The Summit football team got down and dirty in the Class 5A state semifinals. By the end of the evening, the Spartans were feeling on top of the world.
Delivering the type of gritty performance that has come to characterize this football team, Summit bullied its way to a 27-20 mud-soaked victory over Dyer County on Friday night and earned its first trip to the state championship game in the program’s eight-year history.
The Spartans will face Knoxville Central in the 5A BlueCross Bowl next week in Cookeville. Knoxville Central advanced to the title game with a 10-0 victory over Knoxville West on Friday night.
“I can’t wait to get to Cookeville and have some fun,” said Summit sophomore quarterback Destin Wade. “It’s a really great feeling — the first time in school history to be doing this. It’s going to be a long-lasting memory.”
Wade hooked up with George Odimegwu on two touchdown passes and Keaten Wade, Destin’s twin brother, rushed for 173 yards on 15 carries with two TDs for the Spartans (12-2) to fuel the win over Dyer County (11-3). Both of Keaten Wade’s touchdowns came on explosive runs, including an 80-yard burst in the third quarter and a pivotal 32-yarder in the fourth.
Dyer County star Laquinton Wells, who came into the night with 1,814 yards and 38 touchdowns on the season, rushed for 191 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries. But despite his big performance, the Summit defense delivered a memorable performance, including producing a critical defensive stand in the red zone midway through the fourth quarter to protect Summit’s 27-20 lead.
“Our defense was awesome,” said Summit head coach Brian Coleman about the Spartans, who held Dyer County scoreless for the final 22 minutes of the game after surrendering a third-quarter touchdown. “I’m very proud of those guys. Inside the 20 and inside the 10, they just kept fighting and clawing and not giving up. They did a great job of fighting to the bitter end and not letting them score.”
Jaylen Herrud was credited with a team-high 5.5 tackles, and Hayden Bell had a pair of sacks.
The game was played on a mushy field that became even soggier as the night progressed, thanks to an occasional drizzle. But that was just fine with the Spartans, who thrived amid the muck, coming up with big plays on both sides on the ball at all the right moments. The game ultimately boiled down to a series of short-yardage situations, and time after time, Summit won those battles.
“We’re smash-mouth football,” said Bell, who had a game-sealing sack on fourth down on Dyer County’s last possession in the final minute of the fourth quarter. “That’s how we play. We hit hard and we’re physical. This (was) perfect football condition for this team.”
With Summit content to churn out yardage on the ground, Destin Wade attempted just eight passes in the game. His two touchdown passes to Odimegwu — the second of which came on a diving grab on a 26-yard scoring play in the second quarter — represented Summit’s only two completed passes of the game.
“We just wanted to run the ball tonight,” said Destin Wade. “We wanted to hit them up front and attack them.”
Dyer County quarterback Dain Patterson finished 13-of-19 for 118 yards and a touchdown through the air.
The contest was the first home game in almost two months for the Spartans, who had reeled off three straight road victories in the postseason — beating Gallatin, Page and Shelbyville Central — prior to the semifinals.
“It was awesome being back home tonight,” said Coleman. “We talked about that a lot last week, and used it as motivation. The guys really wanted to come back home and play here in front of our fans tonight.”
As expected, the game was a classic postseason showdown. It was tied 14-14 at the half, and Summit was clinging to a 21-20 lead at the end of the third quarter. Keaten Wade then gave Summit a 27-20 lead with his 32-yard touchdown run with 9:15 remaining in the game.
SHELBYVILLE – Despite a rugged start at Shelbyville Central, the Summit football team advanc…
Dyer County had three more possessions, but the Summit defense buckled down each time.
The visitors drove inside the Summit 10-yard line with less than 7 minutes left in the game, but Gavin Wells intercepted a pass on fourth down to squash the scoring threat. Dyer County’s next possession ended with a turnover on downs at their own 21-yard line when Summit came up with a stop on fourth-and-3. Dyer County then had one final possession, but any hopes of last-minute miracle ended when the Summit defense produced back-to-back sacks — one by Joseph Bell and the next by Hayden Bell — to force a turnover on downs.
“Our defense was just doing what they do tonight,” said sophomore Brady Pierce, who had a 60-yard kickoff return in the second quarter that set up a Summit’s second touchdown of the game. “That was Spartan football right there.”
When the game ended, the members of the Summit student body — along with other fans and family members — joined the Spartans on the field for a celebration after the team took another big step in this already-historic season. The Spartans had never previously advanced past the quarterfinals.
Coleman said there were moments this season when he wasn’t sure if this was a team would ultimately end up in Cookeville.
“Sometimes yes and sometimes no, if that makes sense,” he said with a smile. “But they kept getting better and better throughout the season, and then they just kicked it up a notch in the first round of the playoffs. From there, they’ve turned into the team that we always thought they could be.”
Coleman didn’t try to downplay the significance of the moment for his football program.
“It’s huge,” he said. “It’s huge for the school, the community, and this team. For everybody.”
Summit dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football and enacted some reveng…
Summit 27, Dyer County 20, Class 5A Semifinals
Dyer County 0 14 6 0 — 20
Summit 7 7 7 6 — 27
1Q (0:54) — Summit: George Odimegwu 8 pass from Destin Wade (Elijah Mooney kick);
2Q (8:29) — Dyer County: Laquinton Wells 1 run (Corey Piskorski kick);
2Q (7:59) — Summit: George Odimegwu 20 pass from Wade (Mooney kick);
2Q (2:22) — Dyer County: Wells 9 run (Piskorski kick);
3Q (11:34) — Summit: Keaten Wade 80 run (Mooney kick);
3Q (10:08) — Dyer County: Christopher Sawyer 4 pass from Dain Patterson (kick failed);
4Q (9:15) — Summit: Keaten Wade 32 run (kick failed).
First Downs: Summit 11, Dyer County 21
Total offense: Summit 260, Dyer County 337
Rushing Att/Yards: Summit 34-232, Dyer County 51-216
Passing Yards: Summit 28, Dyer County 121
Comp-Att-Ints: Summit 2-9-0, Dyer County 14-21-1
Penalties-Yards: Summit 4-50, Dyer County 8-80
Punts-Ave: Summit 7-36.3, Dyer County 3-32.7
Fumbles-Lost: Summit 1-0, Dyer County 2-1
Dyer County — Dain Patterson 13-19-1-1 — 118, Logan Palmer 1-1-0-0 — 3, Joshua Stewart 0-1-0-0 — 0; Summit — Destin Wade 2-9-0-2 — 28.
Dyer County — Laquinton Wells 26-191, Dain Patterson 15-19, Joshua Stewart 9-4, Bralyn Taylor 1-2; Summit — Keaten Wade 15-173, Destin Wade 15-58, Grayson Hill 3-1, Jakalean Cotton 1-0.
Dyer County — Laquinton Wells 2-37, Logan Palmer 3-31, Joshua Stewart 3-26, Christopher Sawyer 4-20, Christian Rhines 2-7; Summit — George Odimegwu 2-28.