Somebody’s winning streak will end at the BlueCross Bowl on Saturday night.
Summit enters the Class 6A final at Finley Stadium in Chattanooga with a 25-game winning streak and Oakland has won 29 consecutive games.
The Spartans’ last loss was a 27-20 defeat to Franklin in September of 2020 and the Patriots haven’t been beat since a 12-0 setback at Maryville in the 2019 semifinals.
“Oakland is a great football team,” Summit coach Brian Coleman said. “It’s going to be a big task, but we’re excited about the opportunity to play them.”
Both teams are 14-0 defending state champions who run the wing-T offense, although Coleman calls his the sling-T since the Spartans pass more out of the run-oriented offense more than most schools that use that system.
Oakland won the 6A championship last season while Summit took the 5A title before moving up to the state’s largest enrollment classification this year.
Both teams boast exceptional playmakers who have committed to major colleges in the South.
Summit’s twins, Destin and Keaten Wade, are bound for Kentucky.
Oakland running back Jordan James committed to Georgia and wide receiver Isaiah Horton is headed to Miami.
The Wades and James are Titans Mr. Football finalists.
Destin (6-3, 215) leads the Spartans with 2,144 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns. He’s passed for 1,299 yards and 17 TDs with one interception and a 60.7 completion percentage.
“All my teammates are excited and not nervous, really,” Destin said. “Just ready to play and get out there.”
Moving the ball against Oakland’s defense won’t be easy.
“They’ve got quick, fast guys that can play all around,” Destin said. “Yeah, it’s going to be a good challenge, for sure.”
Destin broke into the starting lineup during the third game of his freshman year.
Summit lost to Beech 45-42 in triple overtime in the first round that season.
“I think his biggest strides were from his sophomore to his junior year,” Coleman said. “He got a whole lot better. You put the highlight film on and this young man can do it all.”
Coleman describes his senior captain as a quiet leader.
Keaten (6-4, 223) has 79 tackles, eight sacks, six fumble recoveries and five forced fumbles as a linebacker.
“As far as a defensive player goes, I think he’s just so unique because he can rush off the edge with his hand on the ground like a defensive end or play coverage,” Coleman said. “So I think that’s why the colleges really like his versatility. Just a playmaker on both sides of the ball for us now.”
Keaten has 547 rushing yards and six TDs as a running back in addition to nine receptions for 152 yards and three TDs.
He has blossomed as a senior after a foot injury hampered his junior season in 2020.
“The bad part is there’s two of them, like the dynamic duo,” Patriots coach Kevin Creasy said of the twins. “A lot of times we play one on a team, but you have a hard time finding two guys as good as they are on the same team. It’s definitely double the trouble, that’s for sure.”
Containing the twins will be difficult.
“Nobody has stopped them yet,” Creasy said. “I don’t know that anybody’s stopped them in three years and they’re a big part of the reason they’re going back to the state championship.”
James (5-10, 205) has rushed for 1,421 yards and 22 TDs.
“We have a lot of concerns about him,” Coleman said. “I guess just the main thing is limiting big plays. They’re going to get yardage. We need to tighten down in the red zone.”
James played at Brentwood Academy during his freshman year before transferring to Oakland.
Horton (6-3, 190) leads the Patriots with 39 catches for 714 yards and seven TDs.
Oakland is making its third trip to the finals in four years, including a state championship in 2018.
Summit is making its third straight appearance in the state finals, including a 5A runner-up finish in 2019.
Four other players to watch: Summit’s Brady Pierce and Finley Jameson and Oakland’s Antonio Patterson and Kade Hewitt.
Pierce is the Spartans’ leading receiver (32 catches, 738 yards, 11 TDs) and tackler (92) as a safety.
A linebacker, Jameson is Summit’s second-leading tackler (88).
Patterson is Oakland’s second-leading rusher (928 yards, 15 TDs).
Hewitt has passed for 1,263 yards and 16 TDs.
Summit owns a 28-8 advantage in turnovers.
Hendersonville is the only team that’s played both Summit and Oakland this season.
Oakland hammered Hendersonville 42-7 in the season opener and Summit beat Hendersonville 28-7 in last week’s semifinals.
So Oakland scored 14 more points against Hendersonville than Summit, but Commandos coach James Beasley cautions against concluding that the Patriots are two touchdowns better than the Spartans.
“It was so early in the year, it’s the first game back on Aug. 20 when we played Oakland,” Beasley said. “You kind of don’t know what you got at that point so you’re trying to figure some things out. I think we had a snap over our punter’s head that gave Oakland the ball on, like, the 2-yard line.”
Right after that, Hendersonville threw a pick-six. The Commandos didn’t make those type of mistakes against Summit.
Beasley believes it will be an intriguing matchup.
“Probably the two best teams in the state, to be honest,” Beasley said. “With the playmakers that Summit has obviously with the twins, they’re going to be in every game they play in. But Oakland’s pretty deep and has got players all over the place.”
Beasley believes Oakland might have an edge on the defensive line, but he was really impressed by Summit’s linebackers and secondary.
“We had several plays against Summit the other night against most teams we’re taking for 50-yard, 60-yard touchdowns – instead, it’s turning into a 7-, 8-yard run,” Beasley said. “They’re both really good.”
The Commandos coach gives Oakland a slight advantage on the offensive line.
“I’m not going to pick one or the other,” Beasley said. “Both got us at our place, which ain’t easy to do. It ought to be a good game.”