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High school football: South Summit Wildcats 2016 preview

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Note: South Summit finished with an 11-1 overall record in 2015 and first in 2A North with a 5-0 record. It lost to Beaver 33-0 in the 2A championship.

South Summit 2015 offensive and defensive stats

KAMAS — Embarrassment.

That’s how Broughton Flygare remembers feeling walking off the field after getting blown out in last year’s 2A state championship.

“It was kind of embarrassing to get showed up 33-0. We just didn’t show up ready to play, we didn’t play our best that day and they played out of their minds,” said South Summit lineman Flygare.

The Wildcats were seeking a third straight state title, but Beaver had other ideas in the dominant victory.

Nick Beasley threw just five interceptions in South Summit’s first 11 games last year, but in the championship he was picked off four times. It was a frustrating conclusion to his excellent junior season.

“My favorite part of my game last year was decision-making,” said Beasley. “In the state game, I kind of collapsed, made a lot of bad decisions. I’m going to definitely focus more on my decision-making overall.”

Beasley passed for 947 yards and 13 touchdowns last season, and rushed for 605 yards and seven scores. He’s one of just two returning starters this year for South Summit, but that’s not something the program is dwelling on.

South Summit has been a senior-dominated team the past three or four years, and new head coach Mike Grajek fully expects the newcomers to slide right in and keep the program as strong as ever.

Grajek was an assistant coach at South Summit the past two years, and he said the transition to head coach has been pretty seamless.

“We kept four or five assistants from the old program, so that’s helped a lot too,” said Grajek. “With the tradition they have, you just keep going with what you’ve got.”

Grajek is making a few tweaks to the offense based on personnel. A base option the past few years, South Summit is pushing its wings out to slot positions this season to create a bit of a spread look.

South Summit participated in thee 7-on-7 camps this summer to familiarize everyone with the new offense.

Beasley will have four quality wide receivers to spread the ball around to. Parker Grajek is the top returning receiver after he caught 17 passes for 229 yards and four TDs a year ago. Brandon Dansie, Riley Bayles and Keegan Lassche all hope to emerge as key receivers in the passing game as well.

One of the biggest question marks offensively for South Summit is at fullback, with seniors Wilder Thompson, Ty Thornton and Kendall Dick all vying for playing time.

“That’s the spot that’s wide open,” said coach Grajek. “That’s the benefit of going to camp, all three of those guys got a lot of reps, and no one has taken that spot yet. We’re going to fall camp not knowing, which is crazy for South Summit, not knowing who our fullback is.”

Blocking for the newcomers is an inexperienced offensive line, but it won’t be a weakness. Even though Flygare is the lone returning starter, Grajek fully expects players like Jaxon Sargent, Brady Howard and Mark Whitmore to slide right in and make an immediate impact.

“Every year we always have a new fleet of starters,” said Beasley. “We have a great JV program, so it’s not like they’re just thrown into the mix, they’re prepared and they're ready for it.”

Until the championship game last year, South Summit’s offensive line dominated, plowing the way for a group on ball carriers that rushed for a combined 3,198 yards and 41 touchdowns in just 11 games. Against Beaver though it was held to 108 yards and no touchdowns.

It was an eye-opening afternoon that this year’s group is focused on not repeating.

Before South Summit worries about a state title, first it must navigate through a very difficult region that includes North Summit and Summit Academy.

“I’d be disappointed if we weren’t fighting for the region championship, but I think the region is really tough,” said Grajek.

With questions offensively at the skill positions, South Summit’s defense will need to be sharp early.

Flygare is the only returning full-time starter defensively for the Wildcats, but a strong one to build the defense around. Porter Fox and Cole Stubbs will join Flygare on the defensive line, while Sargent and Wyatt McNeil will anchor the linebacking core.

Sargent rotated in a fair amount at linebacker last season as he recorded 20 tackles.

Dansie and Parker Grajek will anchor the secondary, a group that got a lot of extra reps and 7-on-7s this summer that South Summit traditionally hasn’t attended.

South Summit Wildcats at a glance

Head coach: Mike Grajek is entering his first season as head coach at South Summit High School after serving as an assistant coach last year. He’s been a head coach on two previous occasions in Utah. He was the head coach at Milford in 1993 when the school won the 1A title, and then the coach three years at Morgan from 1994 to 1996, compiling a 20-10 record. His overall head coaching record is 27-13 in four total years.

Offense (2 returning starters; spread option)

Offensive coordinator: Dan Eckert

Returning offensive starters

Nick Beasley (QB)

Broughton Flygare (OL)

Offensive newcomers to watch

Brandon Dansie (WR)

Parker Grajek (WR)

Riley Bayles (WR)

Keegan Lassche (WR)

Brady Howard (OL)

Mark Whitmore (OL)

Jaxon Sargent (OL)

Wilder Thompson (RB)

Ty Thornton (RB)

Kendall Dick (RB)

Defense (2 returning starters, 4-4 defense)

Defensive coordinator: Denny Eckert

Returning defensive starters

Broughton Flygare (DL)

Defensive newcomers to watch

Jace Atkinson (DL)

Porter Fox (DL)

Cole Stubbs (DE)

Wyatt McNeil (LB)

Jaxon Sargent (LB)

Brandon Dansie (S)

Parker Grajek (CB)

Coaches' preseason 2A North straw poll: First

Deseret News 2A North prediction: Third

Bottom line: South Summit’s bid for a 2A three-peat came to an emphatic end against Beaver at the end of last season. That blowout loss has motivated this year’s team to try to start a new streak this season. The talent is certainly there for South Summit to get the job done, but it might take a while to reach that full potential as new coach Mike Grajek makes a few slight tweaks to the offense. How far the Wildcats ultimately go will depend on one or two players emerging as standouts at running back, a position that South Summit has been elite at the past three years.

Last 5

2015 — 11-1 (5-1 in 2A North, 2A — runner-up)

2014 — 11-1 (6-0 in 2A North, 2A — state champs)

2013 — 11-1 (5-1 in 2A North, 2A — state champs)

2012 — 8-3 (6-1 in 2A North, 2A — semifinals)

2011 — 8-4 (5-2 in 2A North, 2A — semifinals)

South Summit coaching history

2016 — Mike Grajek (0-0)

2015 — Aaron Tillett (11-1)

2005-2014 — Jerry Parker (80-33)

1997-2005 — Garry Walker (52-55)

1995-1996 — Tom Crittenden (1-17)

1992-1994 — Jerry Parker (13-17)

1975-1991 — Tom Crittenden (113-62)

1972-1974 — Roy Ritchins (14-18)

1970-1971 — Unknown (10-8)

1969 — Doug Toole (4-4)

1967-1968 — Roy Ritchins (5-13)

1958-1966 — Unknown (25-35-1)

1952-1957 — Hue Jewkes (23-16-2)

1913-1951 — Unknown (13-58-2)

Deseret News MVPs the past 10 years

2014 — Ty Jones, QB

2013 — Colby Averett, RB/LB

Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years

2015 — Isaac Tillett, RB/DB

2015 — Porter Fitzgerald, RB/LB

2015 — Skyler McCormick, OL/DL

2014 — Colby Averett, RB/LB

2014 — Bracken Santos, RB/LB

2014 — Isaac Tillett, RB/KR

2014 — Hunter Angel, OL/DL

2014 — Daxton Hansen, LB

2013 — Ty Jones, QB

2013 — Brad Richins, OL/DE

2013 — Hunter Angell, OL/LB

2012 — Hayden Packard, RB/DB

2012 — Jay Reidhead, RB/LB

2012 — Brad Richins, OL/DE

2011 — Bonner Mitchell, OL/DL

2011 — Lucas Rydalch, OL/DL

2010 — Parker Anderson, QB/DB

2010 — Cody Angell, OL/DL

2010 — Chance Field, OL/LB

2010 — Levi Thompson, RB/LB

2010 — Trevor Rydalch, Specialist

2009 — Judd Rydalch, TE/DE

2009 — Trevor Rydalch, Specialist

2009 — Trevor Lewis, QB

2009 — Levi Thompson, RB/LB

2007 — Harley Atkinson, RB/DL

2007 — Conor Peterson, QB/DB

2007 — Marc Yos, RB/LB

2006 — Brayden Stembridge, RB/LB

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

James Edward is the Deseret News prep editor and Real Salt Lake beat writer. EMAIL: jedward@deseretnews.com