By Chris Yow
Since the school’s inception in 2011 and even after four consecutive playoff appearances, the Summit Spartans always felt like the underdog. That tag is gone following a trip to the BlueCross Bowl in 2019, and coach Brian Coleman believes his team is taking it in stride.
“We have to understand we’re in a different position than we’ve ever been. Our kids are working hard because they know what’s coming,” he said. “They know we can’t have any bad games because we are going to get everyone’s best game.”
Without question, the Spartans will lean on twin brothers Destin and Keaten Wade in 2020. The pair were the driving force behind the Summit offense explosion, which transitioned from the Wing-T to a shotgun spread offense.
Keaten rushed for 1,152 yards on 164 carries and had 18 total touchdowns. He had 103 tackles with 22.5 for loss with 11.5 sacks on defense. Destin, a 6-3, 205-pound quarterback for Summit, who was 87-of-164 passing for 1,341 yards with 17 touchdowns in 2019. He also rushed for 727 yards and had 10 rushing TDs.
While Summit suffered a pair of region losses last season against Page and Shelbyville, but exacted revenge against both teams in the playoffs. That mentality is something Coleman hopes his team plays with throughout the season, despite coming into this season the favorite to win the division.
The next step would be for the Spartans to regain the region title they captured in 2018, and reach the BlueCross Bowl once again, only this time come home with a different shade of hardware. In order to find themselves in that position again, the Spartans will need some help around Destin and Keaten.
Returning 11 total starters, five on offense and six on defense, the Spartans are expecting to see players who played in the background the last couple of seasons have more impact, such as middle linebacker Gavin Wells. Wells played a high number of snaps last season, but was behind Jaylen Herrud. Coleman expects Wells, along with a number of other players like him to step into their roles and fill them well.
“We tell all of those kids who are playing their role that it’s important to remember that it’s important to our success that they play well,” Coleman said. “When it’s their turn to be the man, they can step into that role and play it well.”
Coleman said he expects Tre Hunter, Jakalean Cotton and newcomer John Randall Dippold to play big roles and take the pressure off the Wade brothers. Hunter and Cotton both saw limited carries last season, but Coleman said he expects those numbers to increase throughout the 2020 season.
“I am definitely going to be leaning on some guys we didn’t lean on last year,” Coleman said. “It’s important to make sure we don’t put too much pressure or load down one or two players. Everybody has to step up and do their part if we’re going to take the next step.”