FENTON – The return of their best player gave the Falcons the spark they needed.
The Rockwood Summit football team welcomed Eric Beisel back on the field Wednesday night after the University of Missouri recruit was out for two months with a broken foot. The 6-foot-4, 238-pound linebacker led a dominant defensive outing as the Falcons advanced to the MSHSAA Class 5 District 1 championship game with a 34-0 rout of Fox.
“It was a big lift for the kids, the coaches and the school,” Summit coach Mike Bellers said of Beisel’s return. “He’s probably the finest football athlete to come out of Rockwood Summit. To do without him for two months was something we had to endure, but we’re just happy he’s back.”
Without Beisel, the Falcons dropped their final two games of the regular season. They still received a bye in the first round of the district tournament and cherished their first victory since Oct. 6.
“This was the type of game we needed to play,” Bellers said. “We’ve got a little more identity of who we are now.”
A big reason for the victory was shifty tailback Ian McIntosh, who ran for 108 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries. He had an 80-yard punt return for a score called back because of a block in the back.
“It was bad that it got called back because I was tired and then I had to go back in there,” joked McIntosh, who also added three receptions for 22 yards.
Bellers said McIntosh took advantage of a fast track and exploited the Warriors defensive scheme. Fox coach Brent Tinker complimented McIntosh’s ability to break a play open, but also gave credit to what he called an underrated Falcons offensive line.
“Our offensive line is getting better,” Bellers said of the unit that is led by senior Matt Kaysinger, but also includes juniors Tanner Hageman, Alex Lance, Tim Larrigan and sophomore Patrick Tosti. “They went against a big, physical team and did a good job.”
Using 10 days off to heal an ailing knee, McIntosh said he was “in a zone” Wednesday night. He also praised his teammates up front.
“They’re young, but they stepped up,” McIntosh said. “They made it easy for me. They did a really good job, better than I expected.”
Summit scored touchdowns on three of its first four possessions, methodically marching 64, 84 and 80 yards, on each respective scoring drive.
“They made some real good plays,” Tinker said of the Falcons. “But I’m proud of the turnaround our kids have started to make.
“The credit goes to (Summit). They were well-prepared and I wish them all the luck moving on.”
The Falcons (7-3) will travel to Jackson on Monday night in the district final. Jackson was a 54-14 winner over Vianney. McIntosh is hopeful the victory will give his team some momentum against top-seeded Jackson.
“We’re back, got our spirits back up,” McIntosh said. “We definitely have high hopes heading into the playoffs.”
The Fox offense never got going against the Beisel-led Summit defense. Beisel recorded seven tackles and had one of three Falcons sacks as Summit held Fox to 187 yards of total offense. Fox (5-6) had a total of 10 first downs – half of which came on its final two possessions – and seven punts. Entering the fourth quarter, Fox had five first downs to go with six punts.
Summit needed seven plays to go 64 yards on its opening drive, which ended with a 7-yard touchdown run by McIntosh. He added a 3-yard plunge to cap an eight-play, 84 yard drive on Summit’s third possession. Quarterback James Crockett, who threw for 161 yards, capped an 80-yard drive with a 10-yard scoring run early in the second quarter.
“James is new this year and is a little underrated, honestly,” McIntosh said of the 6-3, 185-pound Crockett. “He’s big. He throws well and is a very good player.”
Things got a little testy in the second half as Fox was called for a pair of personal fouls late in the game. While disappointed with the loss, Tinker said the most frustrating thing was seeing a couple of his players lose their cool.
“In order for us to take the next step as a program, we have to learn how to handle all types of adversity,” Tinker said. “It takes away from the team.”
ROCKWOOD SUMMIT 34, FOX 0
Fox 0 0 0 0 – 0
Summit 14 10 7 3 – 34
RS – Ian McIntosh 7 run (Ben Tesson kick good) 9:57
RS – McIntosh 3 run (Tesson kick) 3:05
RS – James Crockett 10 run (Tesson kick) 8:09
RS – Tesson 33 FG 0:06
RS – McIntosh 4 run (Tesson kick) 1:30
RS – Tesson 37 FG 8:23
First downs: Fox – 10. Summit – 15
Penalties: Fox 5-65. Summit 6-52
Fumbles-Lost: Fox 2-1. Summit 3-0.
Sacks Allowed-Yards Lost. Fox 3-13. Summit 0-0.
Fox (5-6) – Passing: Thomspon 3-10-0-9; Tipton 1-2-0-13. Rushing: Thompson 16-57; Abeyta 10-36; Guinta 10-35; Tipton 4-33; Harper 1-6; Morris 1-0. Receiving: Mitchell 2-19; Brewer 2-3. Punts: Mitchell 7-33.9
Summit (7-3) – Passing: Crockett 14-21-1-161; Seymour 1-2-0-6. Rushing: McIntosh 13-108; J. Crockett 11-54; E. Crockett 4-21; May 2-15; Vogel 2-8; Sanders 1-4; Turner 1-2; Seymour 1-(minus) 1; Hartmann 1-(minus) 3. Receiving: Bamvakais 4-81; Sanders 3-44; McIntosh 3-22; Hartmann 4-14; Gegg 1-6. Punting: Edwards 4-40.5.