SHELBYVILLE – Despite a rugged start at Shelbyville Central, the Summit football team advanced to the TSSAA Class 5A state semifinals for the first time by scoring the final 20 points of their quarterfinal showdown Friday night.
The Spartans, playing in the quarterfinals for the second time in three years, claimed a 20-12 win on the road and will host Dyer County in the school's first semifinal matchup. Dyer County defeated Henry County 31-24 Friday.
Shelbyville controlled the first quarter of the game and did not run a play outside of Summit territory for most of the first half. Mason Wright, who returned the opening kickoff 35 yards, took the first play from scrimmage all the way down to the Summit 27 and then just five plays later, quarterback Kade Cunningham found Myson Day for a 13-yard touchdown for a 6-0 lead after a missed PAT.
Summit couldn’t answer, and was forced to punt after three plays. Shelbyville took full advantage of the momentum, as Wright returned the punt to the 10-yard-line and promptly scored two plays later. Again the extra point failed, but the Eagles led 12-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, Summit failed to cover a pooch kick and Shelbyville once again had the ball and all the momentum.
Demarcus Smalls ran for 25 yards on first down to the 10-yard-line, but the next play would set the scene for a historic comeback. On 1st-and-goal, the Eagles appeared to have scored again, but a holding penalty at the 15-yard-line pushed them back to the 25, and Summit was able to hold off the Eagles on a fourth down pass play to take over.
The Golden Eagles threatened again inside the red zone, but that defensive mojo was too strong and Shelbyville missed a field goal attempt.
“I had to get my defense hyped up after those first two drives, and we were able to do that," senior linebacker Jaylen Herrud said. "Everybody was pumped up when we got that first stop, and we didn’t let up from there.”
Destin and Keaten Wade then stepped on the field and engineered a masterful 10-play, 80-yard drive that took just under four minutes capped by Destin's 2-yard TD to cut the lead to 12-6 after the extra point was blocked.
With 1:49 to play in the half, Summit’s defense forced its first punt. Destin Wade then took over and completed a pass to Grayson Hill, ran for a first down, completed a pass to George Odimegwu and suddenly the Spartans were thinking six points.
With just three seconds on the clock, head coach Brian Coleman elected to try and get into the end zone with his quarterback and it worked. Destin Wade converted the 3-yard run to pay dirt and with a successful extra point from Elijah Mooney, Summit led 13-12 and had all the momentum with back-to-back scores inside the final three minutes of the second quarter.
Summit dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the football and enacted some reveng…
“Making the decision to go for a touchdown was big,” Coleman said. “We had a chance to tie the game or go ahead with the momentum, and it worked out.”
Coming out the break, Summit kept that momentum going, as they went 67 yards on 13 plays, culminating with a scrambling Destin Wade finding Odimegwu in the back of the end zone for what would become the game-winning touchdown on a 15-yard strike.
“I looked up and trusted he was going to make a play,” Odimegwu said. “I know he has faith in me to just give me a chance.”
From there, it was more stellar defense from Summit.
The Spartans held Shelbyville to just 171 yards of offense, continuing their playoff dominance. Kade Cunningham was 9-of-20 passing for just 53 yards, and his final pass of the season was intercepted by Caleb Jolley to seal the win.
“I call coach (Alex) Melton the head coach of the defense, and he does an amazing job with them,” Coleman said. “I can’t say enough about him and the job he’s done in the playoffs.”
The Spartans will return home for the first time in five games with a chance to advance to a state championship game on the line.
“It’s time to get ready and get the field painted and ready to go,” Coleman said.
Summit 20, Shelbyville Central 12, Class 5A Quarterfinal
SHS – 0 13 7 0 – 20
SCHS – 12 0 0 0 – 12
1Q 8:56 SC – Myson Day 13 pass from Kade Cunningham (kick failed)
1Q 5:10 SC – Mason Wright 10 run (kick failed);
2Q 2:48 S – Destin Wade 2 run (kick blocked);
2Q 0:00 S – Wade 3 run (Elijah Mooney kick);
3Q 6:29 S – George Odimegwu 15 pass from Wade (Mooney kick).
First Downs 20 8
Rushes-yards 47-187 25-118
Passing yards 101 53
Com-Att-Int 11-16-0 9-20-1
Penalties-yards 5-25 3-20
Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0
S - Destin Wade 25-88, Jakalean Cotton 5-55, Keaten Wade 15-38, John Casey 2-6; SC - Mason Wright 5-50, Caleb Marsh 8-42, DeMarcus Smalls 5-27, Kade Cunningham 7-(-1).
S - Destin Wade 11-16-1-0 101; SC - Kade Cunningham 9-20-1-1 53.
S - George Odimegwu 4-42, Keaten Wade 2-23, Grayson Hill 3-22, Hayden Bell 1-12, Jakalean Cotton 1-2; SC - Slayde Simmons 4-32, Myson Day 2-16, Mason Wright 3-5.