An hour before kickoff Friday night, the Summit High football team was nowhere to be seen. Thirty minutes before kickoff, the Storm still had not arrived for its tilt against Bend High. It wasn’t until 6:45 p.m., with 15 minutes before game time, that the Summit bus arrived and the players took the field.
Typically arriving that close to kickoff is not a recipe for success — unless showing up that late was part of the plan all along.
“It was a little bit of gamesmanship,” said Summit coach Corben Hyatt.
Warming up and having a walkthrough practice on their own field 90 minutes before the game ended up working out. Summit shut out Bend High 20-0, securing its second win of the season, while handing the Lava Bears their first loss of the season in the Mountain Valley Conference opener.
“It felt like we finally put it together,” said Summit senior tight end Jack Clemans, who caught two touchdown passes in the win.
Did the ploy of showing up right before kickoff throw off the Lava Bears?
Maybe, maybe not. But warming up before making the short bus ride across town did accomplish one thing for the Storm: getting focused.
“We came on the bus and everyone was dead silent,” said Summit senior defensive back Joe Schutz, who had an interception in the first quarter. “The mentality of this game was just different.”
Friday night was the third matchup between the Storm and the Lava Bears since March 12, and this one, much like the two in the spring season, was a defensive slugfest. Points were hard to come by.
After a scoreless first quarter, Summit got on the board when wide receiver Ethan Carlson took a short pass from quarterback Hogan Carmichael for a 54-yard touchdown. It would prove to be the game winner early in the second quarter.
Carmichael tossed three touchdown passes in the game, his second to Clemans in the closing seconds of the first half and his third on the opening drive of the fourth quarter, also to Clemans. The junior caught a short pass, then ran for a 40-yard touchdown.
But the night belonged to the Summit defense.
Schutz, Clemans and Hyatt credited defensive coordinator Scott Clements’ game plan that slowed the Lava Bears’ rushing attack.
“Everybody did their jobs on defense,” said Schutz. “That is how we won the game.”
Bend High scored a combined 68 points in its first two games and was coming off a 41-point explosion in its win against South Medford, in which the team ran for over 350 yards. Friday night, the Summit defense held the Lava Bears run game to an inefficient 96 yards on 35 carries.
In the third quarter, Bend looked as though the offense would finally get on track, when running back Jack Sorenson broke away for a long touchdown that would have made it a one-score game. However, a penalty negated the score.
“Quite frankly we got beat in a lot of different areas,” said Bend High coach Matt Craven. “It came down to blocking and execution. They beat blocks and we didn’t execute blocks very well. And when that happens, it is hard to run the football.”
Before last spring, Summit had gone four years without a win over Bend High. Now the Storm have won two of the last three meetings, including twice last spring.
Bend High will look to regroup next week when it hosts McNary, while Summit — now winners of two straight games — will try to remain unbeaten in MVC play on the road against Sprague in Salem.
“It is a work in progress,” said Hyatt. “That first week we sputtered but we weren’t able to finish drives. Last week was a great confidence boost. I think they are buying in and realizing that we need to focus on us and not the opponent.”