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High school football: North Summit Braves 2019 preview

Note: North Summit finished with a 0-10 overall record in 2018 and was sixth in 2A North with a 0-5 record. It lost to Beaver 55-14 in the 2A first round.

North Summit 2018 Offensive and Defensive Stats

COALVILLE — North Summit was part of the fraternity of six winless football teams in Utah last season — a club nobody ever wants to join. It ranked last in scoring offense in 2A and third to last in scoring defense. It was only competitive in three games and lost all three of those as well.

As North Summit looks to wipe the slate clean heading into the 2019 season, ironically it’s in a similar position. It was inexperienced heading into last season and it will be inexperienced again this year with just two offensive starters and four defensive starters returning.

Despite the downturn in a program that was in the semifinals back in 2015, coach Gary Crittenden is confident and excited about his team this season.

“I’m pretty excited with the way the younger kids have come up,” Crittenden said, citing roughly the 20 sophomores and 20 freshman who’ve come out this season that will help stabilize the program and provide depth.

“Slowly but surely we’re getting more kids in,” Crittenden said.

Realignment should help North Summit compete better as well. Region foes last year South Summit, Delta and American Leadership have all been bumped up to 3A this season as the Braves will now compete in the smallest classification in the state.

It will still need to play much better than it did a year ago to compete for wins though.

Crittenden said one of the best ways that can happen is through trust. Everyone needs to trust that the teammate next to them will do their job, which likewise will allow individuals to better do their own job. That was a problem that crept in throughout the season last year.

North Summit Braves at a glance

Coach: Gary Crittenden is entering his third season as head coach at his alma mater, having racked up a 2-18 record the past two years.

Crittenden's comments on new UHSAA RPI:

“We’ll see how it shakes out. I guess it’s just a learning curve this year for everybody.”

North Summit offensive snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Waylon Bond

2018 offensive production: 9.9 ppg (12th in 2A)

— 2 returning starters

— Double wing offense

Key offensive returning starters

— Matagi Fa’avale (OL)

The lone returning starter on the offensive line, Fa’avale will need to have a fantastic season for the Braves to move the football.

Cannon Richins (RB)

North Summit’s second-leading rusher last year will carry a big offensive load for the Braves this year running the football.

Returning offensive starters

Matagi Fa’avale (OL)

Cannon Richins (RB)

Carson McKnight (K)

Offensive newcomers to watch

Beau Woolstenhulme (QB)

Crimson Crittenden (QB)

Ryker Pentz (FB)

Quenton Jones (TE/WR)

Crittenden's comments on inexperienced offensive line:

“We have to have some juniors step up because we have maybe one or two seniors that played JV last year that will step in.

Crittenden's comments on new fullback starter Ryker Pentz:

“He’s one of those wrestler kids that’s just a hard-nosed kid, state champion last year. A lot of that mentality and toughness carries onto the football field, well that’s what I’m banking on. He’s pretty versatile.

Crittenden's comments on process of settling on a QB:

“There’s a chance we could play both of them and see how it goes. We’ve talked about it as a staff, and I’m sure every coach says the same thing, but we want the best leader out there.”

Keys for offensive success in 2019:

There are question marks all over the field for North Summit, which is what you’d expect from a team that didn’t win a game last year. Crittenden said the biggest focus heading into the season is solidifying the offensive line. It will make or break the season on whether this team can improve upon is 9.9 scoring average last year.

North Summit defensive snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Gary Crittenden

2018 defensive production: 39.7 ppg (10th in 2A)

— 4 returning starters

— 4-4 defense

Key defensive returning starters

— Ryker Pentz (LB)

A starting linebacker last year, he’ll take on a much larger role at that position this year.

— Matagi Fa’avale (DL)

Led the team in tackles and will again be the focal point of the defense this year whether he plays defensive line or linebacker.

Returning defensive starters

Matagi Fa’avale (DL)

Ryker Pentz (LB)

Cannon Richins (S)

Weston Zwahlen (LB)

Defensive newcomers to watch

Kale Hobson (LB)

Quentin Jones (DE)

Etimani Fa’avale (DL)

Brett Rees (DL)

Skyler Rees (DL)

Ethan Crittenden (CB)

Crittenden's comments on improving defensive mentality:

“It’s always bugged me when people get upset when someone runs up the score, well if you don’t want them running up the score stop them.”

Crittenden's comments on Matagi Fa’avale:

“He’s my sons age and I’ve watched him all the way through, and he has zero quit in him at all. He’s humble but he’s fierce, and it’s rubbing off on some of his classmates that will be juniors. We’ll see how that goes.”

Keys for defensive success in 2019:

Matagi Fa’avale was an all-state defensive lineman last year for North Summit, and the coaching staff would like to keep him there. He may end up dropping back to linebacker though if some of the younger players are slow settling into their role at linebacker. That would weaken the defensive line though. It’s a competition that could play out throughout the season.

Bottom line

As bad as things were last year for North Summit, realignment alone should help the program in 2019. Instead of competing in region play against the likes of South Summit and Delta, now it’s competing against smaller programs in region like Rich, Monticello and Altamont which by itself will make a huge difference. That alone won’t change a losing mentality into a winning mentality. That’s got to happen with better execution this season.

Coaches preseason 2A North straw poll: Fourth

Deseret News 2A North prediction: Second

Key Region Game: vs. Gunnison Valley, Sept. 20 (Week 6)

2019 schedule

  • Aug. 16 — ALTAMONT, 7 p.m.
  • Aug. 23 — at South Summit, 7 p.m.
  • Aug. 30 — NORTH SEVIER, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 6 — at Layton Christian, 4 p.m.
  • Sept. 13 — DUCHESNE, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 20 — GUNNISON VALLEY, 7 p.m.
  • Sept. 27 — at Rich, 4 p.m.
  • Oct. 4 — MONTICELLO, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 11 — at Altamont, 7 p.m.
  • Oct. 16 — at Kanab, 7 p.m.

Felt’s Facts for North Summit High School

All-time record: 437-393-23 (93 years)

Region championships: 22 (1928, 1929, 1930 co, 1937, 1955, 1965, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977 co, 1978, 1983 co, 1989, 1990, 1991 co, 2006, 2007, 2013 co)

Playoff appearances: 51

Current playoff appearance streak: 6 (2013-2018)

All-time playoff record: 51-44

State championships: 7 (1964, 1972, 1989, 1990, 1991, 2007, 2008)

State championship record: 7-4

Most played rivalry: 92 meetings with Park City dating back to 1926. North Summit leads 47-42-3. Last met in 2004.

Felt’s Factoids: North Summit is tied with two other teams for the most shutouts in one season with 10 (1974). … Brave Andy Carlsen set the state record for season rushes with 323 in 2002. … North Summit snapped Duchesne’s state-record 48-game winning streak, which began in 2010, on Aug. 29, 2014.

Last five

  • 2018 — 0-10 (0-5 in 2A North — 2A first round)
  • 2017 — 2-8 (1-4 in 2A North — 2A first round)
  • 2016 — 4-7 (3-2 in 2A North — 2A quarterfinals)
  • 2015 — 7-4 (4-1 in 2A North — 2A semifinals)
  • 2014 — 8-3 (4-2 in 2A North — 2A quarterfinals)

North Summit coaching history

  • 2017-current — Gary Crittenden (2-18)
  • 2011-2016 — Devin Smith (35-30)
  • 2000-2010 — Jerre Holmes (74-53)
  • 1999 — Steve Carlsen (1-8)
  • 1995-1998 — Earl Blonquist (13-27)
  • 1994 — Travis Crittenden (3-6)
  • 1993 — Van Hutchinson (8-3)
  • 1987-1992 — Rick Harrison (48-20)
  • 1985-1986 — Earl Blonquist (5-15)
  • 1983-1984 — Bill Brown (10-11)
  • 1982 — Scott Summers (2-7)
  • 1969-1981 — Earl Blonquist (99-44-3)
  • 1962-1968 — Ernest Jacklin (37-26-5)
  • 1958-1961 — Raynor Pearce (12-18)
  • 1957 — Bob Sanchez (5-2-1)
  • 1953-1956 — Benny Kilpack (20-13-3)
  • 1952 — Ken Bearden (1-6)
  • 1951 — unknown (1-6)
  • 1950 — Don Snow (1-5-2)
  • 1949 — Ralph Olsen (1-7)
  • 1945-1948 — Floyd Biddolph (5-12-1)
  • 1944 — Ed Jensen (5-3)
  • 1931-1947 — unknown (41-49)
  • 1930 — “Silky” Knudsen (4-2-1)
  • 1926-1929 — unknown (13-14-2)

Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years

  • 2018 — Matagi Fa'avale, DL
  • 2016 — Tristan Woolstenhulme, RB/LB
  • 2016 — Logan Rex, OL/LB
  • 2015 — Tristan Woolstenhulme, RB/LB
  • 2015 — Carter Wardrop, TE/DL
  • 2015 — Braden Richins, OL/DL
  • 2015 — Mason Richins, OL/DL
  • 2014 — Ryan McMichael, QB/DB
  • 2014 — Carson Richins, RB/DB
  • 2014 — Cason DeForest, WR/DE
  • 2013 — Ryan McMichael, QB/DB
  • 2013 — Josh Birk, RB/DB
  • 2013 — Trevor Hale, RB/LB
  • 2013 — Austin Simister, OL/DL
  • 2012 — Ben Stephsn, RB/DB
  • 2011 — Braden Brown, RB/DB
  • 2010 — Courtney Orgill, RB/LB

To view second team and honorable mention all-staters through the years, check out the Deseret News All-State Archives.