KAMAS — Trevor Rydalch said one of South Summit's goals was to score quickly and force Millard to play a different style of game than it wanted.
But even Rydalch was surprised at the outcome of South Summit's 45-6 win over the Eagles Saturday in a 2A quarterfinal game. With the win, South Summit advanced to play Grand in a semifinal next Saturday at Southern Utah University.
Rydalch took the opening kickoff and returned it 92 yards for a touchdown and the Wildcats dominated in every phase of game to please their home crowd on a beautiful afternoon.
"We wanted to play our game and get them off their game," said Rydalch. "It seemed like everything we've struggled with all year went perfectly today. Everything went perfect."
Rydalch's return was just the start. South Summit's line — Chance Field, Jordan Page, Jake McCormick, Colton Christensen and Karson Crittenden — controlled their opponents and helped the Wildcats' running game amass 276 yards.
The defense also played well. On Millard's first offensive play of the second half, quarterback Nate Robison fumbled and the Wildcats' Niko Klus picked it up and ran 17 yards for a score.
Just like the first half, South Summit scored before 10 seconds had elapsed on the clock.
"The kickoff return to start the game is usually the kiss of death," joked South Summit coach Jerry Parker. "But it has been two weeks since we've played and the kids were stoked."
Millard coach Marshall Sheriff smiled when he heard that comment. Sheriff said he felt the Eagles still had a chance at halftime, even though they trailed 28-0 and had just 32 yards total offense.
"We felt like we were a second-half team," Sheriff said. "But when they got that fumble ... so quickly into the second half, it took the life out of us. Kids at that age have a hard time adjusting ... It just felt like they were always a step ahead of us."44 comments on this story
South Summit quarterback Trevor Lewis directed the Wildcats' offense and played a near-perfect game. The Wildcats did not commit a turnover and never punted. Lewis completed 5 of 6 passes for 92 yards and also carried the ball five times for 80 yards.
Millard generated just 101 yards, and most of that came on a well-executed fake punt in the third quarter that allowed Jesse Rhodes to run 61 yards for a score.
Millard's only other bright spot came from Pancho Alcala and Kade Wilcox, who combined to return three kickoffs to near midfield.