Independence routs Summit 56-7 in rivalry opener
By Austin Stanley, For Williamson Herald
The Independence Eagles (3-0) scored in all three phases of the game in the first half to take care of neighborhood newcomer Summit (1-2) 56-7.
The Homecoming celebration started early as senior Vic Wharton housed a punt return 70 yards for a score just one minute into the game. Rashaan Gaulden kept the crowd going as he returned an interception over 70 yards for a score minutes later.
|The game ball for the Summit at Independence was a truly special delivery, falling from more than 3,000 feet in the air-along with Williamson County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mike Looney. Looney, an avid sky diver, made the jump as part of the school's tenth anniversary and homecoming celebration.
Photo by Bobby Rutledge
“We were just all ready to play, especially with it being our Homecoming game,” Wharton said. “At school it was very exciting all day. All these (Summit) kids, their senior class was at Independence their freshman year with (Summit) just being opened. It’s good to be able to beat our rival.”
Wharton and Gaulden, both committed to play for the University of Tennessee, combined for the first five Independence touchdowns. Quarterback, Caleb Hollis hit Gaulden from 20 yards out to make it 21-7, then Hollis connected with Wharton for a pair of air scores. Hollis finished with 111 pass yards and 4 touchdowns.
The Homecoming festivities can cause distractions for high school football players as all week long activities engulf the student body. Eagles coach Scott Blade was proud of how his team responded.
“I was real happy with the kids,” Blade said. “The reason I say that is we had an incredible day (Friday) with the Homecoming festivities all day and so I was pleased that the kids were able to deal with all the distractions and still come out and play focused football.”
With a 42-7 halftime score, Blade was able to sit his starters the entire second half and allow for younger players to gain live experience. Blade and his staff were able to get every player on the team in the action.
“It was nice,” Blade said. “We don’t have a lot of numbers. At one time there was nine sophomores and two freshman on the field. So, anytime you can get game experience under the Friday night lights it helps build for the future. It helps keep those younger guys interested. It helps to keep them vested.”
While the underclassmen are in the game it could be easy for the starters to sit back and take the rest of the night off. But, this Independence senior staff sees an opportunity to lead.
“That’s really what we need is the leadership out there,” Wharton said. “Coach Blade said that both me and Rashaan (Gaulden) both proved that out there. Hopefully we can be prepared for Beech next week.”
Next week the Eagles host Beech in a game that will be televised on CSS. The reigning 5A Champion Buccaneers are without their star running back Jalen Hurd, but are coming off an important win vs Gallatin, 40-36.
Posted on: 9/7/2013