By JUSTIN ANDERSON | Photos by KINDELL BUCHANAN
HUNTINGTON LEARNING CENTER GAME OF THE WEEK
It was a battle of 4-1 teams entering Friday’s contest between the Summit Spartans and Page Patriots. Both teams came into the rivalry game undefeated in Region 5-5A play, but the Spartans walked away with a 35-17 win.
“Our guys knew it was going to be a physical game, and they were up to the task,” Summit head coach Brian Coleman said. “We played physical with them and eliminated the big plays. The defense did a great job.”
The Patriots drove down the field with ease in their opening drive, but were held in-check in the red zone and had to settle for a 24-yard field goal by Bryson Stremler.
After that, it was all Spartans.
Summit quarterback Ethan Cash marched the Spartan offense right down the field and hit running back Christian Jolley on a 23-yard wheel route from the backfield to give Summit a 7-3 lead.
That was the first seven of 28 unanswered points scored by the Spartans. They were led by running back Tai Carter, who found the end zone twice Friday night — once through the air and once on the ground. He finished with 198 yards on just 18 carries, along with 35 receiving yards.
Carter put his trust in his line and coaches, and the rest took care of itself.
“Our whole focus tonight was keying in on the Page defenders and trying to find holes in their defense and just make the big play, and that’s what we did,” Carter said.
On Summit’s next possession, Cash took a play-action and hooked up with receiver Danny Jackson for a 35-yard touchdown to give the Spartans an 11-point lead.
The Page defense struggled trying to stop the Spartan’s run-heavy attack out of the wing-T. The run game opened up a lot of big plays for Summit through the air. Cash threw the ball only four times, but they all went for big plays, including three touchdowns.
Just before the half, Tai Carter hauled in a 24-yard touchdown in the back of the end zone to give the Spartans a 21-3 lead going into the break. It was Cash’s third touchdown strike of the night. He was banged up on the play and didn’t return to the game.
Summit’s defense held Page to its lowest output of points in a game this season. Page quarterback Jacob Van Landingham and company struggled to get the passing game going in the first half. It picked up in the second half, but by then, it was too late.
A positive sign for the Patriots was running back Bubba Johnson, who rushed for 156 yards and a score.
Carter opened up the third quarter with an 82-yard scamper to give the Spartans a 28-3 lead. From there, Summit never looked back.
A couple of late scores from the Patriots made it a 28-17 game, but the victory was sealed when linebacker Robert Homes took a Page fumble 28 yards for a touchdown, giving his team a 35-17 advantage with 11 seconds left in the game.
Summit travels to face Franklin County next week, while Page takes on Lincoln County.