There aren’t many secrets between South Summit and Beaver ahead of Saturday’s 2A championship at Southern Utah at 11 a.m.
Not only are the programs meeting in the 2A title game for the third straight year, but they also played each other back in Week 4 of the preseason — and they also attended the same padded camp at Millard in the summer.
The players basically know each other by their first names.
With such familiarity, the latest installment in the rivalry will be all about execution and adjustments on the fly. It’s no secret who the favorite is either.
Beaver (10-1) vs. South Summit (11-0)
2A state championship
Saturday, 11 a.m. (at Southern Utah)
Parry’s Power Guide: South Summit by 7
All-time series: South Summit leads 13-10
Coach vs. coach: South Summit’s Mike Grajek leads Beaver’s Jon Marshall, 1-0
Last meeting: Sept. 8 (Week 4) – South Summit 30-7, at South Summit
South Summit owns the top scoring offense (46.0 ppg) and scoring defense (10.8 ppg) in 2A and hasn’t really been tested all year. In the semifinals last week it beat Grand 47-9.
“They’ve kind of ran roughshod over everyone in the classification and they’ve definitely earned that spot of being the team to beat,” said Beaver coach Jon Marshall, who was an assistant coach during Beaver’s previous two title game victories over South Summit.
Despite being one of those teams in South Summit’s wake already this season with a 30-7 loss back in September, Beaver is confident in a three-peat nonetheless.
“We know we’re playing against a very good football team, but our kids have a lot of confidence. Our kids have been there before, they’ve had success at this level,” said Marshall.
Even though South Summit ended up beating Beaver comfortably in their earlier meeting this season, Beaver was left wondering ... what if?
What if it hadn’t been denied by South Summit on a goal- line stand right before halftime and went into the locker room tied 14-14 instead of trailing 14-7? How much might that have changed momentum?
And what if Beaver quarterback Porter Hollingshead hadn’t sat out the second half with a rib injury? Perhaps the offense might’ve been more efficient in the second half instead of turning it over four times.
Hollingshead has been dominant in recent weeks both running and throwing for Beaver, while running back Tyce Raddon has been extremely strong recently as well.
“We feel like we can move the ball, we feel like we have some good kids that can do some good things. They’re a physical team, and we may need to throw the ball a little more, but I think we’re definitely capable of doing that,” said Marshall.
It seems inevitable that Beaver will score more than the seven points it did against South Summit earlier this year, but will that even be enough against South Summit’s bang-bang offense which is a threat to score on every snap of the ball.
Quarterback Kael Atkinson has passed for 2,959 yards and 40 touchdowns, with Keegan Stracher accounting for 1,319 of those yards and 16 touchdowns. Parker Grajek and Jared Dansie are huge weapons in the passing game as well, each over 600 yards and eight touchdowns.
And even though South Summit is regarded as a pass-happy team, it’s had a 100-yard rusher in three straight games.
Stracher said the team isn’t worried about past games with Beaver and only focused on this Saturday.
“We just need to give it our all and bring it. Forget about the past games. This is a new team,” he said.
South Summit coach Mike Grajek is glad his team has already played Beaver once this season so they aren’t so focused on avenging the losses in the past two state championship games.
“It was nice to play them in the regular season and get that stigma that they’ve got our number, that you can’t get over the hump, or whatever, and now we can just go out and play 'cause that part has taken care of itself,” said Grajek.
Beaver statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 33.8 ppg (3rd in 2A)
Scoring defense: 13.5 ppg (2nd in 2A)
Passing leader: Porter Hollingshead (43-92, 46.7%, 861 yards, 8 TDs, 3 INTs)
Sack leader: Walter LeBaron (6 sacks)
South Summit statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 46.0 ppg (1st in 2A)
Scoring defense: 10.8 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
Felts Facts for Beaver High School
Head Coach: 2017-current — Jon Marshall (10-1)
All-time record: 459-252-11 (78 years)
Region championships: 18 (1962, 1965 co, 1969, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1977 co, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1987, 1992 co, 1994 co, 2002 co, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017)
Playoff appearances: 51
Current playoff appearance streak: 28 (1990-2017)
All-time playoff record: 67-39
State championships: 11 (1970, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1990, 2015, 2016)
State championship record: 11-9
Felts Facts for South Summit High School
Head Coach: 2016-current — Mike Grajek (21-2)
All-time record: 383-331-8 (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: 53-34
State championships: 6 (1977, 1978, 1984, 1988, 2013, 2014)
State championship record: 6-9