SUMMIT, NJ - When one thinks of a 'family style' meal or eating establishment, the image is normally that of a a bunch of big helpings of each dish, laid out for all to see, where everybody digs in and -- most importantly -- nobody leaves the table wanting.
The Summit High School Varsity Football Team is a family and, on 'Senior Day', it was only fitting that every player brought something to the Investors Bank Field 'table' and made a meal out of their opponent.
Getting three more takeaways from their defense, and two blocked punts from the special teams unit, the Hilltoppers rolled to a comprehensive 36-6 victory over Colonia to improve to 5-0 on the season. Summit was simply better in every phase -- and superior in the intangibles -- than their opponent, and seemingly had the game in the ball bag after a first half in which the home team left some points on the board but still led comfortably, 18-0.
Summit came back for seconds in the second half, and perhaps the only true criticism one could levy at the Maroon and White was that it was unable to convert a single point-after touchdown all afternoon -- neither could their opponent, by the way -- but that would be Masterchef judge-like nitpicking what was an impressive dish of an effort all around.
After Colonia won the coin toss and deferred, Summit took the opening drive and stuffed the ball into the end zone, keyed by a 60-yard blast off right tackle by senior captain Jackson Tyler. Since Tyler supplied the entrée deep into the Colonia 'Red Zone', it was only fitting that he -- three plays later -- got his just desserts by shooting to the right pylon from three yards out for six. After the failed conversion, the Hilltoppers led 6-0 at the 10:02 mark.
After a Summit defensive stop, junior Joe Lusardi went all Michael Jordan and Jumpmaned his way to a punt block, but the Hilltoppers were subsequently unable to convert on fourth down deep in Colonia territory.
It was 12-0 with 5:18 left in the first when senior quarterback Skyler Schluter crammed the ball over from a yard out, the score coming after a backwards pass by the Patriots went awry and senior Ryan Reigle gobbled up he pigskin and nearly took it all the way to 'The House'.
In the second quarter, senior captain Max Jackson, on fourth and two, ran right up the center of the field and broke through a Colonia defense that had packed 'the box' for a 12-yard touchdown at the 10:23 mark and Summit had upped their lead to 18-0.
So commanding was the Maroon and White's first-half performance that -- when they took that 18-point lead to the locker room at the break -- they probably felt it should have been more, with the first quarter 'Red Zone' opportunity squandered joined later by a field goal attempt that had the distance but missed wide left. Still, Colonia looked discombobulated, and the Hilltoppers looked hungry for more.
Two Summit scores in quick succession satiated that appetite, as Jackson bulled over for his second TD of the day to make it 24-0 and then 60 seconds of game time later -- after Reigle flew in from the left side to flatten the Patriots passer as he rushed his throw -- Lusardi picked off the toss and had nothing by 39 yards of plastic grass in front of him on which to graze. The 'pick six' made it 30-0 and any razor-slim hopes Colonia had of a comeback had disappeared into the mist that was falling from the cloudy sky.
The Patriots did put together a drive to make it 30-6, but Summit would go on to block another punt -- juniors Matty Goldblatt and Evan Deutsch doing the joint honors -- and got their final points when, despite fumbling the ball on a running play inside the Colonia two-yard-line, the ball squirted into the end zone and was fallen on by senior wideout Eddie Kaes.
"We've got a lot to prove," said Summit Head Coach Kevin Kostibos. "We may not have any five-star recruits, but we have a bunch of hard, tough football players. We are coming into our own, especially our seniors who have given everything to the program for four years and are showing everyone what they've become."
Summit next heads back out on the road, traveling to face longtime rival Cranford October 12. Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.