The Summit football team found a productive way to deal with its road rage on Friday night.
After the team’s busses were ensnarled in a massive traffic tie-up on the way to Gallatin — which delayed their scheduled arrival time by about two hours — the Spartans delivered an aggressive and effective performance while earning a 27-14 victory over Gallatin in the opening round of the Class 5A playoffs.
The Summit offense compiled 341 rushing yards and the defense forced four turnovers as the Spartans (9-2) advanced to a second-round matchup against rival Page next week. Gallatin ends the season with a 9-2 record after the Green Wave suffered the season-ending loss on a cold night in the mid-state area.
Summit head coach Brian Coleman said he was excited about the way his team was able to maintain its focus despite the longer-than-expected bus ride.
“I didn’t have to preach much when we got here,” said Coleman. “The kids were basically ready to go once we finally got off that bus. Sitting with these young men for three hours on the bus — they were getting a little restless. But when we got here … they came out ready to play.”
Clearly, the rush-hour traffic on the Tennessee 109 didn’t effect the Spartans’ rush-heavy offense.
Led by the Wade brothers, Destin and Keaten, the Spartans averaged 6.7 yards per carry on their 51 rushing attempts in the victory. Destin Wade, who has been slowed by an ankle injury in recent weeks, ran for a team-high 136 yards on 19 carries with one touchdown, and Keaten Wade had 96 yards on 20 carries and scored two TDs.
Jakalean Cotton added 77 yards on six carries for the Spartans, who had stumbled in the first round of the postseason in each of the past two years, but emphatically put that little streak to bed with Friday’s victory.
Defensively, Hayden Bell picked off a pair of passes and the Summit defense limited Gallatin star Spencer Briggs to 68 yards on 18 carries. Briggs came into the game with over 1,500 rushing yards on the season. Briggs scored a pair of touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving.
All things said, the Spartans didn’t play a flawlessly — they committed 15 penalties for 175 yards and also lost three fumbles — but they overcame the miscues by controlling the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
“I’m just so proud of the guys,” said Coleman. “The offensive line took over the game and the defensive line played lights out.”
Summit jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the first half and eventually stretching the advantage to 27-7 in the third quarter.
Things got interesting in the fourth quarter when Gallatin scored a touchdown, recovered an onside kick and quickly drove inside the Summit 20-yard line with a chance to turn the contest into a one-score game. But the Summit defense buckled down — just as it had for most of the game — and forced Gallatin into a turnover-on-downs at the 18-yard line with 8:08 remaining.
On Summit’s ensuing possession, the Spartans’ coaching staff made a bold decision. With the Spartans facing a fourth-and-1 at their own 37, they elected to keep the offense on the field. The gamble paid off when Keaten Wade carried past the line enabling the Spartans to extend the drive and burn another 2:30 off the clock.
After the game, Keaten said he was more than a little pleased with the decision.
“I loved it,” he said with a big smile. “I felt like we could get it. I really believed either me and my brother could get (those two yards). Coach said he was going to put it our hands — and that’s what he did.”
Owning the lead most of the night, the Spartans rarely needed to utilize their passing attack. Destin Wade threw just seven passes, completing three for 50 yards. All three completions were to George Odimegwu, including a 27-yard touchdown. Odimegwu made a terrific catch on the play, which gave the Spartans a 20-7 lead with 7:00 to play in the third quarter.
Keaten Wade added another Summit touchdown with a 14-yard run in the final minute of third quarter to extend the lead to 27-7 — and the Spartans then fought off Gallatin’s late comeback bid.
Once the victory was secured, the Spartans were able to laugh about the interesting, and somewhat infuriating, ride to the stadium, which ultimately included a police escort during the final miles of the trip.
“If it hadn’t been for that (police escort), we wouldn’t have gotten here until 8:30,” said Coleman.
Coleman said he was continuously checking the GPS on his phone to see when the Spartans would finally get to the stadium.
“I was watching the trip on MapIt, and the (estimated arrival time) just kept getting later and later,” he said with smile. “We left Murfreesboro at 3:50, and when we left, it said it would take us an hour to get here. But it just kept adding time and adding time.”
Coleman said it was the first time in his coaching career that he’d experienced anything like that.
For the Spartans, though, the trip was certainly worth it.
Summit football 27, Gallatin 14, Class 5A First Round
Summit 6 7 14 0 — 27
Gallatin 0 7 0 7 — 14
1Q (3:49) S – Keaten Wade 1 run (kick blocked);
2Q (9:06) S – Destin Wade 6 run. (Elijah Mooney kick);
2Q (6:16) G – Spencer Briggs 21 run. (Trace Kelley kick);
3Q (7:00) S – George Odimegwu for 27 pass from D. Wade (Mooney kick);
3Q (0:26) S – K. Wade 14 run (Mooney kick);
4Q (10:30) G – Briggs 21 pass from Isaiah Briscoe (Kelley kick).
First Downs: Summit 17, Gallatin 12
Total offense: Summit 391, Gallatin 197
Rushing Att/Yards: Summit, Gallatin
Passing Yards: Summit 50, Gallatin 129
Comp-Att-Ints: Summit 3-7-0, Gallatin 8-22-2
Penalties-Yards: Summit 15-175, Gallatin 4-30
Punts-Ave: Summit 4-39, Gallatin 3-45.7
Fumbles-Lost: Summit 4-3, Gallatin 3-2
Summit — Destin Wade 3-7-1-0 — 50; Gallatin — Isaiah Briscoe 8-18-2-1 — 129, Montez Banks 0-4-0-0 — 0.
Summit — Destin Wade 19-136, Keaten Wade 20-96, Jakalean Cotton 6-77, Grayson Hill 5-32, Tre Hunter 1-0; Gallatin — Spencer Briggs 18-68, Soloman Yarbrough 2-11, James Mason 3-3, Montez Banks 6-5, Isaiah Briscoe 3 -9.
Summit — George Odimegwu 3-50; Gallatin — Luke Springer 4-82, Spencer Briggs 4-47.