Bears Reload After Championship Game AppearanceAug 10, 2015 11:35AM ● By Bryan Scott
By Greg James
South Valley - Summit Academy High School is a hidden gem in the southern end of the Salt Lake Valley. The Bears made themselves known with a runner-up finish in last year’s 2A state football playoffs.
“I think we have a good chance to be competitive again this season. If you ask me if we can win the whole thing I’d say sure, but I am going to say that every year,” head coach Scott Gorringe said.
The Bears graduated 19 seniors off last season’s roster. Many of them were skill players, such as quarterback and running back. Gorringe said they will need to find players to step into those roles.
A surprising find at quarterback has been 6’4”, 215-lb. senior Justin Miller. Miller has garnered the attention of many division one college football programs. He recently attended the Mountain West Elite camp where he was named first team all-camp.
“He is a big kid that throws the ball well. He certainly has the size. We just need to see how it will translate onto the football field,” Gorringe said.
The return of the majority of the offensive line will help protect Miller. Seniors Dakota Pannell, Sterling Hullinger and Dallas Gillett, along with junior James Walker, make up what Gorringe called the strength of the team.
“We return a lot of our lineman. Football is a game that is won and lost in the line. We have a lot to prove in our skill positions. If they play up to a portion of last year’s level, we could be good,” Gorringe said.
The Bears finished 8-1 in the regular season last year. They defeated Beaver 22-19 in the first round of the playoffs and San Juan 24-0 in the second. Its 28-6 loss to South Summit in the championship game was disappointing to the team, but making it to the finals helped legitimize the school and its sports programs.
Seniors Kohlten Bills and Tyson Dais are expected to step in at running back. Neither carried the ball once last season, but Bills was named honorable mention defensive back by the Deseret News. Dais hurt his knee early in the season and missed the final six games.
Summit Academy competes in the Utah High School Activities Association’s Region 16 against American Leadership Academy, Gunnison Valley, Millard, North Summit and South Summit.
“South Summit is always going to be good. They reload every year. North Summit is well coached and has a lot of players coming back this year. Millard is always tough. They are some of the toughest kids we play against. We have done several camps with American Leadership and they are much improved. It could be a great year,” Gorringe said.
The Bears are scheduled to begin their season Aug. 21 at Emery High School in Price. They have also circled Aug. 28 on the calendar for their second game of the season against Rich. KJZZ TV has scheduled to televise the matchup against the 1A champion as its game of the week. Gorringe said the program is excited for the opportunity to showcase its talents.
The Bears are 0-3 against South Summit in school history. They are scheduled to face them at South Summit Oct. 2.
“We have found that kids that want to be a part of what we have. High school is not all about football, but our championship game appearance has opened the door for kids to think about coming to our school,” Gorringe said.