BY GORDON ENGELHARDT
Evansville Courier & Press
Glad-handed by Reitz High School teammates and fans on Friday night, Jordan Summers couldn’t suppress a smile—and who could blame him. Summers caught a pass for one touchdown, returned a punt for another score and halted an early Silver Creek drive with an interception in sparking the Panthers to a 49-15 victory in the semifinals of Class 4A Sectional 24 at Reitz Bowl.
“Jordan Summers is a great football player and a great leader,” said Reitz coach Andy Hape. “We have the ability to pick and choose how we get him the ball, whether it’s on a quick screen or a jet sweep. He had a complete game today. The great thing is he doesn’t care what he has to do. If his role is to block, he’ll block. That’s what makes him a special player. He’s a team player from the word go.”
Reitz (8-3) will play at No. 6 Jasper (10-1) next Friday for the sectional title. The Panthers are hoping to win the sectional championship at Jasper for the second
straight year. Silver Creek ended 4-7.
It was scheduled as a home game for the Dragons, but was moved to Reitz Bowl. Silver Creek, a third-year program, does not have seating for visitors. When asked why the game was not played at a site closer to Silver Creek, Dragons’ coach Mike Donahue said: “The IHSAA did not give us a choice.”
He was impressed by the Panthers, especially their defense.
“They are extremely fast defensively,” Donahue said. “They come down the field quickly.”
He said his players weren’t awed by Reitz Bowl.
“I don’t think we were intimidated,” Donahue said. “We are a third-year program and that made all the difference.”
Summers made an interception, his eighth of the season, to halt Silver Creek’s opening drive, on Reitz’s 42.
“I guess I’ve always had a good eye watching the quarterback,” said Summers, a senior wide receiver/defensive back. “I read the quarterback and one of their best receivers. I read the route and got a good jump on the ball.”
Summers caught a 28-yard scoring pass from Austin Reagan to increase the Panthers’ lead to 21-0 with 1:01 left in the first half. He caught a punt on a bounce and did not break stride in racing for a 47-yard score with 5:39 showing in the third period.
Reitz played without leading rusher De’Wayne Esters, who was sidelined with a gimpy ankle suffered in Tuesday’s practice. Hape held Esters out as a precautionary measure, but said he could have entered if necessary. Esters has 1,110 yards on 171 carries, including 14 touchdowns. Malik Higgins and Mike McDowell picked up the slack admirably, gaining 116 and 103 yards, respectively. Higgins is now three shy of 1,000 for the season. Reagan passed for one touchdown and ran for another.
For three quarters, it appeared Reitz was on the verge of posting its second successive postseason shutout.
“We just trust our teammates to play their roles,” Summers said. “If you trust your teammates, everything falls into place.”
EVANSVILLE REITZ 49, SILVER CREEK 15
Reitz 7 14 21 7—49
Silver Creek 0 0 0 15—15
R — Mike McDowell 3 run (Nate Horner kick)
R — Austin Reagan 4 run (Horner kick)
R — Jordan Summers 28 pass from Reagan (Horner kick)
R — Malik Higgins 5 run (Horner kick)
R — Summers 47 punt return (Horner kick)
R — Landon Miller 4 run (Horner kick)
SC — Brad Graham 1 run (Cameron Cook kick)
R — Isaiah Douglas 2 run (Horner kick)
SC — Bobby Haines 4 pass from Brooks Howell (Jaret Friedersdorf run)
Reitz (49-264): Malik Higgins 25-116, Mike McDowell 10-103.
Silver Creek (32-75): Brad Graham 14-61.
Reitz (7-10-107-1): Austin Reagan 6-9-83-1.
Silver Creek (13-21-109-2): Brooks Howell 13-21-109-2.
Reitz: Jordan Summers 3-36, Higgins 2-37.
Silver Creek: Bobby Haines 6-46.