South Summit (7-3) at Beaver (6-3)
2A state tournament quarterfinal
Friday, 5 p.m.
Parry's Power Guide: South Summit by 8
All-time series: Series tied 8-8
Coach vs. coach: South Summit's Jerry Parker leads Beaver's Steve Hutchings, 1-0
Last meeting: Oct. 30, 2010, South Summit, 46, Beaver 0 (2A quarterfinal at South Summit)
It's been nearly a decade since Beaver last made an appearance in the 2A state tournament semifinals, but it's hoping to change those fortunes Friday.
Fresh off a bye in the opening round of the playoffs, Beaver hosts South Summit on Friday at 5 p.m. in the 2A quarterfinals.
Even though Beaver dropped back-to-back games to Enterprise and San Juan late in the season, it regrouped in the regular-season finale against Kanab two weeks ago with a 38-0 victory.
While Beaver is trying to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 2002, South Summit is hoping to take the next step as well after coming up short in the 2A state championship game the past two years. Expectations were much lower for the Wildcats coming into the year, but they've won four straight, including last week's 33-0 victory over Grand in the 2A first round.
South Summit continues to play with heavy hearts for teammate Porter Hancock, who suffered a paralysis injury a few weeks ago.
"We kind of look at Porter's situation, and how fortunate we are that we can go play," said South Summit coach Jerry Parker. "The kids are taking of advantage of it. The kids are working hard, and it's been interesting how the kids have come together and how Porter's on their minds."
The injury affected the Beaver players as well.
The Beaver seniors came up with the idea of wearing green No. 26 stickers on their helmets in honor of Hancock in the Kanab game two weeks ago, and they'll wear those stickers again on Friday.
"In a way, they're all kind of in the same fraternity 'cause they all play football on Friday nights," said Beaver coach Steve Hutchings.
Beaver's defense needs to be very disciplined if it hopes to slow down a South Summit team that's scored at least 33 points in the past four games.
"When you play an option team you have to be pretty disciplined, you can't start being a maverick about things, you can't do things on your own," said Hutchings.
South Summit has some defensive challenges of its own to worry about. Beaver has been pretty efficient passing the ball this season, and that's a big area of concern for the Wildcats.
"I think we're really more concerned with their passing off the run. They throw the ball quite a bit," said Parker. "We haven't played too many games against passing teams."
In last year's quarterfinals, South Summit beat Beaver easily 46-0. Beaver has closed the gap this year, and coach Hutchings hopes his team takes the field with confidence.
"We always talk about playing extremely hard to the end, we always talk about making the routine play, and then we need to cut any turnovers down," he said. "If we do those things, then we just let the game happen. If South Summit is better than us after that we'll tip our hat to them and move on. I think we have a really good team."
The winner faces the Manti/Emery winner at Pleasant Grove High on Saturday, Nov. 5 in the 2A semifinals at 11 a.m.
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