Summit football battered by Palisade on Senior Night, 7-55 |

Summit football battered by Palisade on Senior Night, 7-55

Phil Lindeman

It wasn’t the Senior Night matchup the Summit football team wanted.

On yet another warm October night, the Tigers lost to a fast, tough, effective Palisade team (8-1 overall, 4-0 3A Western Slope) in devastating fashion, 7-55. At the half Summit still hadn’t scored, but that didn’t put a damper on the Senior Night festivities. All 10 varsity seniors were joined on-field by their parents, and each player read a few words before presenting their mothers with roses. The game was brutal, but the halftime was sincere and heartfelt.

“It wasn’t their ideal way to play their last game on their home field,” explained head coach John Shirkey. “We were down 42 (to) nothing at halftime, but it was still a cool experience, a cool show at halftime when our seniors met with their parents.”

The game wasn’t a complete loss for Summit. This year’s team has shown more than a few moments of gritty determination — remember when they stayed neck-and-neck with the big, bad Rifle Bears? — and the boys started this game on a high note with a bit of trickery: for the opening kick-off, Summit tried and recovered an on-side kick in Palisade territory. But things soon turned sour, Shirkey said, and his team lost what little momentum they gained early.

“We caught them off-guard with that,” Shirkey said of the on-side kick. “We had some success, got the first down, then had a tip-pass interception on that first drive. It’s hard to say the first drive is the turning point, but it was. If we would have scored and got momentum, who knows how that would’ve changed the game.”

Summit struggled to find much of anything on offense or defense after the opening kick, with multiple turnovers on pass and run plays. It didn’t help that the Palisade team played a “very efficient” game on both sides of the ball, Shirkey said, including a constant barrage of six-to-seven-yard runs mixed with the occasional show-stopping play.

“They’re big up front, and they’re well-coached and disciplined,” Shirkey said of Palisade. “They execute well.”

The Tigers sole touchdown came, fittingly enough, from a senior. Near the start of the second half, senior Matt Francomano returned a kick for a touchdown, weaving through an unusually haphazard Bulldogs secondary to put Summit on the board. The remainder of the game was more of the same, but Shirkey was happy to see at least one of his seniors shine for the final home game of their high school careers.

Summit wraps up its season on Nov. 4 against Battle Mountain in Edwards. The two teams haven’t met since 2013, when the Tigers trounced the Huskies, 44-0. Summit is now 2-7 overall and 0-4 in the 3A Slope — just one win away from Battle Mountain’s record of 3-6 overall and 0-4 in the league.

“They are in a similar situation to us with their record,” Shirkey said. “I’d say this is pretty evenly matched in terms of athletic ability and size. We haven’t played them for a couple years in football, and that game is close to us. It’s a rivalry-type game. It’ll be a good one to end on — fun and competitive.”

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