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By Shane Hoffmann 

Photos by Ryan Brennecke of The (Bend) Bulletin 

Corben Hyatt would have been thrilled with one of them, but two? 

Well, that’s just a luxury. 

The Summit head coach has been at this for a while. And in this year’s iteration of his Storm program — one in which they’ve cruised to the top of the 5A class — his roster features a welcomed rarity: two elite defensive linemen. 

“The defensive line is an interesting position, especially in the state of Oregon,” Hyatt said. “It's a hard position to have college-level size and ability. You hope you maybe get one a year kind of deal.” 

In defensive end Chip Allers and defensive tackle Spencer Elliott, Summit has a couple of wrecking balls and, in all likelihood, the top candidates for Class 5A defensive player of the year.

“It's pretty unique,” Hyatt said. “You know, the defensive tackle who can wreck the inside and then a defensive end who can come from outside. Two special guys.”

Together, the seniors, both perched on the left side of the defensive line, have wreaked havoc. They’re nightmares to scheme against. Why put them both on the left side? They can’t both be double teamed, after all.

Opposing teams slide protection their way, keep a running back in to block, use tight ends to chip them and consistently double and even triple team one or the other.

“They just shut down one side of the field,” Hyatt said. “You're just going, ‘OK, this isn’t fair.’”

Each was an all-league honoree last season, but they have taken it up a notch in their final season. Allers had 40 tackles, nine tackles for loss and 12 sacks in the regular season, while Elliott tallied 48 tackles, 21 tackles for loss and nine sacks. 

Spencer Elliott Ryan Brennecke of The Bulletin

“We get through and we still make plays regardless,” Allers said. “It’s just kind of a snowball effect.”

And yes, they’ve enjoyed being the primary focus of every offense they’ve faced.

“It's a great feeling,” Allers said. “I mean, Spencer and I, we get a lot of it and we just take it as compliments.”

Elliott added: “It's definitely, you know, a bit of a confidence booster, for sure. Not letting it go to your head, though, is a big thing.”

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The seniors are lapping up the success, sure. But they’re certainly not taking it for granted. The duo, who met in eighth grade after Elliott and his family moved from New York, became close friends over the past few years, often pushing each other in the weight room.

“Me and Chip have a blast together,” Elliott said. “We're meatheads together. We always talk about who can lift more and all this stuff.”

They’ve also helped reimagine what this Storm defense can be. 

Hyatt and defensive coordinator Scott Clements favor a more aggressive scheme — not necessarily in blitz percentage (in fact, Hyatt estimates they blitz less than 10% of the time), but in how they utilize their cornerbacks.

Summit’s corners play up close, often jamming receivers at the line of scrimmage. The frequency at which they play press is made possible because of the Storm's ability to create pressure up front, primarily on that left side.

“Chip's explosiveness is off the charts,” Hyatt said. “He runs stuff down on the other side of the field and can make tackles for losses.”

Chip Allers Ryan Brennecke of The Bulletin

He added, on Elliott: “The guy can read and react faster than most defensive tackles I've ever seen.”

A coach always wants the team's best players to double as the hardest workers. It’s a worn-out sports cliche, but one which holds verity.

In the weight room, Allers and Elliott have taken teammates under their wings, illustrating firsthand to Summit’s younger players just how much of an asset true commitment there can be.

“In a day and age when self-promotion and sales are kind of the majority or the norm, these two want to put the spotlight on others and don't necessarily like drawing attention to themselves, which is super unique,” Hyatt said. 

Sometimes, Hyatt said, when you have two high-caliber alphas, when one sees the other finding success, it can open the door for chippiness.

“That's not the case at all,” he said. “These two are always out trying to support each other.“

That doesn’t mean that competitive fire won’t at times leave the field. All in good fun, of course.

Who’s stronger?

“He's got a lot of strength on the field,” Elliott said of Allers. “I think in the weight room, I'm a bit stronger.“

“We are both pretty strong guys. I think it just depends on the day,” Allers said.

“OK, he's got the athleticism on me by a mile, though,” Elliott added.