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High school football: Summit Academy Bears 2020 preview

Here’s an in-depth look at the Summit Academy Bears football team heading into the 2020 season.

Note: Summit Academy finished with a 5-6 overall record in 2019 and was fourth in Region 13 with a 2-3 record. It was RPI seed No. 10 in the 3A playoffs, and was eliminated by American Leadership 39-29 in first round.


BLUFFDALE — Coming off of its state championship in 2018, Summit Academy had a decent season a year ago — but decent wasn’t anywhere near good enough in 3A.

The classification was loaded at the top, and Summit Academy couldn’t match that level, suffering through a 5-6 season and a first-round playoff exit.

Head coach Les Hamilton is hopeful that in 2020 his Bears will be one of the teams competing at the top again. A big reason why is returning starting quarterback Joe Garlick, and three returning starting offensive lineman.

A year ago Garlick passed for 2,809 yards and 23 touchdowns, and he figures to take an even bigger jump during his senior season.

“Having Joe back to run this offense is huge and then having the three returning starters on the offensive line is huge, especially in 3A,” said Hamilton.

Hamilton said in all his years coaching in Utah, Garlick is only the third two-year starting quarterback he’s had.

Defensively, Summit Academy ranked 10th in 3A a year ago surrendering 24.2 ppg, but a strong rotation of players on the defensive front should help it make big strides in that area.


Summit Academy Bears at a glance

Coach Hamilton’s thoughts on how his players dealt with the COVID-19 adversity in the spring and summer:

“First there was hesitation. But as we’ve got going, the kids have taken the challenge. We’ve talked about it just about everyday that they need to do their part to minimize the transmission of COVID to keep our program going. We’ve challenge them, wash your hands before and after practice, no sharing of water, wearing a face mask in public, all those things we’ve asked our kids and coaches to keep their team safe. We’ve seen other teams when they get infected they get shut down for 14 days. I think they’ve taken that challenge as part of the team challenge, just like lifting and running and doing all those things. They’ve committed to keep the team safe which in turn keeps their friends and families safe.”

Summit Academy offensive snapshot

Offensive coordinator: Les Hamilton

2019 offense: 31.7 ppg (3rd in 3A)

2019 offensive statistics
  • 6 returning starters
  • Spread offense
Returning offensive starters
  • Joe Garlick (QB)
  • Koa Sylvester (WR)
  • Titan Kilgore (WR)
  • Conner Thomas (OL)
  • Carson Burke (OL)
  • Brock Rosemeyer (OL)
  • Kyson Andolsek (P/K)
Offensive newcomers to watch
  • Jaxon Case (RB)
  • Brayden Willden (OL) — started DL last year
  • Christian Smith (WR/TE)
  • Russell Oliver (WR)
Coach Hamilton’s keys for offensive success in 2020:

“People often think of us as this pass-happy, throw-the-ball-around type team, but we’re generally very balanced. The run game and finding Jaxon Case is going to be very big for us, especially with having the offensively lineman back. If we can establish a solid run game, then it minimizes the number of times Joe has to throw the ball, which in turn minimizes the number of turnovers, which results in controlling the ball and controlling the tempo. If we can establish a solid run game offensively we should be just fine.”


Summit Academy defensive snapshot

Defensive coordinator: Ryan Miller

2019 defense: 24.2 ppg (10th in 3A)

2019 defensive statistics
  • 5 returning starters
  • 3-4 defense
Returning defensive starters
  • Brayden Willden (DL)
  • Kaden Brown (OLB)
  • Porter Galvan (LB) — moving to DL
  • Jaxon Case (DB)
  • Trey Bailey (DB)
  • Defensive newcomers to watch
  • Sawyer Rasmussen (DL)
  • Jackson Bailey (LB)
  • Koa Sylvester (DB)
Coach Hamilton’s keys for offensive success in 2020:

“Stopping the run, it really comes down to the that. Last year at times we struggled stopping the run, so this year the focus is to stop the run. Unfortunately we’re just not as big as a lot of the teams we play, so we have to use scheme and technique to be successful on defense. The other unfortunate is it’s third year in a row I’m replacing my defensive coordinator. I’ve got a good one with Ryan Miller and he’s done a great job so far, we’re going to run a similar scheme. He’s done a really, really good job this offseason and the kids are doing good with that.”

Deseret News outlook for 2020

In Summit Academy’s three years leading up to last year, the program went 9-2, 9-2 and 10-2 advancing to the semifinals all three seasons. Last year’s 5-6 record was likely the outlier and not the norm for the program. With an experienced quarterback and a potentially very strong running game, expect this team to be back competing for region and state titles in 2020.


Felt’s Facts for Summit Academy

  • All-time record: 56-33 (8 years)

  • Region championships: 2 (2016, 2018)

  • Playoff appearances: 8

  • All-time playoff record: 8-7

  • State championships: 1

  • State championship record: 1-1


Last 5 seasons

  • 2019 — 5-6 (2-3 in Region 13 – 3A First round)
  • 2018 — 10-2 (5-0 in 3A South – 3A Champions)
  • 2017 — 9-2 (4-1 in 3A South – 3A Semifinals)
  • 2016 — 9-2 (5-0 in 2A North – 2A Semifinals)
  • 2015 — 6-5 (3-2 in 2A North – 2A Quarterfinals)

Summit Academy coaching history

  • 2016-current — Les Hamilton (33-12)
  • 2012-2015 — Scott Gorringe (23-21)


Summit Academy All-state history

Deseret News MVPs the past 10 years
  • 2018 — Kasey Briggs, QB
Deseret News First Team all-staters the past 10 years
  • 2019 — Gage Sessions, WR
  • 2019 — Kyson Andolsek, PK
  • 2019 — JT Kupiec, P
  • 2018 — Talmage Brown, RB
  • 2018 — Parker Clawson, WR
  • 2018 — Jacob Munger, OT
  • 2018 — Cameron Fisher, DT
  • 2018 — Carson Wheaton, LB
  • 2018 — Mason Shafer, CB
  • 2017 — Hunter Housel, S
  • 2017 — Aaron Bailey, LB
  • 2017 — Carson Wheaton, DE
  • 2017 — Jesse Hooper, OL
  • 2017 — Gavin Davey, WR
  • 2017 — Hayden Reynolds, QB
  • 2016 — Isaac Hamilton, QB
  • 2016 — Jeb Denos, RB/DB
  • 2016 — Baylor Harding, WR
  • 2016 — James Walker, OL/DL
  • 2015 — Justin Miller, QB
  • 2015 — Darrin Gethers, WR
  • 2014 — Hagan Hines, QB/LB
  • 2014 — Steven Harp, RB/WR
  • 2014 — Jake Dartchner, DE