Category Archives: High School Football

Summit signalcaller Wade saves his best efforts for last

By Maurice Patton

Winners of the 2020 TSSAA Tennessee Titans Mr. Football awards were decided prior to postseason play.

So Destin Wade’s playoff performance won’t figure into his chances to walk away with that hardware at the Dec. 8 luncheon.

But there’s no doubt his efforts have played a massive role in Summit’s return to the Class 5A state championship game, and will have a say in whether the Spartans conclude that second straight appearance with a crown during this weekend’s BlueCross Bowl contest against Oak Ridge.

“He’s definitely one of those kids that, as a coach, you might get the opportunity to coach once,” said Henry County’s James Counce Jr., the most recent coach to watch Wade end his team’s season. “You might, if you’re lucky, you might get to coach a guy like that sometime in your career.

“He’s special.”

Since the calendar turned to November, the junior signalcaller has put up numbers that make his regular season look relatively pedestrian, even as he paced the 2019 state runners-up to a 9-1 campaign that included four ‘COVID’ wins.

In victories over Hillwood (42-6), Region 5-5A rival Columbia Central (28-14), Beech (36-29) and Henry County (35-21) – the last two on the road – Wade has accounted for 1,258 offensive yards and 16 total touchdowns. He’s gained 72 percent of the team’s total offense and all but five of the Spartans’ TDs.

RushingPassingPass TDs/intsTotal yardsTeam yards
vs. Hillwood (42-6)3-44-15-8-853/0129401
vs. Columbia Central (28-14)26-242-37-12-811/0323389
at Beech (36-29)29-194-113-17- 2184/0412448
at Henry Co. (35-21)24-221-26-9-1731/0394507
Playoff totals82-701-731-46- 5579/012581745

“He’s definitely a guy that they could probably be OK without, but they’re really danged good when they’ve got him. He is a difference maker,” said Counce, whose team led 14-7 early in the third quarter of their semifinal matchup Friday before Wade led a 28-point second-half outburst by throwing for a game-tying score and running for two in the final eight minutes.

Wade, the only Class 5A Mr. Football finalist still playing – Knoxville Central’s Kalib Fortner and David Crockett’s Prince Kollie are the other two candidates – accounted for just three scores in Summit’s most recent victory, after running and passing for at least four in each of the Spartans’ three earlier wins. He had a hand in all five touchdowns while rallying his squad for a 36-29 quarterfinal triumph at Beech.

“The first thing you notice when you come out there is his size,” Hillwood coach Tom Moore said of the 6-4, 205-pounder. “You can’t tell on film how big he is. He’s a huge kid. Then the second thing is how well he runs, how well he moves. He’s got good lateral movement, he can accelerate. You think you’ve got an angle on him, and he’s past you and he’s gone. We said he’s like a Cam Newton out there.

“You’re certainly concerned with him dropping back and passing, throwing the ball, but we were more concerned with him running the ball. You’ve almost got to ‘spy’ a linebacker or a safety when he drops back to pass.”

Through 10 games — six regular-season contests and four playoff matchups — Summit junior Destin Wade has compiled 2,684 offensive yards and 34 total touchdowns. The Spartans and their Class 5A Mr. Football finalist will face Oak Ridge in Friday’s state championship game at Tennessee Tech. (Photo by Sarah Yow / SM-Tn Sports)

He’s been dangerous in both facets offensively – throwing for 557 postseason yards with nine touchdowns (and no interceptions), while rushing for 194 or more yards in each of his last three outings.

“I’d say he seemed more hungry in the playoffs,” Central coach Jason Hoath said after Wade rushed for 242 yards (seven short of his season high, set in the opener at Independence) three scores during Summit’s second-round victory. “Not that he wasn’t in the regular season, but you could tell he was definitely kicking it up a notch in the playoffs.

“He’s had a heck of a season. The fact that he’s a true dual-threat quarterback – it’s a lot more difficult when you have to defend all 11 guys as opposed to 10, when your quarterback is a running threat. He’ll definitely play a big role; he’ll be the key to their offense. They’re fundamentally sound. They’re going to play ‘responsibility’ football, they’re not going to make a whole lot of mistakes. They’ve got a group of guys that play well as a team and rely on each other. You add an elite athlete on top of that? That’s a good combination.”

Coming behind a regular season that saw him compile 713 rushing yards, 713 passing yards and 18 total TDs in parts of six games, Wade’s fall-long performance has undoubtedly earned the attention of Joe Gaddis and the Oak Ridge coaching staff in preparation for Friday’s 7 p.m. game at Tennessee Tech’s Tucker Stadium.

“He’s a great athlete, a great football player,” Gaddis said. “He’s a great running threat and passing threat. To watch him throw all the passes he throws, with accuracy – he’s special, a great quarterback.”

Maurice Patton is the editor for Southern Middle Tennessee Sports. E-mail: mopattonsports@gmail.com; Twitter: @mopatton_sports.

2020 Gridiron stat leaders

Rushing
(games, attempts, yards, average, TDs)

Destin Wade, Summit 10 151-1414 9.4 16
#Luke Perko, Zion Chr. 10 153-822 5.4 7
#Jaxson Campbell, Independence 10 116-721 6.2 14
#Austin Seals, Richland 8 106-720 6.8 5
#Tre Hartwell, Independence 8 101-666 6.6 7
#Sam Edwards, Richland 9 118-603 5.1 8
#Zavier Davidson, Mt. Pleasant 9 105-582 5.5 7
#Javen Edmiston, Summertown 8 105-568 5.4 6
Brandon King, Summit 10 65-526 8.1 2
#Christian Biggers, Columbia Central 9 131-510 3.9 2

Passing
(games, completions, attempts, yards, TDs, interceptions)

#Jaxson Campbell, Independence 10 132-214-1976 20/2
#Luke Perko, Zion Chr. 10 101-200-1432 22/6
#Brady McCanless, Columbia Central 11 121-216-1430 11/12
Destin Wade, Summit 10 75-120-1270 18/5
#Luka Boylan, Spring Hill 8 70-153-788 5/7
#Colton Shaffer, Summertown 8 47-100-557 5/6
#Sam Edwards, Richland 9 60-115-523 4/9
#Bryant Beranek, Columbia Acad. 6 29-72-372 3/9
#Te’Varius Strayhorn 8 33-66-357 2/4

Receiving
(games, receptions, yards, average, TDs)

#Calvin Wilson, Independence 10 28-640 22.9 9
#Steven Kinnard, Columbia Central 12 42-608 14.5 4
#Ty Lockwood, Independence 10 45-605 13.4 3
#Sam Sullivan, Zion Chr. 10 27-423 15.7 8
Brady Pierce, Summit 10 19-416 21.9 7
#Collins Malone, Columbia Acad. 7 22-365 16.6 3
#Davis Duffy, Zion Chr. 10 21-356 17.0 5
#Justin Buchmann, Columbia Central 9 29-339 11.7 2
#Max Brown, Zion Chr. 10 14-327 23.4 6
#Tyler Kondra, Independence 9 20-298 14.9 2

# season complete

Wade carries Spartans into Bluecross Bowl

By Chris Yow

PARIS, Tenn. — When the chips are down, Summit typically turns to quarterback Destin Wade to cash them in, and rarely does the junior Mr. Football finalist disappoint.

On Friday night, Wade put Henry County defenders — literally — and his teammates — figuratively — on his back, putting up 394 all-purpose yards and accounting for three touchdowns in his team’s 35-21 semifinal win over the Patriots, sending the Spartans to a second consecutive BlueCross Bowl, set for Dec. 4.

Summit (13-1) opened the game with a 66-yard touchdown run on the game’s first play from scrimmage. Wade handed the ball to Brandon King, who went around the right end and left the Patriots defense behind to give the Spartans an early 7-0 lead. From there, however, they struggled to finish drives, failing to convert a pair of fourth downs inside the 10-yard-line. 

“We didn’t finish, and we’ve got to clean that up,” Summit coach Brian Coleman said. “They were packing the box, we went under center and didn’t get it.”

Defensively, Summit held the Patriots at bay for much of the first half until a third-and-9 screen pass went for 61 yards to put the Patriots in the red zone for the first time since a missed field goal attempt on their first drive of the game. Jermarcus Johnson then ran three times for 20 yards, including a 3-yard score with 31 seconds left in the first half to tie the game.

“A couple of big plays, we can’t let that happen, but we’re resilient,” Coleman said.

Summit held Henry County’s top rusher, Johnson to just 94 yards on 26 carries, an average of 3.6 yards per carry. Part of the reason was the return of Keaten Wade. Defensive end Tre Hunter said the confidence in his teammates to make plays after he sets the edge is high.

“I know our linebackers are going to make the play if I turn them back in,” Hunter said. “And I love having Keaten (Wade) back. He’s another big body to help us stop up the line. I wish we’d had him all year, but we got him at the most important time.”

After surrendering 264 yards on the ground last week, Summit’s rush defense was stellar on Friday. The Patriots ran for just 86 yards, but found success through the air as quarterback Ryan Damron and receiver Jawon Odoms — the latter a Memphis commit — connected 10 times for 202 yards, 117 of which came on two plays. The pair hooked up for a 66-yard touchdown on the Patriots’ first drive of the third quarter to give their team a 14-7 lead, but it was short-lived.

On the first play of the ensuing drive, Wade tossed a short pass to Brady Pierce at the line of scrimmage, and 76 yards later, Pierce pulled his team back even. 

“I told Destin I was going to take it when he called the play,” Pierce said. “I didn’t think I was going to score, but he was giving me space and kept backing up. I was able to get into the open field and break a tackle.”

Summit forced a punt on Henry County’s next drive, and Destin Wade ran for 47 yards and completed a second-and-11 pass to Caleb Jolley to set up a Pierce 33-yard scamper to pay dirt, putting the Spartans back in front for good.

Wade put the icing on the cake with a pair of fourth quarter touchdown runs for Summit.

“The spread is working,” Coleman said. “We just let him do his thing, and he’s protecting the football. He’s throwing it well, running it well. That’s the game plan going forward.”

Summit returns to Cookeville for a second straight championship game appearance, and this time a ‘hungry’ group of Spartans are treating it like a business trip.

“We had a celebration right here tonight, but these kids aren’t finished,” Coleman said. “Coming here, this isn’t an easy trip to come in and win with all the bells and whistles they’ve got going on. It’s a different feel right now, and we’ll approach it a little different this week than last year.”

Summit 35, Henry Co. 21
at Bill Hudson Field at Patriot Stadium

S 7 0 13 15 — 35
HC 0 7 7 7 — 21

SCORING SUMMARY
FIRST QUARTER
S – Brandon King 66 run (11:42) Ryan Crane kick
SECOND QUARTER
HC – Jermarcus Johnson 3 run (0:31) Darrius Stephens kick
THIRD QUARTER
HC – Jawon Odoms 66 pass from Ryan Damron (9:23) Stephens kick
S – Brady Pierce 76 pass from Destin Wade (8:30) Crane kick
S – Pierce 33 run (1:31) Crane kick
FOURTH QUARTER
S – Wade 1 run (7:49) Wade run
HC – Johnson 7 run (6:28) Stephens kick
S – Wade 53 run (0:38) Crane kick
TEAM STATISTICSSHC
First Downs1918
Rushes-Yards34-34433-86
Passing Yards173309
Comps-Atts-Ints6-9-016-26-0
Penalties-Yards5-606-60
Fumbles-Lost0-01-0
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING
Summit – Destin Wade 24-221, Brandon King 6-70, Brady Pierce 2-40, Konata Werts 1-4, John Dippold 1-(-1)
Henry Co. – Jermarcus Johnson 26-94, Jayden Kendall 3-9, Ryan Damron 4-(-17)
PASSING
Summit – Destin Wade 6-9-0 173
Henry Co. – Ryan Damron 16-26-0 309
RECEIVING
Summit – Brady Pierce 2-89, Caleb Jolley 2-56, Zac Switzer 2-28
Henry Co. – Jawon Odoms 10-202, Sanchez Aldridge 1-61, Jayce Kendall 4-31, Damian Rushing 1-15

Jolley, Pierce serve as dual threats for state finalists

By Maurice Patton

PARIS, Tenn. – Summit coach Brian Coleman would be hard-pressed to decide which side of the ball he and his Spartans coaching staff would limit Brady Pierce and Caleb Jolley to, if forced to do so.

It doesn’t seem they’ll have to, and that’s a good thing.

Jolley, a senior receiver/defensive end, and Pierce, a junior receiver/safety, continue to come up with big plays both offensively and defensively – pacing their team into a second straight Class 5A state championship game with Friday’s 35-21 semifinal victory at Henry County.

The win sends the Spartans (13-1) into their second consecutive title game. Summit will face Oak Ridge, a 14-0 semifinal winner over South-Doyle, at 7 p.m. on Dec. 4 at Tennessee Tech’s Tucker Stadium in Cookeville.

“We try not to wear them out offensively. We know they need to be on defense,” Coleman said after the two combined for 185 rushing and receiving yards and two touchdowns on six touches. “I guess we’re picking and choosing our spots.”

Summit’s Brady Pierce (13) and Caleb Jolley (right) team for a tackle during Friday’s Class 5A state semifinal clash with host Henry County. The two combined for 185 rushing and receiving yards, with Pierce scoring twice, during the Spartans’ 35-21 victory. (Photo by Sarah Yow / SM-Tn Sports)

The spots were pretty timely.

All four of Pierce’s offensive touches came in the second half – including a 76-yard touchdown catch-and-run less than a minute after the Patriots took a 14-7 lead at the 9:23 mark of the third quarter, and a 33-yard jet sweep that put Summit ahead 20-14 with 1:31 remaining in the period.

“I felt like, as a team, we weren’t pushing the ball offensively in the first half like we usually do,” Jolley said. “In the second half, we flipped a switch.”

Jolley’s two receptions – a 30-yarder in the second quarter and a 26-yarder in the third period – each went for first downs, with the initial reception converting a third-and-18 from the Summit 22-yard line. His second catch, for 26 yards, set up Pierce’s scoring run.

“They were clogging the inside, so we got a ‘jet’ and got (Pierce) on the outside,” Coleman said. “Jolley, he’s been making plays and making people miss.”

Pierce added a 13-yard fourth-quarter reception that led to a Destin Wade scoring run and a 28-14 cushion with 7:49 to play, and his 7-yard rush with less than two minutes converted a third down that virtually sealed the victory as Wade broke loose for the final 53-yard score two snaps later.

“It’s a little tiring, but I figure they put me there for a reason,” Pierce said regarding his dual roles.

Offensively, the two were vital in an attack that saw Summit roll up 507 offensive yards. Defensively, they helped hold Henry County running back Jermarcus Johnson to 94 rushing yards — about two-thirds of his per-game average — on 26 carries.

Though a handful of other Spartans see action on both offense and defense, few do so to the extent that Jolley and Pierce do.

“Brady’s a heck of a free safety,” Coleman said. “As many plays as he makes on offense, I’d have to say defense. Jolley, too, especially with Keaten (Wade) back. With him on that other end, that’s pretty tough.

“They’re players on both sides of the ball, for sure.”

Maurice Patton is the editor for Southern Middle Tennessee Sports. E-mail: mopattonsports@gmail.com; Twitter: @mopatton_sports.

Mostradamus speaks: Playoff semifinal predictions

Summit beat Beech.

Beech beat Henry County.

So … ?

It probably will not be as simple as that when the Spartans travel to Paris for Friday’s Class 5A state semifinal contest, but the fact that they’ve already gone on the road and claimed a postseason victory against a battle-tested squad should be a check in their favor on the weekend’s checklist.

Past that, Summit – the only 5A semifinalist from last year’s ‘Final Four’ – hasn’t lost since dropping a 27-20 decision in Week 4 to eventual Class 6A quarterfinalist Franklin. The Spartans (12-1) take a five-game (on-field) winning streak into the semis, along with four ‘COVID wins’ that disrupted the second half of their schedule.

The down time hasn’t seemed to have much of an adverse effect, as Summit’s three playoff wins have come by an average of 19 points.

Henry County, meanwhile, hasn’t lost over that time frame either. In addition to that 21-14 Week 2 loss to Beech (at Milan), the Patriots (10-2) fell two weeks later at Class 6A semifinalist Brentwood by a 55-17 deficit. From there, though, they’ve posted eight straight victories and done so in impressive fashion, by an average margin of 44.3 points.

An offense that centers around senior RB Jermarcus Johnson (1,687 yards, 25 TDs) and sophomore QB Ryan Damron (1,351 passing yards, 15 TDs) has done the bulk of that damage, with sophomore RB Zamaryion Kendall chipping in 487 rushing yards and 14 TDs.

Still, Henry County’s success includes wins over six teams that finished at or below .500, compared to five for the Spartans.

Led by Mr. Football finalist Destin Wade, Summit’s offensive versatility has made them a tough out and should continue to do so. After rushing for 624 yards and passing for 166 in postseason wins over Hillwood and Columbia Central, the Spartans opened up the air game and threw for 218 yards – and four touchdowns – along with 230 rushing yards in the Beech victory.

Meanwhile, a defense sparked by DEs Tre Hunter and Caleb Jolley and CB Konata Werts stands to get a lift from LB Keaten Wade, who has played in just one game this season because of a foot injury but is expected to see time Friday.

It all points to Summit slipping past Henry County and making a return trip to Cookeville.

Mostradamus’ pick: Summit 34, Henry Co. 26.

Also (home team in bold):
Oakland over Maryville
Brentwood over Bartlett
Oak Ridge over South-Doyle
Elizabethton over Nolensville
Haywood over Lexington
Alcoa over Red Bank
Pearl-Cohn over Milan
Trousdale Co. over Meigs Co.
Peabody over Waverly
South Pittsburg over Coalfield
Fayetteville over Lake Co.

Last week: 3-2 (.600)
Season: 75-26 (.743)

2020 Gridiron stat leaders

Rushing
(games, attempts, yards, average, TDs)

Destin Wade, Summit 9 127-1193 9.4 14
#Luke Perko, Zion Chr. 10 153-822 5.4 7
#Jaxson Campbell, Independence 10 116-721 6.2 14
#Austin Seals, Richland 8 106-720 6.8 5
#Tre Hartwell, Independence 8 101-666 6.6 7
#Sam Edwards, Richland 9 118-603 5.1 8
#Zavier Davidson, Mt. Pleasant 9 105-582 5.5 7
#Javen Edmiston, Summertown 8 105-568 5.4 6
#Christian Biggers, Columbia Central 9 131-510 3.9 2
Brandon King, Summit 9 59-456 7.7 1

Passing
(games, completions, attempts, yards, TDs, interceptions)

#Jaxson Campbell, Independence 10 132-214-1976 20/2
#Luke Perko, Zion Chr. 10 101-200-1432 22/6
#Brady McCanless, Columbia Central 11 121-216-1430 11/12
Destin Wade, Summit 9 69-111-1097 17/5
#Luka Boylan, Spring Hill 8 70-153-788 5/7
#Colton Shaffer, Summertown 8 47-100-557 5/6
#Sam Edwards, Richland 9 60-115-523 4/9
#Bryant Beranek, Columbia Acad. 6 29-72-372 3/9
#Te’Varius Strayhorn 8 33-66-357 2/4

Receiving
(games, receptions, yards, average, TDs)

#Calvin Wilson, Independence 10 28-640 22.9 9
#Steven Kinnard, Columbia Central 12 42-608 14.5 4
#Ty Lockwood, Independence 10 45-605 13.4 3
#Sam Sullivan, Zion Chr. 10 27 423 15.7 8
#Collins Malone, Columbia Acad. 7 22-365 16.6 3
#Davis Duffy, Zion Chr. 10 21-356 17.0 5
#Justin Buchmann, Columbia Central 9 29-339 11.7 2
#Max Brown, Zion Chr. 10 14-327 23.4 6
Brady Pierce, Summit 9 17-327 19.2 6
#Tyler Kondra, Independence 9 20-298 14.9 2

# season complete