Strickler’s kick in OT boots Summit past Evergreen 17-14
summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado
FARMER’S KORNER – Ridge Strickler stood just inside the 15-yard line waiting for the ball to be snapped. At that moment, he wasn’t worried about his team’s six turnovers or the sub-freezing temperature or even the snow swirling through his face mask. Nothing else mattered to the sophomore kicker but putting the ball through the uprights.
After all, with one kick, Strickler could turn a lackluster Summit performance into a thrilling overtime win.
Then the ball was flung back to holder Jason Looby, put to the tee and belted high by Strickler.
The Tigers didn’t even need to wait for the referees’ signal before they rushed the field with a 17-14 win over Evergreen at home.
“I was pretty nervous for sure,” Strickler admitted after the game. ” … I’ve been dreaming about that this whole season, just having that shot to win it. I was pretty pumped up for sure.”
So was the rest of his team.
In a season of missed opportunities for the Tigers, Summit finally stole one – on a night when seemingly nothing could go right.
“In all reality, we probably should have lost, but we did what we had to tonight,” SHS head coach Dylan Hollingsworth said with a smile. “Offensively, we just kept trying to give it away, and the defense kept stepping up and stepping up.”
In the end, though, all that mattered was the score.
“It would be nice if we could play a solid game the whole time, but I’m definitely fine with it,” said senior tailback and linebacker Rick Dreyer.
The Tigers did have their struggles, though, in the form of six turnovers (four fumbles and two interceptions) on their first 11 possessions of the game. Really, it could have been one more, as an Evergreen interception wound up being called back for an illegal tackle prior to the throw.
The sloppy play began early in the game, as both teams struggled to hang onto the ball in the snowy conditions.
Evergreen dropped the opening kickoff but recovered – only to fumble on its third play from scrimmage.
Dreyer then took the ball 30 yards on the very next play for a 7-0 Tiger lead.
That would be one of the last offensive highlight for quite a while.
The Tigers would drive the ball down to Evergreens 3-yard line late in the first quarter – due in large part by a third down pick up on a quick slant from quarterback Sam Dudick to Michael Daniels. But a fumble near the goal line cost the Tigers a chance for a two-score lead.
The Tigers were outstanding on defense in the early going to hold Evergreen scoreless by halftime. Senior defensive end Nate Roe had two sacks, a fumble recovery and a knocked down pass in just the first two quarters to help Summit keep the lead.
“We did really well. … We just picked it up and stopped them. We had the attitude that we weren’t going to let them score, and we didn’t,” Dreyer said.
In the third quarter, things didn’t get much better for Summit on offense. After fumbling on their opening possession, the Tigers misplayed a punt on their next and had to dive to recover the ball at their own 1-yard line. An interception on the first play from scrimmage led to an Evergreen touchdown and a 7-7 tie.
Summit went three-and-out on its next possession, and Evergreen responded with a touchdown to take the lead.
But, with 6:22 remaining in the game, the Tiger offense came to life.
Led by Dudick – who had struggled much of the night – the Tigers drove 79 yards to tie the game. Dudick picked up Summit’s first three first downs with his legs, before lofting a pass to Dreyer 20 yards downfield to get Summit to the Evergreen 10-yard line.
The Tigers lost four yards on their first three downs, before Dudick hit Roe on a screen pass on fourth-and-goal from the 14 for the touchdown with 4:24 remaining.
“I was just thinking that we had to move the ball down and not make those stupid mistakes like we had all game,” Dudick said. “I just knew we had to move it down and get the touchdown.”
Neither team did much on their final possessions, and the game went to overtime. In high school, overtime is played much like in college, except with the team’s starting at the opponent’s 10-yard line.
After the Summit defense forced a fumble, which was recovered by Dreyer, Strickler became the hero with his 22-yard field goal to win.
“Ridge making that field goal, that saved our team right there,” Dudick said. “It was just awesome to see.”
The Tigers (5-4) have one game remaining and will finished at .500 or better for the sixth straight season. Summit plays at Centaurus next Friday, but the time has yet to be determined.
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