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High School Football

Playoff Football: Summit advances to 3rd consecutive final, first in 6A

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Playoff Football – Summit at Henry County

Keaten Wade 

HENDERSONVILLE – For the third consecutive season, the Summit High School football team will be playing in a BlueCross Bowl Championship football game. 

Last year’s Class 5A champions will play for the Class 6A title next week after advancing past Hendersonville 28-7 on a chilly Friday night northeast of Nashville.

Summit, which improved to 13-0, will play Oakland in a battle of unbeatens next Saturday at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga in the final high school football game of the season.

“It’s a crazy experience to get to go to the state finals three times in a row,” said Destin Wade, who opened the scoring in the state semifinal with a 55-yard touchdown strike to twin brother Keaten. “That’s just history … we worked hard to get to it and we are finally here.”

Destin rushed for a pair of 1-yard touchdowns in addition to the TD throw to Keaten, who led the ground attack with 139 yards rushing on 12 carries. Destin gained 122 yards on 13 touches, while longtime teammate Brady Pierce tacked on a 5-yard rushing touchdown early in the fourth.

The Wade brothers followed Pierce's score with a 2-point conversion when Destin lofted a ball to Keaten in the back corner of the end zone to make it a three-touchdown lead that stayed the rest of the way.

“I’m just glad we can do this for Summit and keep making Summit history,” said Keaten, who added two tackles for loss, including a sack.

Spartans coach Brian Coleman said his team continued to show an unmatched resiliency. Friday’s win was the 25th in a row for Summit.

“Anything we put in front of this team, they battle through,” Coleman said. “I’m just so proud of these guys. I know Keaten and Destin are really, really good and Brady is really, really good, but I mean our offensive line plays their heart’s out, our defense is really good – it’s a total team effort and program effort.

“I’m so excited for them.”

Summit marched to the Hendersonville 1-yard line on its first drive, but failed to punch in the opening score. The Commandos made some room on the ensuing possession before punting to the Summit 45. Keaten Wade jump-started the next drive with a 45-yard burst and Destin Wade punched it in from 1-yard out two plays later.

The home team responded with Torin Baker streaking up the middle for a 61-yard touchdown. The ensuing PAT knotted the game at 7-7 with 4:19 to play in the first quarter. Baker was the Commandos workhorse, rushing for 174 yards on 19 carries.

“We had to get used to their offense a little bit early on and (Baker) and (Ellis Ellis) are really fast, and they run that Wing-T offense well,” Coleman said. “(Baker) got vertical on us and ran in that big score, but I think we kind of settled in from there.”

Another big Keaten Wade run early in the second quarter set up brother Destin for his first 1-yard touchdown plunge of the night with 9:22 to play in the frame.

Summit gridiron grapplers Finley Jameson and Maddux Reed – members of the 2020 Spartan state-qualifying wrestling team as well – teamed up to produce the first of two Commando turnovers on the next drive from the home team. Jameson sacked Hendersonville quarterback Luke Manning, who coughed up the fumble recovered by Reed at the Spartans 45-yard line.

Summit's Aden Byrd provided the other takeaway by snatching an interception in the endzone to end the first half. 

“I think from the beginning, we knew we were going to Chattanooga,” Jameson said. “There was no doubt in my mind. We just play lights out football.”

Destin Wade scored three plays after Jameson's strip-sack on the heels of 48-yard jaunt through the Commando defense.

Senior leader and lineman Cooper Koch said his team’s strong chemistry simply continued to shine when needed Friday. The core group of Summit’s upperclassmen, which includes 26 seniors, has been playing together since well before high school.

“We’ve been playing together for a long time and we know what we are capable of,” Koch said. “We wanted to just come out and be physical and run the ball and we did that tonight.”

The Spartans rolled up 384 yards of offense despite Hendersonville consuming nearly 10 more minutes of possession. Summit posted 279 yards rushing.

The two teams traded fourth down stops in the third before Summit gained some footing once again late in the frame. Pierce snagged a 44-yard reception from Destin Wade to open the fourth and ran in his 5-yard TD court plays later to provide the final score.

The senior playmaker Pierce credited the team's defense for quieting Hendersonville's run-heavy offense, which was coming off a 34-14 quarterfinal win over rival Beech. 

“I feel like our defense had to really step up and once we got momentum, it started carrying and carrying,” Pierce said, adding how his team won't take the next week of practice for granted. "We're grateful for the opportunity." 

Summit will face off against the state’s other hottest team in the streaking Patriots of Oakland – the defending Class 6A champs who raced past Brentwood last year in the final. The Spartans enter next weekend on a 25-game winning streak, while unbeaten Oakland completed a perfect season last year and hasn’t lost since 2019’s state semifinals.

The Patriots defeated Maryville 24-14 in the other semifinal Friday, handing the Rebels their first home playoff loss since 1999. The two rivals met in the semifinals for the eighth consecutive season.

Saturday’s championship meeting will be the first between Summit and Oakland.

“Hopefully it will be a battle,” Coleman said. “These kids deserve it. Let’s take a shot. Let’s see what we got.”

Summit 28, Hendersonville 7, Class 6A Semifinal

SHS 7 13 0 8 – 28

HHS 7 0 0 0 – 7

Scoring Summary

1Q 4:38 S – Keaten Wade 55 pass from Destin Wade (Ryan Crane kick);

1Q 4:19 H – Torin Baker 61 run (Thomas Mitchell kick);

2Q 9:22 S – D. Wade 1 run (Crane kick);

2Q 4:52 S – D. Wade 1 run (Run failed);

4Q 9:38 S – Brady Pierce 5 run (K. Wade pass from D. Wade).

Team Statistics (SHS HHS)

Plays – 40 61

First Downs – 13 15

Total Yards – 384 272

Turnovers – 0 2

Penalties/Yards – 4-20 3-20

Time of Possession – 18:40 28:26

3rd Down Conversions – 3-8 5-16

4th Down Conversions – 0-3 2-6

Individual Statistics

Rushing

SHS 33-279 (Keaten Wade 12-139, Destin Wade 13-122, Brady Pierce 5-13, Dominick Hollis 2-6); HHS 44-228 (Torin Baker 19-174, Stevin Mack 8-37, Ellis Ellis 7-27, Noah Carmean 5-14, Mason Baker 1-(-10), Luke Manning 4-(-14)).

Passing

SHS – Destin Wade 3-7-0-1 for 105; HHS – Luke Manning 9-16-1-0 for 44, Torin Baker 0-1-0-0 for 0.

Receiving

SHS 3-107 (K. Wade 1-55, Brady Pierce 2-50); HHS 9-44 (Jameson Wharton 2-19, Jack Busey 3-14, Ellis Ellis 2-6, Brice Howden 1-4, Torin Baker 1-1).

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