STORY BY CORY WOODROOF | PHOTOS BY STEVE WHEELER
After missing time with injury, the Page Patriots brought back quarterback Cade Walker in style.
The Patriots trounced the district rival Summit Spartans 31-7 Friday night in Walker’s return, with wide receiver Michael Burdick leading the offensive charge with two touchdowns, including a kickoff return for points.
“I was a little nervous at first, just getting back into it,” Walker said of his night. “The [offensive] line pretty much kept [Summit] off me all night. I didn’t have any pressure, and then, when I did scramble, it was to get the ball downfield. I thought we looked great.”
The Patriots started off right with a Walker-to-Burdick touchdown halfway through the first. The dual-threat QB then found Simon Simmonds for a throw-and-catch score with about a minute to go in the first.
The second quarter was mostly quiet, though Summit was able to get a touchdown right before half, with QB Destin Wade connecting with Brayden Stem for the six points. But, of course, Burdick’s big return for a touchdown put Page up 21-7 right before half, which wound up being the score to set the two teams apart.
“On that kick return, that’s 100-percent on my line,” Burdick said. “I’ve never seen bigger holes to run through in my life.”
Burdick tallied five catches for 90 yards and the two scores on the night.
In the second, Page would hold the Spartans scoreless, with Walker notching a third TD throw to Til Cheshire halfway through the third.
He would exit the game not long after that, finishing the night going 14/21 with 181 yards and three touchdowns.
Patriots K Chase Tidmore got a field goal in the fourth as that quarter’s only points, getting Page up to 31 on the night.
Summit tried to mount a last-minute drive to lessen the margin, but Page would hold and take the 31-7 victory, improving to 5-1 on the season and staying perfect in the district. They avenge their 2017 loss to the Spartans, as well.
“It’s a special moment for our program to get even after last year,” Rathbone said, citing Walker’s, Burdick’s and Miles Bonn’s play in particular as something that helped them get the win. “[Summit’s] a really good football team.”
Rathbone spoke to Burdick in particular, saying he hopes his continual progress will help him field college offers sooner than later.
“He can play at the next level,” Rathbone said. “He’s got the speed. He’s got the mind. He’s got everything that you need at the next level. Somebody’s going to get a really, really good football player when they take a chance on him.”
For Summit (now 3-3, 2-1), George Odimegwu was the standout, with 91 yards on the ground and two catches for 20 yards in the air. Wade finished the night with 81 yards thrown and the touchdown.
Spartans head coach Brian Coleman feels that the potential is there for cohesion on the offense.
“We had a good drive offensively; [we] had a 99-yard drive,” Coleman said. “We know we can do those things. We’ve just got to be consistent, and we’ve got to clean up the mistakes as far as penalties and things like that go.
“We can’t have a first-and-25, or a second-and-15, and expect to get it the way our offense is working.”
Page will next head out to Lincoln County for a district matchup, while Summit will host Franklin County.
Below is a slideshow of photos from photographer Steve Wheeler.