Crater can’t get on track against Summit
CENTRAL POINT — A week after being held scoreless in a Midwestern League loss to second-ranked Thurston, the Crater football team tried a different offensive formula Saturday against Summit.
Sophomore quarterback Shane Wood was back making his first start in five games and Javon Smith returned to receiver, giving the Comets another explosive playmaker opposite do-it-all senior Caden Lasater, who remained the focal point while Crater tried to open up its passing attack.
The results were encouraging in spurts, though the final score didn’t reflect it for the eighth-ranked Comets.
The Class 6A Storm broke a 3-3 halftime tie with three second-half touchdowns en route to a 24-3 win, taking advantage of favorable field position after Crater punted from deep within its own territory on a number of occasions.
“This game boiled down in the second half to field position, and they won the battle the whole half,” Crater head coach Berk Brown said.
“I mean, we played on our side of the field the last 24 minutes, and it’s hard to stop a really well-coached football team, a really good football team, when the ball is starting inside your own 50 and you’re on the field as much as we were on defense,” he said.
The Comets’ defense, which came into the week as the second best scoring defense in 5A, stopped Summit (6-2) with a pair of three-and-outs to begin the second half. But the game opened up when the Storm took over from the Crater 27-yard line, leading to a Jack Clemans 9-yard touchdown catch and run from quarterback Hogan Carmichael.
Crater, unable to gain a first down on its following two possessions, gave the ball back to Summit and its stingy defense finally wore down. Touchdowns of 3 and 7 yards from running back Chip Allers, who received 15 carries for 55 yards in the final quarter, all but sealed the win for the visitors.
“We just cannot put drives together all the way down the field right now with our young football team,” Brown said. “As we continue to grow and continue to get better, when we learn what it takes to play for 48 minutes and how to sustain a 12-play drive, I think we’ll be more successful. But until we get to that point, I think it’s going to be defensive battles like we’ve had all year long.”
Crater’s lone scoring drive was capped off with a 32-yard Tony Perez field goal nearing the end of the first half. The nine-play drive started at the Comets’ 32 and included a 22-yard gain from Wood to Kayden Gardner, who finished with a team-high 50 receiving yards on five catches, and a 23-yard run from Lasater, who tallied 106 yards on 17 carries.
Crater’s opening drive of the first quarter also produced a field goal opportunity, as Wood converted three third downs through the air and helped the Comets get to Summit’s 14-yard line, a promising sign for their young signal-caller.
“Shane has come a long way in the last five weeks since we decided to go with Javon,” Brown said. “He’s showed up to everything, he’s proven to us in practice he can make the throws so we wanted to give him a shot and open up our passing game a little bit.”
“I think he played extremely well,” Brown added. “He made some great throws, he made the right reads, and that’s what you look for in a quarterback: Is he throwing the ball where he should and is he throwing on time? When he did, man, he was on point.”
Crater (5-3, 5-1 Midwestern League) now heads into the final week of the regular season with the inside track on second place in the MWL race, leading Churchill by one game.
Crater0300 — 3
S — FG McKee 22
C — FG Perez 32
S — Clemans 9 pass from Carmichael (McKee kick)
S — Allers 3 run (McKee kick)
S — Allers 10 run (McKee kick)
Reach reporter Will Denner at 541-776-4480 or email@example.com.