Coach Keith Ross and his squad will be looking to continue this Golden Age of Spartan football.
For the past six seasons, the field of 16 teams in the Class 4A tournament has included Sumner. It wasn’t always like that, as before this half-decade run of success, SHS hadn’t played a state tournament games since 1994.
If the Spartans are to keep their steak of success rolling along, they will have to overcome some huge hits to the roster. Lost to graduation were Tre Weed, the league’s Most Valuable Player who now suits up in Cheney for the Eastern Washington Eagles, and Ben Wilson, who accepted a ride with Texas Christian University. All he did last season was earn league Defensive MVP honors from his linebacker post and make first-team offense as a running back. Also gone is the one who steered the Spartan ship, quarterback Luke Ross.
That talented trio helped Sumner to a third-place finish in the SPSL 4A last year, sporting losses to state contenders Puyallup and Graham-Kapowsin. Then came another state playoff run.
This time around, the Spartan offense looks to be in the hands of senior quarterback Austin Grondahl. Up front, on the o-line, the team has Riley Clark, a first-team all-league lineman.
Defensively, the Spartans boast several players who were singled out for individual honors at the end of last season. The list includes familiar names like Blake Tannehill, Donovan Clark and Mason Donovan.
With eight league contests spread over a nine-week season, the Spartans jump right into SPSL 4A play. The team will be on the road this Friday, Aug. 31, to challenge the South Kitsap Wolves.
The only nonleague contest on the regular-season schedule is an interesting one: on Oct. 4, a Thursday, the Spartans will host perennially-tough Camas. The Papermakers advanced to the state field of 16 last year, captured a state title in 2016 (after defeating Sumner in the semifinal round) and have made the state tourney eight years in a row.