South Summit (10-0) vs. Grand (9-1)
2A state tournament semifinals
Saturday, noon (At Weber State)
Parry’s Power Guide: South Summit by 23
All-time series: South Summit leads 14-3
Coach vs. coach: First meeting between South Summit’s Mike Grajek and Grand’s Dennis Wells
Last meeting: Nov. 16, 2013 – South Summit 42-8 (2A championship at Weber St.)
This Saturday’s semifinal clash between No. 1 South Summit and No. 3 Grand represents the epitome of a contrast in styles.
South Summit runs the spread offense with incredible efficiency, is led by quarterback Kael Atkinson, who has completed 186 of 271 pass attempts this year for a whopping 68.6 completion percentage.
It’s a stark contrast to Grand’s quarterbacks this season, who have had double-digit pass attempts in only two games.
“They run an offense that we haven’t seen all year with a single wing, which is kind of like a rugby scrum,” said South Summit coach Mike Grajek. “With the offense they run, it’s three yards and a cloud of dust. If they control the ball and we don’t get a chance to get it, they’re a team that can do nine or ten minutes off the clock in one drive.”
Keeping South Summit’s offense off the field might be the only formula for anyone to pull off the upset.
The Wildcats come into Saturday’s semifinal at Weber State averaging 45.9 ppg, tops in 2A. They’re no slouch defensively, either, as they lead 2A, allowing only 11.0 ppg.
Atkinson has been the catalyst to that offense in his first year as the starter. He’s utilized his weapons extremely well as Keegan Stracher has racked up 1,188 yards and 14 touchdowns, while Jared Dansie and Parker Grajek have each gone for 500 yards and seven TDs.
South Summit has won its games by an average of five touchdowns this season, and a big reason is a relentless drive not to suffer a third-straight heartbreaking finish to the season after losing in back-to-back championship games.
“There hasn’t been a whole lot of talk about the games in the past, we just try and keep the focus on the game at hand and the game that’s in front of us,” said Grajek.
This is the first meeting between Grand and South Summit since the Wildcats prevailed in the 2013 championship at Weber State.
Whatever unfamiliarity there may be on the field, Grajek said, it’s pretty clear what Grand’s strength is in watching film.
“They’re huge. Grand has got like a junior college line,” said Grajek.
Grand has rushed for 3,158 yards this season, led by Dakota Jones, who’s rushed for 992 yards and 15 touchdowns. Four other ball carries have rushed for five or six touchdowns.
Despite an offense that can dominate time of possession, Grand still owns the second-highest scoring team in 2A this year at 38.3 ppg. Its defense also ranks second allowing only 11.9 ppg.
Grand is pretty banged up heading into the semifinals and faces its toughest test of the season by far against South Summit.
South Summit statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 45.9 ppg (1st in 2A)
Scoring defense: 11.0 ppg (1st in 2A)
Passing leader: Kael Atkinson (186-271, 68.6%, 2,565 yards, 36 TDs, 10 INTs)
Tackles leaders: Not available
Sack leaders: Not available
Interception leaders: Not available
Note: Individual stats don’t include last week’s game
Grand statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 38.3 ppg (2nd in 2A)
Scoring defense: 11.9 ppg (2nd in 2A)
Passing leader: Josh Jones (21-44, 393 yards, 47.7%, 3 TDs)
Receiving leaders: Nick Downard (14 rec., 251 yards, 3 TDs)
Sack leaders: Jarett Reidhead (5 sacks)
Interception leaders: Nick Downard (3 INTs)
Felts Facts for South Summit High School
Head Coach: 2016-current — Mike Grajek (20-2)
All-time record: 382-331-8 (80 years)
Region championships: 11 (1925, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 2000, 2009 co, 2013 co, 2014, 2015, 2017)
Playoff appearances: 41
Current playoff appearance streak: 9 (2009-2017)
All-time playoff record: 52-34
State championships: 6 (1977, 1978, 1984, 1988, 2013, 2014)
State championship record: 6-9
Felt’s Facts for Grand High School
Head Coach: 2002-current — Dennis Wells (84-86)
All-time record: 424-380-18 (97 years)
Region championships: 23 (1923, 1925, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1932, 1950, 1952, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1984 co, 1995 co, 2005 co)
Playoff appearances: 52
Current playoff appearance streak: 3 (2015-2017)
All-time playoff record: 31-50
State championships: 1 (2005)
State championship record: 1-6