Summit High School football excited for opportunity to play amid increasing restrictions
Summit Daily to broadcast game on Facebook Live at 5 p.m. Saturday
DILLON — Hours following the Summit School District’s announcement it would move to all online learning after Thanksgiving break, Summit High School varsity football head coach James Wagner kept a chipper spirit. Despite the district’s decision, he and his guys were still headed to Friday afternoon practice ahead of a Saturday evening showdown at Thompson Valley (0-5) in Loveland.
The Tigers (1-3) lost nearly a month of their already shortened season due to COVID-19 rules. But now Summit is slated to play football this Saturday in addition to next Saturday at Bennett High School on the eastern plains. In a wild world where more is canceled each day, Wagner and his squad are excited.
“They are just happy they get the opportunity to go and play knowing the situation with everything going on,” Wagner said. “They are thankful, and with Thanksgiving coming up, it fits in — being thankful for the opportunities and things you have in life and the game of football.”
Taking on a winless Thompson Valley Eagles squad might be just what the Tigers need after a tough 43-8 loss at Fort Morgan last weekend followed by a week of uncertainly when their opponent changed three times for this game.
“We’ve just been going with the flow,” Wagner said. “Our motto’s been, ‘winners adjust.’ And we’ve just been adjusting to whatever team we need to play.”
What Wagner expects in Thompson Valley is a team that will be looking to do whatever it can to get its first win of the season. He expects the Eagles to play somewhat similar to the Tigers, spreading the field out in an attempt to get the ball to their playmakers. On the defensive end, Wagner expects Saturday’s showdown to come down to Thompson Valley’s man-to-man matchups versus Summit’s top playmakers, like Aidan Collins, Kobe Cortright, Zach Misch and others. If the Tigers win those one-on-one matchups, they’ll be in great shape to win the game.
Go to the Summit Daily News Facebook page at 5 p.m. Saturday to watch the live gridiron action at Thompson Valley.
“They just need to be themselves,” Wagner said. “(Senior quarterback) Cam (Kalaf) is such a natural playmaker. Aidan’s the same. When they get the ball in their hands, they are difference makers. They need to not play too far out of their own game and execute what we’re asking them to do.”
Wagner said the Tigers needed to correct some fundamentals after looking at the Fort Morgan film. That includes read steps and putting one’s self in the right position at the snap of the ball, defensive linemen striking with their hands to create separation and get off blocks easier, and knowing individual responsibilities in different defensive schemes.
“I’m really expecting to see a big improvement from the kids this week,” Wagner said.
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