By Chris Yow
HENDERSONVILLE — Seemingly every time Summit needed a big play Friday night, Destin Wade was delivering strikes to his talented receivers.
None was bigger than a 9-yard touchdown pass to Caleb Jolley on third down with just 35 seconds remaining to propel his team to the Class 5A state semifinals with a 36-29 win at Beech.
Following an 11-play, 75-yard Beech drive that ate more than six minutes off the fourth-quarter clock and gave the host Buccaneers a 29-28 lead on an Adrian Johnson touchdown and Tysean Jefferson 2-point conversion, Summit (12-1) marched the field behind a balanced offensive attack led by Wade.
“Two years ago, it was Destin . . . tonight it was Destin,” Summit coach Brian Coleman said of his Class 5A Mr. Football finalist. “We tried to run the ball in the beginning, and we were kind of hitting our heads against a wall. We spread it out and let (Wade) go to work.”
Above photos by Sarah Yow / SM-Tn Sports
Coleman and Wade praised the work of the offensive line, noting their ability to keep the Bucs’ pass rush at bay.
“I owe everything to my line,” Wade said. “They let me play the way I want to play.”
He finished with 412 total yards in the game — 218 yards through the air and another 194 on the ground. Five times he found the end zone, four times on passes and once more rushing.
“He’s a big kid, throws the ball well and runs the ball hard,” Beech coach Anthony Crabtree said of Wade. “He made some plays tonight that were the difference in the game.”
Not every play was perfect from Wade; twice he fumbled inside the 5-yard line with a chance for the Spartans to score. The first came on a fourth-down attempt when Coleman called for the offense to run a hurry-up style to catch the Buc defense off-guard, which failed. Beech (9-2) then took the ball 97 yards on the ensuing drive to take a 14-7 lead in the second quarter.
What could have been a back-breaking moment, however, was turned into a momentum-swinging drive when Wade completed a pass to Jolley for 13 yards and then to Konata Werts for 14 yards before adding a pair of 7-yard runs to set up 1st-and-10 at the Beech 24. Wade then found Brady Pierce for a touchdown strike, a catch Pierce made despite a call of pass interference against the defender. The touchdown tied the game with 1:35 left in the first half.
“Scoring before halftime was a big boost to our momentum,” Coleman said. “We just gave up a long touchdown drive, and we needed to score because they were going to get the ball first after halftime. Credit to our kids for their perseverance.”
Beech did find the end zone on their first possession of the second half, going 72 yards on just six plays, capped by a Darius Johnson 31-yard scamper.
On the ensuing drive, Summit drove to the Bucs’ 3-yard-line before Wade’s second fumble of the game resulted in a turnover. Coleman preached to his team about Beech taking advantage of their opponents’ mistakes, but the Summit defense rose to the occasion and forced a three-and-out.
Wade tied the game on a 2-yard run, but it was the Spartans’ defense that once again forced the hand of their opponent. On 2nd-and-1, Jesse Brimeyer recovered a fumble to give Summit the ball, and seven plays later, Wade hit Brandon King on third-and-23 for a touchdown to give Summit the lead. King caught the pass between his pinky fingers, and said after the game that he was wearing his practice gloves because the new pair was too big.
While King and Pierce both hauled in touchdown passes, it was Jolley who Wade targeted on the biggest of occasions. The pair hooked up on a third-and-12 to extend the aforementioned King touchdown drive, and then again for the game-winner. Jolley finished with six catches for a game-high 118 yards receiving.
“He was special tonight, making plays on defense and offense,” Wade said. “That last score, I didn’t think he was going to catch it, but he just surprises me every time he plays.”
Coleman said others have begun to take notice of “No. 2.”
“The last three games we’ve played, the opposing coach has said something about (Jolley),” Coleman said. “When you have other coaches commenting on him, you know he’s a heck of an athlete and a great player.”
Friday was Summit’s first win over Beech in school history, as the Bucs had previously held a 2-0 advantage in the series, both in the playoffs and both by one-score margins — 21-16 in the 2017 quarterfinals at Summit, 45-42 in triple overtime a year later at Beech.
“Every time we play them it’s a great football game,” Coleman said. “They made a big play early, they stopped us on the goal line. I’m so proud of these guys and the way they played.”
The Spartans now travel to Henry County the day after Thanksgiving for a state semifinal matchup with a berth in the 2020 BlueCross Bowl on the line.
Summit 36, Beech 29
at Shackle Island Stadium, Hendersonville
S 7 7 7 15 — 36
B 7 7 7 8 — 29
|S – Caleb Jolley 45 pass from Destin Wade (8:17) Ryan Crane kick|
|B – Tysean Johnson 64 pass from Xaviere Jones (7:59) Kevin Figueroa kick|
|B – Jefferson 19 run (2:57) Figueroa kick|
|S – Brady Pierce 24 pass from Wade (1:35) Crane kick|
|B – Darius Johnson 31 run (9:25) Figueroa kick|
|S – Wade 2 run (1:48) Crane kick|
|S – Brandon King 23 pass from Wade (9:31) Crane kick|
|B – Adrian Johnson 1 run (3:22) Jefferson run|
|S – Jolley 9 pass from Wade (0:27) Pierce pass from Wade|
|Summit – Destin Wade 29-194, Brandon King 6-23, John Dippold 4-13|
|Beech – Tysean Jefferson 26-162, Adrian Johnson 9-54, Darius Johnson 4-48, Xaviere Jones 1-0|
|Summit – Destin Wade 13-17-0 218|
|Beech – Xaviere Jones 4-8-0 98, Gage Stewart 0-1-0 0|
|Summit – Caleb Jolley 6-118, Brandon King 3-42, Brady Pierce 1-24, Konata Werts 2-22, Brady Hendrix 1-12|
|Beech – Tysean Jefferson 1-64, Andrew Paige 1-23, Jackson Long 1-8, Cameron McClanahan 1-3|