Longtime coach Keith Ross looks to guide his Sumner Spartans, once again, to the upper reaches of the state Class 4A polls. Many pieces remain from last year’s team that advanced to the state’s final four. File photo

Proven veterans will lead Spartans this year

This year’s Sumner High football roster is dotted with familiar names, talented players who took the Spartans to great heights a season ago. And they’re guided by a coaching staff that was voted tops in the South Puget Sound League 4A last year.

It would be tough for any squad to match the accomplishments of the 2016 SHS team, which won 12 consecutive games to reach the state 4A semifinals. The run of success only ended when the Spartans clashed with the powerhouse team from Camas, which defeated Sumner a week before claiming the state championship.

But there’s plenty of optimism in Sumner, where coach Keith Ross, now in his 17th season at the SHS helm, is prepping his crew for another campaign. The Spartans kick off the season Friday when they square off against their district rivals from Bonney Lake High; game time is 7 p.m. at Sunset Chev Stadium.

The offense might be missing Connor Wedington, the SPSL’s Co-MVP who has taken his prodigious talents to Stanford, but Tre Weed returns for his senior season. Last year, he was a first-team, all-league selection at running back, creating a dynamic duo for the Spartans. Weed stands out on both sides of the ball, as he also garnered first-team honors at defensive back.

Spartan fans also can expect big things from senior Ben Wilson, a highly-coveted linebacker who has already committed to Texas Christian University. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Wilson was the league’s Defensive Most Valuable Player last year as a junior, when he earned all-state honors.

Also returning to the defensive fold are first-team all-league selection Logan Mayer and honorable mention honoree Torben Deese, both senior linemen. Blake Tannehill, a sophomore defensive back, also should get plenty of attention.

Offensively, the Spartans’ West Coast Veer will again be guided by quarterback Luke Ross; now a senior, he earned honorable mention all-league honors last season. The O-line will be anchored by senior Austin Roth and junior Alex Beringer and 6-4 junior John Hopkins provides a big target at tight end.