High school football: South Summit Wildcats 2014 preview
Note: South Summit finished with an 11-1 overall record in 2013 and tied for first in 2A North with a 5-1 record. It beat Grand 42-8 in the 2A championship.
KAMAS — For a program that hadn’t won a state championship in 25 years prior to last season, South Summit’s football team is sure setting the bar high in 2014.
“We’re hungry. We have a blemish from last year and we want to rectify it,” said South Summit coach Jerry Parker.
That one blemish was a 26-24 loss to rival North Summit in Week 8. As for the other 11 games, South Summit was superb, including a 42-8 win over Grand in the 2A championship on a frigid night at Weber State.
Last year’s title was a long-time coming, but this season the goal is 12-0 instead of 11-1.
“That’s what we look at for motivation this year,” said Parker, who said it’s made a big difference in the weight room.
North Summit upset South Summit on that early October night last season because Parker said it was just tougher at the point of attack.
“We’ve gotta have more toughness. The Braves leaned on us a little bit with dive and quarterback play and we didn’t do a good job stopping them,” said Parker.
If South Summit can develop that toughness in the trenches with almost all new starters, the 2A preseason No. 1 could be well on its way to that undefeated repeat.
Not only is reigning 2A MVP Colby Averett back — the leading rusher and tackler a year ago — but so is South Summit’s quarterback, great skill-position weapons and an even better linebacking corps than last year.
Averett is at the heart of it all on both sides of the ball.
At linebacker, he led the Wildcats in tackles last season with 106. Offensively, opposing defenses simply had no answer. He carried the ball 167 times for 1,404 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Parker said Averett is a student of the game who isn’t afraid to orchestrate in-game adjustments with the coaching staff and his quarterback. Then, when he gets the ball in his hands, the first tackler rarely ever brings him down.
“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.
With second-leading receiver Bracken Santos also returning, Parker doesn’t shy away from boasting how good this team can be if the offensive line comes together. Even that he isn’t worried about.
“The way they worked in the offseason and the experience they got last year as backups, I think we’re going to be fine,” said Parker. “Our kids are a program where they step in, step up and fight, and we’re set up for a few years.”
This may end up being Parker’s last year coaching. He retired as a teacher after this past school year, and even though he’d like to coach beyond 2014, he said the school district would prefer a head coach who teaches at the school. Parker isn’t concerned with that uncertainty right now, though, he’s focused on that elusive repeat.
The hunger and work ethic of his quarterback makes that goal realistic.