Game of the Week: Summit v Independence

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For Summit, this could be the year they do it.

The Spartans (0-1) host the Independence Eagles (0-1) Friday night at 7 p.m.

The Eagles, in the five years since Summit moved up to the same 5A Class, this battle for Spring Hill bragging rights has been more like a massacre. The all-time score between these two teams, in the four times they faced each other since 2013, favors IHS 188 to 40. It probably goes without saying, but Summit has never beat Independence.

But this year could be different.  Summit comes off its best-ever season last year (7-4) and first playoff run. Independence’s loss in the state championship game last year, the team’s first loss in two seasons, seemed only an exception to prove the rule of the Eagles’ dominance. But then the Eagles lost to Oakland last week—38-6.  But Oakland, a Class 6A team, lost the state championship game by only points and touts one of the best defenses in the state. Right now, Oakland is the No. 3 ranked (AP) team in Class 6A.

The Spartans, who hadn’t beat Spring Hill since 2013, opened their season with a loss to feel good about—a 21-20 showing in which versatile running back Tai Carter threw for two touchdowns. If the Spartans made their final extra-point attempt, it’s a tie game with a possibly different ending.  Spring Hill, to be clear, is not Oakland. But the Raiders are a top ten team in Class 4A, according to AP rankings.

The Eagles will depend on the passing game of Nathan Cisco, their first-year-starting quarterback, and the running of returning starting Senior half-back Troy Henderson.

But with Carter leading the way as new QB Ethan Cash settles in, the Spartans should also be able to put points on the board.

However, stopping the Eagles on offense is always the big concern under Independence Coach Scott Blade, whose teams tend to learn, quickly, week-to-week. Which is important because, just two weeks into the season, Independence will know it cannot both lose this game and go on to produce a season as successful as anything like the previous two.

If Summit stays loose and makes no mistakes, however, they should have a reasonable chance to notch a historic win for the program.