We have a lot of guys that can make plays, so opposing teams can't just focus on one guy. —South Summit coach Mike Grajek
KAMAS — South Summit coach Mike Grajek had to be reminded by his wife which team the Wildcats played this week, and for two good reasons.
Grajek's team had just finished winning an emotional 30-7 game against nemesis Beaver last Friday, the same team the Wildcats had lost to the last two years in the 2A state championship. The win was understandably celebrated a bit more than most regular season wins by South Summit players and fans as a result.
After the win, a happy and relieved Grajek was approached by the father of 2016 MVP and Beaver star player Dillon Smith, who congratulated him for the win, asked him which team the Wildcats played next, and then to wish him good luck.
"I was stunned at myself that I couldn't think of the team when asked," Grajek said. "The guy simply didn't believe me that I couldn't remember, but I honestly couldn't think of it. And honestly, I didn't care."
After the game, Grajek's wife reminded him that American Leadership Academy is the next game on the schedule, with South Summit working to turn all of its focus to the Eagles since.
But for Friday night, it was all about Beaver.
"All offseason and all summer it was all about Beaver for us," Grajek said. "I've told my players that we can't have the night of our fourth game of the season back. We needed to be ready, and fortunately it worked out for us."
With the win over the Beavers, South Summit improved its record to an impressive 4-0 on the year. While the start has been impressive, including the big win over Beaver, Grajek and his team understand the real work toward the ultimate goal of a state championship is just beginning.
Fortunately for Grajek, he has the type of players who understand the process and are now working to focus on what's just in front of them.
"The nice thing is we have some great senior leaders on the team and real impressive group of juniors," Grajek said. "I could tell that night — right after the game that we were already turning our focus to get back to the grind of preparing for our next opponent and the rest of the season."
"We have a lot of guys that can make plays, so opposing teams can't just focus on one guy," Grajek said. "A lot of those guys are juniors for us, so they've really stepped up and we really have a great junior class that is going along well with our senior leaders."
South Summit currently sits on top of the 2A state rankings and will subsequently be expected to make a deep run in the playoffs and be tabbed the favorite to win the state championship. Those expectations are OK, as far as Grajek is concerned, and certainly not out of the norm.
"We're a program that has won two championships before losing the two we have the last two years, so expectations are always high," Grajek said. "The kids know the expectations, and I like what I've seen from all of them this week in putting the big win over Beaver behind them and moving forward. We'll have to see how the rest of the season goes, but I like how we've prepared and how we're now focused."