Prep football: South Summit Wildcats preview

The letter H comes after C alphabetically, but South Summit coach Mike Grajek is switching the order on his list of priorities entering his second season.

“We need to stay humble and hungry,” Grajek said, “instead of cocky and content.”

With a run in the Class 2A playoffs that ended only with a state championship game loss to Beaver, chances are decent that the current crew of South Summit players won’t exactly be content.

And confidence might stay clear of cockiness since the Wildcats’ leading passer (Nick Beasley) and receiver (Brandon Dansie) have graduated. But plenty is left as Grajek puts lessons learned in his first season into practice for the second.

“We’re excited. We’ve got a great group of kids who are a year more experienced and stronger,” Grajek said. “We’re really not changing anything schematically. It’s cliche, but we’re trying to get the superstars to play together, to be selfless.”

SOUTH SUMMIT WILDCATS <br>Coach • Mike Grajek, second year <br>Last season • 10-2, 4-1 in 2A North; Advanced to Class 2A title game <br>State championships • 1977, 1978, 1984, 1988, 2013, 2014 <br>Other state title game appearances • 1973, 1979, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016 <br>2017 SCHEDULE <br>Aug. 18 • at San Juan, 7 p.m. <br>Aug. 25 • Morgan, 7 p.m. <br>Sept. 1 • at Park City, 7 p.m. <br>Sept. 8 • Beaver, 7 p.m. <br>Sept. 15 • at American Leadership, 7 p.m. <br>Sept. 22 • at Gunnison Valley, 7 p.m. <br>Sept. 29 • Delta, 7 p.m. <br>Oct. 6 • at Milford, 7 p.m. <br>Oct. 13 • North Summit, 7 p.m.

Behind center • Beasley didn’t play every game at quarterback last season, and reserves Kael Atkinson (6 foot 1, 170 pounds) and Cole Reidhead (5-6, 170) played well in the opening round of the playoffs, which gives hope for this season at signal caller. Atkinson, a junior, likely will get the nod with Reidhead primarily moving to wide receiver. Junior Jared Dansie (5-10, 175), the younger brother of departed Brandon Dansie, also had an ample amount of touches in the state championship game. He’ll be used at running back, along with senior Sebastian Kluus (6-1, 175), junior Hagen Miles (6-1, 180) and junior Jaxon Sargent (5-10, 200).

Ball hawks • Reidhead turned into an indispensable part of the offense in drawing defenders’ attention while lining up in the slot. Meanwhile, current seniors Parker Grajek (6-3, 195) and Keegan Stracher (5-11, 165) were able to get in the clear for more than 60 catches apiece as juniors. Grajek, the coach’s son, ended with 1,025 yards receiving, and he will be joined by senior Jackson Lassche (6-3, 165) at wideout. Defensively, Grajek and Dansie both picked off three passes, and that work will be carried on by senior cornerback Hunter Fillmore (5-11, 155) and senior safety Cole Georgi (5-9, 150).

In the trenches • Not to apply any pressure, but coach Grajek can’t emphasize any more the importance of senior Porter Fox (5-9, 208) at center. “He’s kind of the cornerstone. It all starts with the line, and that sets the tempo,” Grajek said. Fox will double as a tackle on defense, as will senior linemen Wyatt McNeil (6-2, 235) and senior Gordon Hermansen (5-10, 190). McNeil will be at tackle offensively and defensively, while Hermansen will be an offensive guard and defensive end. Sargent will be a starter at offensive guard as well, while senior Cole Stubbs (6-3, 165) is another returner at defensive end for the Wildcats.

Hit men • South Summit foes should keep their eyes open for Miles and Sargent, both at inside linebacker. Sargent topped the century mark (109) in tackles as a junior. Parker Grajek, senior Braxton Crystal (6-0, 170) and Reidhead likely will rotate at outside linebacker. Georgi, from his safety spot, and cornerback Kluus also will pinch forward to menace opposing ball carriers. “In our division, a lot of teams run the ball, and our cornerbacks have to be physical,” coach Grajek said.

Key returners • Porter Fox, Sr. (C/DT); Parker Grajek, Sr. (WR/LB); Kael Atkinson, Jr. (QB); Jared Dansie, Jr. (RB)

Key losses • Nick Beasley, QB; Broughton Flygare, LB; Brandon Dansie, WR; Ty Thornton, LB

The next wave • Drew Howard, Jr. (DE/OL); Tucker Black, Jr. (OL/DL); Cooper Loftus, Jr. (OL/DL); Alex Johnson, Sr. (DE); Jaden Williams, Sr. (S)

from The Salt Lake Tribune


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