There was no lockout that prevented high school football players from readying themselves for the 2011 season that opened for many Friday night. As their coaches attested to after the game, the Summit and Etiwanda football teams weren’t exactly in midseason form, but it made for plenty of fireworks as Etiwanda took home a 49-36 win over Summit, the top- ranked team in the CIF-SS Eastern Division.
The victory was about the only thing Etiwanda coach Steve Bryce was pleased with.
“We made every mistake in the book,” Bryce said, “but I’ll take this win over a very talented team. Summit is loaded with talent and they’re a good football team, especially in their division, but this is not the effort we wanted.”
Etiwanda took advantage of five Summit turnovers, the last of which it sandwiched between touchdowns to take a 49-21 lead with 4:06 left in the third quarter before Summit added a pair of touchdowns in the game’s final five minutes.
Eagles quarterback Larry Cutbirth threw for 151 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, including two clutch scoring passes in the final two minutes of the second quarter to build a 35-14 lead. The 6-foot-5 senior finished 15 of 20 passing for 194 yards with four touchdowns.
His top target, Raphael Barr, had five receptions for 105 yards and a pair of touchdowns, one of which was a 62-yard score with 1:44 left in the first half that allowed Etiwanda to capitalize on a Summit fumble, the SkyHawks’ fourth turnover of the game.
Pinned in its own territory, Summit managed just a 14-yard punt on its next possession to set up Etiwanda on the SkyHawks 37-yard line. A blown coverage led to Eagles receiver Austin Blaylock getting behind the defense for a gut-punch of a touchdown with five seconds left in the half for a three-touchdown advantage.
“The turnovers dictated the pace of the game,” Summit defensive coordinator Tony Crutchfield said. “We fell behind early, and the turnovers turned it into a track meet, and we don’t have the horses they have.”
Etiwanda scored the game’s first 13 points, the second touchdown the result of linebacker J.J. Everhard returning an interception to the Summit 1-yard line late in the first quarter.
Summit quarterback Bernard Porter completed just three of his first 12 passes with three interceptions before leading a couple of late drives.
The Summit running game got the SkyHawks back into it. Junior Tarik Myles, who finished with 116 yards on seven carries, broke a 37-yard touchdown run before Donte Deayon, who also had 116 yards on the ground, led a scoring drive out of the double-wing offense that put Summit ahead 14-13 early in the second quarter.
Etiwanda responded with a 10-play drive that ended with 6-foot-4 receiver Jordan Villaman going up to catch a 9-yard touchdown pass on a fade pattern to begin a 21-point run for Etiwanda to end the second quarter.
“We can’t think that anything is granted to us because of our ranking,” Crutchfield said. “We’ve got a long way to go in order to get back to where we want to be.”
Summit pulled to within 49-28 with 4:23 left in the game, added a safety when Etiwanda picked up the kickoff on its own 1-yard line and was tackled in the end zone, and scored once more, on the ensuing drive with 1:37 to play.