DENAIR — The Summerville football team opened its 2014 campaign on the road without the signature “S” decal on the Bears black helmet.
After a 2-8 season, head coach Ben Watson told his players they had to earn the right to wear the Summerville logo.
And after a dominant 32-6 dismantling of Denair on Friday night at Jack W. Lytton Stadium, the Bears may have proved enough to Watson that they are worthy of wearing the bright orange emblem.
“We beat a team we needed to beat,” Summerville quarterback Bryce Farrell said. “We were prepared for the first game blues. We played a decent game, and I think we’re deserving of the decals, but I don’t know what coach Watson is going to do.”
Senior fullback Humphrey Quirie got the Summerville offense rolling early.
On the Bears second play from scrimmage, Quirie caught a bubble screen from Farrell near the left sideline, turned upfield and outran the Denair defense for a 50-yard touchdown.
“Coach (Michael) Brennan, he really works hard with him,” Watson said of Quirie. “He’s starting to feel confident in the offense now. He kind of struggled a little bit with the offense last year, but this year he is feeling a little bit more comfortable in the offense. He knows what he’s doing. Coach Brennan is doing a great job with him. I think every week, you’ll see a better Humphrey.”
And from there, the rout was on.
Farrell found the end zone on a quarterback sneak and Quirie exploded for a 73-yard TD scamper that was sandwiched around two short red zone scores by sophomore Ethan Scott.
Summerville scored a TD on all five of its first five drives on only 18 plays, and with a 32-0 lead early in the second quarter, Watson and the Bears took their foot off the gas.
Denair coach Ted Howze asked game officials for a running clock in the second half, although the Bears did not hit the 35-point plateau.
“We’re better than we were at the scrimmage,” Watson said. “No doubt. I think some of the extra time we put on offense paid off. Our execution’s better. The other team didn’t put up a lot of stiff defense, but our execution has been coming along all week. I think we’re focusing a lot more on the things that we have to do. We still have to clean up some things on our blocking — our wideouts, our running backs and our line — can block a lot better. We’re missing some of the assignments a little bit.
“But I thought that all in all, our execution has come along the last week. I felt comfortable that we came out doing that.”
Operating out of the Pistol formation, Farrell, a 6-foot-3, 175-pound right-hander, looked sharp.
The senior completed 13 of 15 passes for 234 yards and two TDs — all in the first half. He connected with five different receivers, including longs of 50, 42, 38 and 26.
“I know the receivers better,” Farrell said. “I played a defense today that I knew how to read very well, and I was able to make the throws. That’s what counts. You can do all the mental things, but if you can’t make the throws, you’re not going to have success. You’re going to have days that you can’t — days that you can — and today was the day that I could. It was a good day.”
After his first passed sailed incomplete, Farrell completed 13 straight passes. He did not attempt a throw in the second half.
“Bryce was throwing the ball on target early,” Watson said. “In the past when he was a junior — early in the game — he kind of get jumpy and overthrow some passes, but he stayed a little more composed tonight. He did not overthrow the ball, and the receivers came up with the ball and didn’t drop any.”
Quirie accounted for 154 total yards on six touches for an average of 25.6 per play. The 5-foot-5, 165-pound senior did not take an offensive snap in the final two quarters.
He also recovered a fumble at inside linebacker in the opening period.
“He’s coming around,” Watson said. “Getting better every day. In the past, he didn’t run with his eyes open, he kind of kept his head down, just run straight ahead. Now he’s getting the idea that, ‘Hey, I can make a couple cuts.’ He can make those cuts and he can also run with some power. He’s getting better every week. He really is, and he’s learning more and more about the game.”
The active Summerville defense allowed 163 total yards and created two turnovers. The Bears forced five punts and gave up only two plays of 10 yards or more.
Denair scored its lone TD on a 7-yard run by Juan Berrera late in the fourth quarter.
“We were a little more aggressive on defense,” Watson said. “Coach (Darcy) Wingo, coach (Matt) Soto’s been working with the fact that we can’t stand there and catch people. We have to get after them. I think we’re much quicker in our reads. I was happy with our defensive team speed. Tonight, that was pretty good.”
Junior multi-purpose threat Jake Fulkerson sustained an injury in pre-game warmups and did not play in the Bears season opener.
Fulkerson was expected to be one of the key players in Summerville’s offense and was also an impact defender at outside linebacker.
As of Friday night, it was unclear if Fulkerson will be available for this week’s away game at Mariposa.
“Having that injury to Fulkerson just really is devastating to him — as a kid of course — super devastating to him,” Watson said. “We’ll find out how serious it is, but I feel just terrible for him because he’s been working so hard for this moment. He’s just been doing amazing things for us on defense. His defensive closing ability was great. He can catch the ball, he can run the ball. He’s our speed guy. It’s a huge setback for us, but hopefully, he can get healthy and help us out in league. That’s the goal right now.”