High schoolers celebrate perfect season
South Summit High School’s football team is undefeated! Now it's headed to the playoffs.
South Summit’s football season started with some uncertainty.
The team did not know who its head coach was going to be. The school looked all over, even bringing in a coach from Kansas. They eventually settled on Michael Ruf, who is also the South Summit School District's aquatic director.
Ruf had never coached football before, but he knew he had a great group of kids that could go places. The season prior, South Summit had a perfect regular season but suffered a disappointing loss to Beaver in the semi-finals. Many people thought the team could not have another perfect regular season.
Ruf said believing in themselves was one of the keys to the team's success.
“Well, I mean, it's exciting. We knew from the beginning that this was a group of kids that could do something really special if they just believed in themselves and were willing to work hard. We knew this was possible, from the very beginning of the season. But it's exciting to be a part of that.”
The team dominated all season long, averaging 31.5 points per game. One of the offensive players leading the charge for the Wildcats is senior slot receiver Caleby Thompson, who is currently ranked #9 in the state in receiving yards. Thompson also plays outside linebacker.
“I mean, Caleby is a phenomenal player. He has been for years, he's a kid who sees the game who can just make explosive plays happen. I mean, it's, it's the kind of player that a coach loves to have, right? And then it's really good because around him, there's a number of guys who compliment him and he them so well, that it makes that offense quite explosive.”
How explosive that offense will be in the playoffs remains to be seen. Ruf said the team's week off will give them time to clean up things they are not executing well.
“Yeah, so I mean, this week, we're gonna work on a lot of just basics, you know, working on our, on our fundamentals on our tackling on our catching drills, all of that kind of stuff, just trying to clean up some of the things that have been plaguing us.”
Many of the players on the team including Thompson are thrilled about the playoffs since they could potentially have a rematch with Beaver.
“It feels awesome to be, you know, I think I'm kind of glad we got Beaver game to get some revenge. We should’ve beat them last year and things just didn't play out our way. But if we can, end up 13-0 and have a perfect season, that'd be so awesome. Especially being a senior.”
Ruf said bringing a state championship back to the Kamas Valley would be meaningful.
“It be great," he said. "These kids have worked really hard. Since they were in third grade. A lot of these kids have played together in Little League all the way up. And then, you know, there's always been a good program here in South Summit, here in the Kamas Valley and to be able to bring, hopefully, another championship back to the to the town into the school would be a great accomplishment on something that a lot of people didn't believe we'd be able to do at the beginning of the season."
South Summit’s first playoff game is October 28th at home.