Sometimes, the ball just doesn't bounce your way. 

A fourth-quarter punt for 62 yards from Knoxville Central, one that looked to stop much earlier than that but got a lucky hop-and-roll for a good 20-25 yards, embodied the night the Summit Spartans had in their first state title game against Knoxville Central. 

It was a valiant effort for Summit, but it wasn't quite enough to bring the gold ball home to Spring Hill. 

The defending Class 5A state champs soared out to a 24-0 lead ahead of the Spartans at half and never looked back as they took home another gold ball 30-7 in Friday night's 5A title game at Tennessee Tech. 

"It was a long road, it was a tough grind," Spartans head coach Brian Coleman said of the storybook season that ended on a bittersweet note. 

Summit (12-3) erupted on the playoff stage, winning three-straight road games against Gallatin, Page and Shelbyville Central before heading home and taking down Dyer Co. to punch the school's first ticket to the BlueCross Bowl. 

But Knox Central had the experience Summit just couldn't lean on when the state game got going. 

It was scoreless until Bobcat Isaiah Osborne reeled in a pass from quarterback Dakota Fawver to get on the board 7-0 midway through the first. 

Summit QB Destin Wade tried to get the Spartans going on offense but just missed George Odimegwu on a deep pass and was picked. 

The Bobcats got into the red zone again and cashed in on a Jason Merritts touchdown early in the second to go up 14-0. 

But in typical Destin Wade fashion, he responded after with a 54-yard rush across midfield to put the Spartans in position to cut down the deficit. 

But Wade threw a fade just too deep enough for the Bobcats' Braden Gaston to pull down the pick, his second of the night. 

Right after, it was Gaston who pulled down a 40-yard pass from Fawver to get the 21-0 deficit. 

Summit tried to mount a drive before halftime was over but fumbled just past the 50-yard line. A 35-yard Jarred Swislosky FG for Knox Central put the Bobcats ahead 24-0 just before the horn at break. 

Coleman said he feels the team missed some opportunities in the red zone that didn't help their cause during the game. 

"I think that was probably the difference," he said. "[Knox Catholic] is very good. They're very good defensively. They've been here before, and it shows." 

The Spartans fired back with a Destin Wade rushing TD in the third quarter but it wasn't nearly enough as the Spartans saw another drive come up short down low toward the top of the fourth quarter. 

"[We] just kind of calmed down a little bit," Coleman said of the second-half performance, which saw the Summit defense hold the Bobcats to just 6 points. He cited a few big catches from George Odimegwu and John Casey as highlights in the game's latter portion. 

"We just need to cash in on that a little more," the coach added about the sparks of second half momentum. 

Most of the final stanza was a few exchanges of possessions, with the Bobcats getting a late score from Merritt to take the 30-7 lead with 6:03 to go. 

They'd hold that score until the clock hit zero. 

Wade threw for 127 yards and rushed for 67 in the game, while his brother Keaten Wade rushed for 65. In his last game with Summit, Odimegwu hauled in 69 yards on two passes. 

"We've got to start out fast and tough," Destin Wade said of the lessons learned from Friday's game. "[We] can't take anything for granted. We've got to work harder in the offseason and get back here the next two years." 

The Spartans finish a banner year for the program that included their first quarterfinal and semifinal victories. 

It's a group that will also send off a handful of Spartans to future pursuits, including impact guys like Odimegwu, Kiston Arnold and Jaylen Herrud, among others. 

"Great character kids," Coleman said of the departing seniors. "They're kids you want to be around, kids you want to coach...We wanted to win just to have another week with them, just love being around them."

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.