By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor
Summit Christian coach Ron Davis sounded serious when he spoke concerning the District A-8 showdown this Friday between flocks of Eagles — his and fellow unbeaten Warner’s.
“Warner’s three or four touchdowns better than everybody in this district,” he said.
Warner coach Chris McMullen’s reaction?
“We’re not going to buy into that,” he said.
But hey, what do these guys know anyway? Foyil, which has yet to win a game, was the preseason favorite of the district’s coaches. Summit, in its first year in 11-man ball, was sixth.
Davis insists that Warner, which was fourth in the poll, has the attention of everyone now, having outscored six opponents by an average of 39-5.
“They’re more athletic, more physical, than any team in our league,” he said.
Perhaps, but Summit has scored more points than anyone in the league, averaging 47 per outing, and that’s enough for McMullen not to overlook them.
“They’re not undefeated by accident,” he said. “Though I haven’t seen the west side of the state, I’d bet they throw the ball as well as anybody in our class.”
Cameron Gilbert has thrown for 1,392 yards, among the top 10 in any classification. Four different receivers are at 200 yards or better.
“No lead is safe with them,” McMullen said. “Liberty had them down like (four touchdowns) and they beat them in overtime (57-56). If your kids don’t play a full four-quarter game, it’s a good chance you walk away with a loss.”
Summit held off a 1-4 Porter team 58-51. The week before, Porter coach Ron Coppedge watched his team lose to Warner 40-6.
“The edge Warner will have is that they are so much more physical,” Coppedge said. “I think they are the most physical team in the district.”
McMullen came close to agreeing with that last statement.
“Our kids are tough and they play hard,” he said. “We’ve really meshed as a team and that’s not easy when you’re running four halfbacks and two fullbacks out of the wing-T and no one is getting a dominant number of touches.”
Anthony Carney is the quarterback of a predominantly running attack. Jake Leybas and John Duggan rotate at fullback and the halfback spots are filled by Justin Wright, Clint Kite, Briar Campbell and Kyle Taylor. Wright, at 427 yards, leads a squad that has 1,344 yards and an average per carry of 6.5 yards.
“All of those guys play defense and rotate on offense. And they’re all physical players,” McMullen said. “Plus our guys up front on the line are hard-nosed.”
A wing-T almost dictates unselfish players and this squad is no exception.
“I’m just as happy making a block for someone else scoring a touchdown as I would be scoring it myself,” said Campbell, a fourth-year starter. “What matters is it’s producing results.”
In comparison to the air game, Carney has only 25 completions for 481 yards and five touchdown passes.
McMullen saw this kind of run coming after the Eagles made the playoffs last year as the fourth-place team in Class A only to get a quick exit at the hands of eventual state champion Wayne.
“We sensed with the way we finished and what we had coming back that this was going to be a special year and so far that’s been proven out,” he said.
On the other hand, Davis thinks his team hasn’t proven itself yet with wins over Porter, Liberty and Foyil, all with a combined mark of 1-7 and 4-14 overall.
“We haven’t played what I consider to be the best of this district,” he said. “We will Friday.”
Likewise, says McMullen.
“They’re an explosive offense and we’ve been excellent defensively,” he said. “It will be interesting to see how it plays out.”