The Summit Spartans captured a first-ever 5A state title appearance at home Friday night, winning over the Dyer County Choctaws 27-20 in the semifinals round.
“It is pretty exciting, and I am happy for this school,” said Summit head coach Brian Coleman. “We’ve got a lot of alumni guys that have laid the foundation here.”
The game was a back and forth battle with the Spartans capitalizing first on offense with an eight-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Destin Wade to senior wide receiver George Odimegwu with 54 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Choctaws tied the score at 7 with a one yard touchdown run from senior running back Laquinton Wells.
Later in the quarter, Wade connected on another touchdown pass to Odimegwu for 20 yards to give Summit the lead 14-7.
“We just watched film on them earlier in the week and knew they played man (defense),” said Spartan quarterback Destin Wade. “We were trying to beat them on their coverage. George made a good adjustment on his route to get open.”
Dyer County answered the score with 2:22 remaining in the second quarter on a nine-yard touchdown run by Wells to tie the game at 14 going into halftime.
Early in the third quarter, sophomore running back Keaten Wade went long distance with an electric rushing touchdown starting from his own 20-yard line to put the Spartans back on top 21-14.
A little later in the third quarter, Dyer County answered with a touchdown catch from senior Christian Rhines. The Choctaws missed the extra point as the Spartans held on to a 21-20 lead.
Dyer County fumbled the ball with 9:26 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Summit took advantage eleven seconds later, when Keaten Wade turned on the jets with his second score of the game from 29 yards out to give the Spartans a 27-20 lead. Summit’s extra point was blocked to keep the deficit at seven.
“I just feel like I have a connection with him (Keaten) on the field,” said Destin Wade. “He has my back, and I have his.”
The stout defense of the Spartans forced an interception late in the fourth quarter by junior linebacker Gavin Wells, and Summit held on to win 27-20.
“They clawed and scratched,” said Coach Coleman. “That is what our defense is all about.”
Summit will take on Knoxville Central next Friday at 7 p.m. on the campus of Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville.
The winner will be 5A state champions.
“It means a lot,” said Destin Wade of making the state game. “I just want to thank the fans for coming out. I am excited to get there and make history.”