High school football: South Summit the clear-cut favorite in 2A North
Tom Smart, Deseret News
North Summit woke a sleeping giant last season when it upset eventual state champ South Summit in Week 8 of the regular season.
The frustrated Wildcats followed that loss with victories of 43-0, 43-0, 14-7 and 42-8 en route to the 2A championship, and they head into the 2014 season anxious to avenge last year’s lone loss also.
“We’re hungry. We have a blemish from last year and we want to rectify it,” said South Summit coach Jerry Parker.
North Summit played a near-perfect game in last year’s 26-24 win over South Summit, as both earned a share of the 2A North region championship.
A year later, both South Summit and North Summit return a wealth of experience at the skill positions, but have plenty of question marks on the lines. Regardless, they’re the clear-cut favorites to claim the region's top two seeds.
North Summit coach Devin Holmes said it’s a no-brainer who the favorite is.
“They’re the team to beat, no question,” said Holmes. “Our kids are motivated by it. It’s a good rivalry. I think it’s one of the best rivalries in the state 1A-5A. We have a lot of football to play before that day comes.”
The teams meet in Week 8 again this season, and the region title will likely be on the line again.
Millard, coming off a very disappointing season, lurks as a potential region title contender, but it has a lot to prove after missing the quarterfinals for the first time in 19 years.
South Summit and North Summit don’t have nearly as much to prove.
The Wildcats return five starters on both sides of the ball, including reigning 2A MVP Colby Averett at linebacker and running back.
“His yards after contact (are excellent). He slithers through there like no other. He’s the best running back I’ve had at that position,” said Parker.
Averett carried the ball 167 times for 1,404 yards and 20 touchdowns last year.
North Summit counters with its own MVP candidate in Ryan McMichael. The three-year starting QB rushed for 867 yards and 15 touchdowns a year ago, and this summer the Braves attended several seven-on-seven camps to improve his passing efficiency.
“He’s a great athlete, he’s a kid that all the other kids like, works hard. This will be his third year starting. He knows how to respond to every situation now,” said Smith. “As a coaching staff we’re going to try and use that to our advantage and enjoy it. They don’t come around all the time.”
The Braves need to solidify their offensive line for McMichael to truly excel and give South Summit a battle for the region title again. Plus, Millard should be much improved after last year’s shocking disappointment.
There seems to be a notable drop-off after the big three in 2A North.
A year ago Layton Christian checked in at fourth, followed by Gunnison in fifth and Summit Academy and American Leadership tied for sixth.
With plenty of returning experience on offense and defense, Layton Christian could sneak up on teams much like North Summit did last year. The Eagles will get a chance to prove themselves in the first high school football game of the season on Thursday, Aug. 21 when they host a Duchesne team riding a 47-game winning streak.
Summit Academy is now entering its third year playing varsity football, and internally expectations are very high for the Bears.