Summit High School isn’t the new kid on the block anymore.
One season after reaching the CIF championship game, in its sixth season of existence the SkyHawks achieved arguably the most significant regular season feat possible for a football team in San Bernardino County.
Summit’s 21-7 win over Kaiser Friday night at Miller High School halted the Cats’ streak at 10 consecutive Sunkist League championships. The loss was just Kaiser’s second in league play since the run began in 2001.
Kaiser (7-3, 4-1) was on its way to a sixth straight league title during Summit’s humble beginnings, an 0-10 campaign in its first varsity season. After losing by an average of 44 points per game in 2006, the SkyHawks (9-1, 5-0) are the No. 1 team in their league and the CIF-SS Eastern Division.
“What the heck am I doing here?” Summit coach Tony Barile said he used to ask himself. “I think coaches are arrogant by nature and I thought I could go anywhere and do anything, that we could do it right away. We finished tonight what those guys started in 2006.”
The SkyHawks didn’t quite hit their average of 46 points per game but for a dropped pass and consecutive penalties that negated first downs on their final drive, they would have punted just once. Summit compiled 289 yards of offense while holding Kaiser to 162.
“That was the best game we could have played,” Kaiser coach Phil Zelaya said. “If we have a few more things go our way, maybe we score another touchdown and lose 21-14. We didn’t back down. A lot of people thought we’d lose by 40, 50, but my kids didn’t back down.”
The game was tied when Summit turned the ball over on downs at Kaiser’s 5-yard line late in the second quarter, but the SkyHawks took advantage of a 45-yard field on the next possession to score inside the final minute of the half for a 14-7 lead.
Kaiser managed just 54 yards in the second half during which Summit again won the field position battle to set up a 42-yard touchdown drive on its second possession fueled by the second successful screen pass to running back Jamaal Williams, who had two catches for 56 yards and 15 carries for 74 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown run to swell Summit’s lead to 14 points with 10:46 to play.
Kaiser extended its ensuing drive with a fake punt but turned the ball over on downs at the Summit 34-yard line with 6:15 to play before throwing a desperation interception on its final possession as the reigning league champions.
“We had our run of league championships,” Zelaya said. “If you’re going to lose it you better lose to these guys. That’s a team with a lot of talent.”
Summit, which lost to Wildomar Elsinore in last season’s CIF championship game, will assuredly be the No. 1 seed when the brackets are released Sunday.
“We had to prove to ourselves we could win a big game,” Barile said. “We’ve had two chances, to win league and to win CIF and we hadn’t won any of them. This feels awesome.”