First time’s a charm for Royer, Tigers
FARMER’S KORNER – A comeback win. For the first time in a long time it reared its lovely head at Tiger Field.
The Summit High School football team rallied from eight points down at halftime to run away with a 22-14 win Friday night against Skyview. It was the first victory for rookie head coach Rob Royer and gives the Tigers a 1-0 start in their new league.
“To go down at halftime and not play a great half of football, and to see your team come together and rally in the second half … ,” Royer said. “I’m just real proud of the kids for coming out and working together as a family.”
Two huge plays on special teams turned the tide for Summit. First, Aaron Bork took a second-quarter kickoff inside his own 10 yard line, after Skyview had gone up 7-0, and sprinted up the middle for 90 yards to the Skyview 4. Three plays later Summit would score on a Preston Johnson quarterback sweep to make the score 7-6.
The second special teams play all-but sealed the game for Summit. Early in the fourth quarter, John Rutter took advantage of a high snap and blocked a Wolverines punt. Summit recovered the ball at the Skyview 2, and in two plays, had the go-ahead score on a Johnson run up the middle.
“Special teams is a third of the game and we’ve been working on it,” Royer said. “The high snap gave us that split second longer and we got it.”
The Tigers corrected a six-penalty, two turnover first half, in which they gave up two touchdowns to bruising Wolverines running back Mike Ferrington. The first score came on a 2-yard run after a facemask penalty gave Skyview a first-and-goal at the 8. The second came on a 35-yard screen pass on a drive helped along by three Summit penalties, two of which were personal fouls. Ferrington ran for 51 yards in the first half, but after refocusing on defense, the Tigers allowed him only 14 yards in the second half. They also reduced their penalties to two and turnovers to none while not allowing Skyview within 35 yards of the end zone in a second-half shutout.
Justin Blincoe recorded two timely sacks, and Mike Allard had one. Also, Johnson made two diving defensive plays in the fourth quarter on long Skyview pass attempts.
“Coach (Curtis) Davis (Summit’s first-year defensive coordinator) made some adjustments at the half, and we shut them down,” Royer said.
Summit had been setting up its offensive adjustments during the first half. The Tigers ran a lot of option in the first two quarters, giving fullback Jack St. John only one carry. But in their second drive of the second half, St. John had five carries and ran for 55 yards, mostly on trap plays up the middle, including a 16-yard touchdown run that tied the score at 14.
“I think we were just trying to set them up,” St. John said. “We tried to get them spread out on the line and it worked out real well. And the line blew up in the second half. I have to give the credit to them.”
Bork had a solid running game too, gaining 57 total yards, 41 in the first half. Johnson was 6-of-10 through the air.
Summit tried three two-point conversions, and was successful on two. Allard scored the tying points on a run, breaking tackles and recovering from a bobbled hand-off on the play. St. John caught a pass for the second conversion. Summit is still looking to find a consistent place kicker for extra points and field goals.
With no nonleague schedule, this 1-0 is more significant than last year’s 1-0. But Summit is aware that one win doesn’t make a season.
“We know we have to start a whole new focus for next week,” St. John said. “We can’t look at this as our season like we did last year. We got up on ourselves and thought we were gonna be good without trying hard.”
Summit plays D’Evelyn next week at Trailblazer Stadium in Arvada.
Jason Starr can be reached at (970) 668-3998 Ext. 231 or at email@example.com.
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