HENDERSONVILLE -- After winning a Class 5A football state championship a year ago, Summit is within one victory of a 6A title following Friday’s 28-7 semifinal win at Hendersonville.
“It’s a huge accomplishment,” Spartans quarterback Destin Wade said regarding his team’s third consecutive trip to the finals, having fallen to Knoxville Central in the 2019 Class 5A championship game before defeating Oak Ridge a year ago. “Not a lot of people have done that.”
Wade had a huge hand in his team doing that, rushing for a pair of touchdowns after the Commandos forced a 7-7 first-period deadlock to give the visitors a 20-7 cushion at intermission that Hendersonville was ultimately unable to overcome.
“They’re a really great football team,” coach James Beasley said. “They outplayed us, outcoached us. I think we played hard, gave the effort we needed. They’ve got a great team.”
The hosts made a couple of statements early -- keeping Summit (14-0) out of the end zone on its opening possession with a goal-line stand that began with first-and-goal from the 6-yard line and ended with Destin Wade running for no gain on fourth-and-goal from the 1, then answering the Spartans’ initial score on a 54-yard Keaten Wade catch-and-run with Torin Baker’s 61-yard burst to tie the game at the 4:19 mark.
“With your scout team, you don’t really get the speed of it,” Summit coach Brian Coleman said regarding Hendersonville’s Wing-T offensive scheme. “I think once our defense got used to the speed, we settled in and cut out the big plays. But ‘25’ (Baker) and ‘10 (Ellis Ellis) are pretty good.
“They’re resilient. Nothing really gets to them. When they get down, they focus a little more. You just have to get a feel for the game. We adjusted well enough.”
Defensively, Hendersonville (10-4) got a healthy dose of Keaten Wade all night, as he rushed for a team-high 135 yards in addition to the early scoring catch.
“The o-line was opening holes and imposing their will. They really make it easy,” said Wade, who was also pivotal in helping slow the Commando attack as the hosts finished with 271 offensive yards.
“We knew we had to stop the run and limit their big plays, which we did after the one run. We handled adversity well.”
A couple of Destin Wade 1-yard touchdown runs -- one set up by a Finley Jameson strip sack with Maddox Reed recovering the fumble -- and a Summit stop inside the 10 gave the visitors a two-score lead at halftime, and Brady Pierce’s 45-yard catch converted a third down to set up his 5-yard TD run early in the final period.
“We made plays when we had to,” Coleman said.
With the victory, Summit will put its 25-game win streak on the line in the Class 6A state finals on Dec. 4 against defending 6A titlist Oakland in a battle of unbeatens. The Patriots defeated host Maryville 24-14 in the other semifinal.
“They’re a tough team. They’ve got some great players,” Destin Wade said. “But we’re not scared, not nervous. We’re ready for a great game.”
Summit 28, Hendersonville 7
S 7 13 0 8 -- 28
H 7 0 0 0 -- 7
S -- Keaten Wade 54 pass from Destin Wade (4:38), Ryan Crane kick
H -- Torin Baker 61 run (4:19), Thomas Matchell kick
S -- D. Wade 1 run (9:22), Crane kick
S -- D. Wade 1 run (4:52), kick blocked
S -- Brady Pierce 5 run (9:38), K. Wade pass from D. Wade
First downs 10 15
Rushes-yards 31-276 44-226
Passing yards 105 45
Comps-Atts-Ints 3-7-0 9-19-1
Penalties-yards 4-20 3-35
Fumbles-lost 0-0 1-1
Summit -- Dominick Hollis 2-7, Destin Wade 12-121, Brady Pierce 5-13, Keaten Wade 12-135
Hendersonville -- Luke Manning 4-(-15), Stevin Mack 9-39, Noah Carmean 5-13, Torin Baker 17-172, Mason Baker 1-(-10), Ellis Ellis 8-27
Summit -- Destin Wade 3-7-0 105
Hendersonville -- Luke Manning 9-18-0 45, Torin Baker 0-1-1 0
Summit -- Brady Pierce 2-51, Keaten Wade 1-54
Hendersonville -- Brice Howden 1-4, Torin Baker 1-1, Jameson Wharton 2-20, Ellis Ellis 2-6, Jack Busey 3-14