CHATTANOOGA – Destin Wade’s voice cracked with emotion as he talked about the last chapter in his run with Summit.
His career with the Spartans ended with a 43-26 loss to Oakland in the BlueCross Bowl at Finley Stadium on Saturday night.
“It’s really tough,” Destin said. “I felt like we could have pulled it out maybe a little bit, but they’re a great team and they deserve it. I loved it (at Summit.) I can’t say thank you enough to everybody who made it so special.”
Oakland (15-0) ended Summit’s 25-game winning streak as the Spartans (14-1) finished as state runner-up during their first season in Class 6A.
Destin rushed for 165 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries during his final game with Summit. The Kentucky commit and Mr. Football finalist also passed for 137 yards and one TD with one interception.
Oakland running back Jordan James earned MVP honors for the second straight year by rushing for 232 yards and two TDs on 27 carries.
The Patriots repeated as state champions with their 30th consecutive win.
“This is how everybody wants to go out,” said James, a Georgia commit and Mr. Football finalist. “I got love for everybody on that sideline, so I’ll remember them always. It’s win or go home literally, and I didn’t want to see those guys on the sideline crying and I didn’t want to cry myself, so I played my heart out.”
Oakland rambled for 508 yards in total offense. Kade Hewitt threw two TD passes and Antonio Patterson rushed for 107 yards and two TDs on 14 carries. Patterson also caught a 71-yard TD pass.
“Nobody can stop us when we all clicking and the scoreboard shows that,” James said.
Destin threw a 69-yard TD pass to Brady Pierce and the quarterback’s two-point conversion run cut the deficit to 35-26 with 10:05 left.
“I was telling coaches all game to throw it,” Pierce said. “I feel like the DBs even knew that it was coming, too, because they were telling me before the play, like, when that post route coming, so I just told them it had to come sooner or later.”
But Oakland answered with a 5-yard TD run by Patterson and a two-point conversion pass from Hewitt to James, increasing its lead to 43-26 with 4:03 remaining.
Dylan King intercepted Destin’s long pass at the Oakland 7 on the Spartans’ last possession to clinch the win.
Summit’s 26 seniors also finished runner-up in 5A in 2019 and won a state title last year.
“It’s quite a legacy and if anybody ever knew what they’ve gone through,” Summit coach Brian Coleman said. “I mean, we’ve gone through shoulders popping out, broken hands on our linemen. What these guys endured for their team, for their family, for this community is awesome.”
Pierce led Summit (14-1) with 15 tackles, but said he had to line up 10 yards off the line of scrimmage to contain Oakland receiver Isaiah Horton, a Miami commit.
That gave James extra running room, which he capitalized on.
The Spartans missed three extra points: one kick and a pair of two-point conversions.
Keaten Wade, Destin’s twin, rushed for 71 yards and one TD on nine carries in his final game with Summit. He's also a Kentucky commit and 6A Mr. Football finalist.
“We’ve been together since we were 5,” Keaten said. “We’re family. It’s been an amazing journey. I’m blessed to be in three BlueCross Bowls. I hate to see it come to an end like this. (Jordan) is an elusive back, power back also, hard to tackle and we just couldn’t get him to the ground.”
Summit got off to a good start when Keaten scored on a 17-yard TD run on the game’s first possession.
But Oakland scored on all four of its first-half possessions to take a 28-12 halftime lead.
“It’s definitely been the journey of a lifetime,” Spartans defensive end John Sloan said. “But all good things come to an end.”
Summit narrowed the deficit to 28-18 at the end of the third quarter.
James turned in an MVP performance despite an injured toe.
“He’s made out of the right stuff,” Patriots coach Kevin Creasy said. “He’s one of those guys you actually have to tell to slow down a little bit in practice because he goes hard every time. When the lights are the brightest, he performs the best.”
Oakland started platooning for the first time under Creasy during the COVID-19 pandemic, improving the Patriots’ depth.
“Our senior class has been part of three state championships,” said Creasy, whose team also won a title in 2018. “You don’t hear about that happening very often.”
Oakland went undefeated despite a difficult schedule.
“We played a state champion out of Mississippi, (Madison Ridgeland) – won it last year, won it again this year,” Creasy said. “Beat CPA, who won it last year, state runner-up this year. Beat Lipscomb Academy --- won it this year, state runner-up last year.
“Beat Summit, who won it last year, state runner-up this year. Beat South Pittsburg, who won it this year, state runner-up last year. So we went through the gauntlet.”
Trailing early didn’t rattle Oakland.
“We’ve been there before,” Creasy said. “Maryville did the same thing to us (in the semifinals) and we fought back and answered. We were down 10 to CPA and came back and won the game. We were down 14 to Lipscomb and came back and won, so our guys have been in tough games before.”
Summit trailed only twice all year during regular-season wins over Ravenwood and Henry County.
The Wade twins earned Creasy’s respect.
“The Wade twins are as good as advertised, if not better,” Creasy said. “I expect to see them on Sundays, not just Saturdays. I thought we had a great plan against them. It was all about getting some timely stops.”
The twins and the rest of the Summit seniors went 40-5 during the past three seasons.
“What a run and I’m so proud of them either way,” Coleman said.