A smile flashed across the calm and collected face of Summit quarterback Destin Wade as the final horn sounded, realizing he and his team would get the privilege of practicing Thanksgiving morning.
The Spartans punched their ticket back to the Class 5A semifinals with a thrilling 36-29 victory over the home-standing Beech Buccaneers Friday night.
Wade, a Class 5A Mr. Football Finalist, accounted for 412 total yards in the victory, throwing for 218 and rushing for 194 more — he accounted for all five Summit touchdowns.
“This is a special feeling and really cool to be a part of,” Wade said. “Not many teams get the opportunity to practice on Thanksgiving — it’s special.”
An Adrian Johnson one-yard plunge for a touchdown, followed by a Tysean Jefferson two-point conversion with 3:21 left in the game pushed Beech out in front 29-28, but the quick-striking Spartan offense took full advantage of the time left by the Bucs.
Wade drove the Spartans on an eight-play, 72-yard drive before finding Caleb Jolley for a 9-yard touchdown with 27 seconds remaining — it was Jolley’s second touchdown reception of the night. Wade then found Graham Schnieder for the two-point conversion to push the Spartans back in front by seven.
“(Wade) is a good football player; a big kid who runs hard, throws well and gives defenses problems,” Beech head coach Anthony Crabtree said. “He made plays tonight that were the difference in the ball game.”
Wide receiver Jolley finished with a game-high six receptions for 118 yards and two scores, including a 45-yard touchdown on the Spartans’ first drive of the game.
Four other receivers — Brandon King, Brady Pierce, Konata Werts and Brady Hendrix — finished with a combined seven catches for 100 yards and two touchdowns.
“I have so much faith in our receivers,” Wade said. “We’ve been working on our routes all week and it paid off tonight. They are all great route runners and I trust them. We’ve been playing together for a long time and we have a lot of chemistry together.”
Wade added how proud he was of his guys for coming out and matching the Beech physicality.
“Beech is an outstanding team and we knew coming in they were going to be physical and we would have to match that,” he said. “We executed well, made big plays and kept fighting. I’m really proud of my team and how hard they fought tonight.”
Friday night’s win for Summit over Beech (9-2) is their program’s first in three tries — with all three contests decided by seven points or less.
Both teams executed well, but the difference for Anthony Crabtree is Summit had the ball last.
“It was an equal game,” he said. “They just did a little better job of executing — they got the ball last.”
Beech’s senior class ends their careers 31-6 with two region titles to show.
“This is a great senior class, and I couldn’t be more proud of these guys,” Crabtree said. “They do what we ask day in and day out and lived up to what it means to play Beech football. They made our goal of reaching the third round; we just couldn’t take that next step and that is tough.”
Summit (11-2) will travel to Henry County, Friday, Nov. 27 for a shot at returning to Cookeville.
“Preparation starts Sunday,” Wade said. “We will come in, watch the film, see what they like to do on both sides of the ball and carry the same mentality of fighting to the end.”
8:17 1Q: Summit QB Destin Wade pass complete to Caleb Jolley for 45 yards. Touchdown! (Point after kick by Ryan Crane is good.) — 7-0
7:59 1Q: Beech QB Xaviere Jones pass complete to Tysean Jefferson for 64 yards. Touchdown! (Point after kick by Kevin Figueroa is good.) — 7-7
2:57 2Q: Beech RB Tysean Jefferson runs for 19 yards. Touchdown! (Point after kick by Kevin Figueroa is good.) — 14-7
1:35 2Q: Summit QB Destin Wade pass complete to Brady Pierce for 24 yards. Touchdown! (Point after kick by Ryan Crane is good.) — 14-14
9:25 3Q: Beech RB Darius Johnson runs for 31 yards. Touchdown! (Point after kick by Kevin Figueroa is good.) — 21-14
1:48 3Q: Summit QB Destin Wade runs for 2 yards. Touchdown! (Point after kick by Ryan Crane is good.) — 21-21
9:31 4Q: Summit QB Destin Wade pass complete to Brandon King for 23 yards. (Point after kick by Ryan Crane is good.) — 28-21
3:22 4Q: Beech RB Adrian Johnson 1 yard run. Touchdown! (Two-point conversion run by Tysean Jefferson is good.) — 29-28
00:27 4Q: Summit QB Destin Wade pass complete to Caleb Jolley for 9 yards. Touchdown! (Two-point conversion pass by Wade to Graham Schneider is good.) — 36-29