By Chris Yow
SPRING HILL — When the Summit Spartans needed a spark, Destin Wade answered the call.
The junior quarterback was the catalyst Friday night, leading his team to a 28-14 win over Columbia Central in the second round of the Class 5A state playoffs. Summit advances to the quarterfinals for the third time in four years with the win.
Wade had his hand in all four scores for the Spartans (11-1), rushing for 242 yards and three scores after throwing for the first touchdown in the opening quarter. When Summit coach Brian Coleman needed a big play, he turned to his Mr. Football semifinalist.
“He’s our big threat, and any time he runs the ball, it gives us an extra blocker,” Coleman said. “We weren’t throwing the ball really well, and they brought up the safety into the box, and we needed that blocker.”
Wade doesn’t mind being the go-to-guy; he’s been that player his entire life. Having the confidence in his team to help him create big plays, however, is the key to success, he insists.
“The guys up front make my job easier,” said Wade, who rushed for 121 yards and four TDs in Summit’s 35-0 Week 3 win over Central. “I trust them to open up the crease for me, and I take advantage of whatever the defense gives me.”
Columbia Central’s defense held strong a couple of times early in the game, and a big play from the Lions’ offense kept them within striking distance in the first half. Brady McCanless hit Justin Buchmann on a wheel route that went 80 yards to pay dirt in the second quarter to cut the Summit lead in half at 14-7 going to the break.
That was the only real positive for the offense in the first half, however, as Summit’s defense was rather dominant early sans the one big play.
“Our defense definitely kept us in this one the whole night,” Coleman said. “We still have a lot to work on, though.”
Columbia Central coach Jason Hoath believed coming into the game his team would need to take advantage of big plays to stay in it. In the second half, however, McCanless was having success with quick-release intermediate passes.
“We saw how they were defending us in the first half, so we found a play we liked and kept going back to it,” McCanless said.
The Lions were forced into throwing the ball a lot, as the Summit defense held Central to negative yards rushing in the game. McCanless finished the game 16-of-33 for 234 yards, a touchdown and an interception by Caleb Jolley late that sealed the win for Summit.
“They hadn’t covered that route on the drive, so I kept throwing it,” McCanless said. “That time they stepped in front of it and intercepted it.”
A senior, McCanless said this was not how he wanted to see his career end, but praised his teammates.
“I wouldn’t have wanted to go to battle with any other 10 guys than the ones I went out there with (Friday),” he said.
Summit scored once in each period to earn the win, and held its Region 5-5A rival to 205 total yards in the game defensively. Penalties, however, were a concern of the Spartans following the game, and Coleman knows his team can’t play sloppy football next week.
“We have a lot to work on,” he said. “They had a good game plan with their passing game, and we couldn’t get any pressure. We’re excited to be advancing, but we have a lot of places we need to improve.”
Summit will travel to Beech next week in the quarterfinals. These two teams will have met in the playoffs three times after next Friday, with Beech being 2-0 in playoff meetings. The Buccaneers blanked Region 6-5A foe Hillsboro 36-0 Friday night.
Columbia Central ends its season 6-6, but with its first playoff win since 2012 with last week’s 21-14 triple-overtime victory at Gallatin. Hoath said he was proud of his kids’ effort on Friday.
“I’m not much into moral victories, but I am really proud of my guys and the way they fought tonight,” he said. “We went toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the state.”
Summit 28, Columbia Central 14
At Spartan Stadium
C 7 0 7 0 — 14
S 7 7 7 7 — 28
|S – Caleb Jolley 7 pass from Destin Wade (7:09), Ryan Crane kick|
|C – Justin Buchmann 80 pass from Brady McCanless (0:46,) Max Patton kick|
|S – Wade 10 run (1:20), Crane kick|
|S – Wade 26 run (7:16), Crane kick|
|C – McCanless 1 run (4:06), Patton kick|
|S – Wade 33 run (7:50), Crane kick|
|Columbia Central – Christian Biggers 2-(-3), Justin Buchmann 5-(-5), Brady McCanless 6-(-21)|
|Summit – Destin Wade 26-242, Brandon King 13-51, John Dippold 7-15, Zac Switzer 2-0|
|Columbia Central – Brady McCanless 16-33-1, 234|
|Summit – Destin Wade 7-12-0, 81|
|Columbia Central – Justin Buchmann 6-106, Steven Kinnard 6-91, Evan Sandman 2-26, Jase Hoath 1-9, Adrian Hidalgo 1-2|
|Summit – Zac Switzer 3-61, Brady Pierce 2-13, Caleb Jolley 2-7|