After breaking a string of three straight losing seasons with a solid 6-5 district championship run and state playoff berth in 2010, the Rockwood Summit High football team is looking to achieve bigger and better things in 2011.
Coach Mike Bellers has eight starters returning on offense at Summit this season. Bellers also has one of the area’s best defensive players back to lead his defense, which led to one of Falcon football’s most upbeat and energetic offseasons ever.
“It was probably one of the better offseasons we’ve ever had around here,” Bellers said. “All our camps, all our offseason training and conditioning programs were all very well attended. We’re very fortunate that about 85 percent of our kids here play other sports. So they’re all in pretty good shape the whole year round.”
Having a team in which almost all came to preseason training camp in shape and ready to play has meant Summit hasn’t needed to spend as much time getting players' bodies ready.
Instead, the Falcons have been able to focus on getting mentally ready for the season, which in large part will depend on how well the offense deals with no longer having star quarterback Myles Robinson, who led the Suburban South Conference in passing with 1,857 yards and 24 touchdowns last year.
“Myles did a fantastic job for us last year,” Bellers said. “He’s probably one of the top athletes to ever come through our school. We’re definitely going to miss him, but we’ve got a great nucleus of kids coming back on offense that hopefully can do some of the same things this year.”
Taking over for Summit this year is senior Tyler Karst, a terrific passer that Bellers believes is a more accurate thrower than even the talented Robinson.
“He’s the same kind of kid (as Robinson),” Bellers said. “Tough, smart, and he’s played a lot of football. So he’s got a great understanding of the game and the spread offense.”
The Falcons also have to replace 1,400-yard rusher Alex Clark, whose 10 touchdowns last year were the most on the team.
Junior fullback Eric Beisel will be back and figures to get some of those carries this year, as will fellow junior Ian MacIntosh.
Summit does bring back its top pass catcher from last year in senior Joey Schenk, who caught 49 balls and scored nine touchdowns, while the offensive line will be anchored by tackle Matt Kaysinger.
On defense, the Falcons will be led by Beisel, a third-team all-state linebacker, who some college scouts rank as the area’s best defensive player in the junior class this year, after he led Summit with 116 total tackles as a sophomore last year.
“He’s a special kid,” Bellers said. “We’re very lucky to have him here. Obviously, he’s got some natural gifts that other guys just don’t have. And he uses them and has developed them. And he’s just such a competitor. He just loves football.”
Other defensive starters for Summit High this season will include senior Spencer Mathews (end), senior Kris Bolton (noseguard), MacIntosh (linebacker), Schenk (safety), and junior James Crockett (cornerback).
“We’ve got a pretty well-rounded group,” Bellers said. “We don’t have 60 or 70 kids, so we’ll have to play some guys both ways. But we’ve got some size and some speed, and our kids are smart. We think we can be better than last year.”
The 2011 season will officially kick off for Summit High at 7 p.m. Friday when the Falcons travel to Kirkwood to take on the Pioneers at “The Wood” Memorial Stadium.
The Falcons' first home game will be Sept. 2, when the Parkway North Vikings come to visit. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.
2011 ROCKWOOD SUMMIT FALCONS FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
8/26 at Kirkwood 7 p.m.
9/2 vs. Parkway North 7 p.m.
9/9 at Parkway West 7 p.m.
9/16 vs. Francis Howell Central 7 p.m.
9/23 vs. Webster Groves 7 p.m.
9/29 vs. University City 7 p.m.
10/6 at Parkway Central 7 p.m.
10/14 at Seckman 7 p.m.
10/21 at Poplar Bluff 7 p.m.
10/27 vs. Jackson 7 p.m.