, executed that gameplan and it worked perfect for us.”
Along with Kalaf’s reliable and dynamic rushing from the quarterback position — including running in two touchdowns in the second half before a minor ankle injury forced him out of the game — Collins provided the efficiency and explosiveness to maintain a stranglehold on the game.
“Aidan’s a playmaker. Every single time he gets the ball in his hands you better watch out,” Tigers second-year head coach James Wagner said. “He just does all the little things right and the thing I love most about Aidan as a football player is he always runs his routes right, he’s always in good positioning in. He understands zone coverages and where the open spots are in the field and when Cam puts the ball in his hands he always makes plays.”
Despite several turnovers and a late surge by Thornton (0-2) while Kalaf remained on the sidelines, Tigers backup quarterback Jack Schierholz kept the momentum going and ran in a score in the fourth quarter to seal the contest for Summit before Collins tacked on his final touchdown.
Wagner credited the Tigers defensive line for a strong showing Thursday. The head coach was especially pleased with defensive ends junior KJ Slaugh and sophomore Eli Krawczuk. Slaugh in his first game of the season was a consistent difference maker tackling in space and infiltrating the Trojans backfield.
“And Eli is an outstanding football player, and he’s so young with so much room to grow,” Wagner said. “We had to make some adjustments to get him lined up wider so they couldn’t run outside on us, but once we made that adjustment our guys made plays. Our defensive line and our defensive philosophy is pursuit of the football — 11 hats to the ball. Once the ball is in space, guys flying a million miles an hour to get to the ball.”
With a talented traditional Western Slope League rival Palisade on deck, Wagner said it would come down to execution on the offensive end for his squad. On defense, it’ll be about pursuit and discipline. And team wide, Wagner stressed health and depth.
“We got to stop their run game, they are powerful up front,” Wagner said. “They always produce big guys in their program, they’ve been an outstanding program for 10 years or so. So reading keys and filling gaps defensively, setting the edge and not letting them beat us outside. Offensively, I trust my coaches to dial up a solid gameplan. As we saw tonight, we have dynamic playmakers and when we execute we’re a tough team to beat.”
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