A Saturday night slugfest at Sparks Stadium put the wraps on another exciting run by the Sumner High football team.
Having advanced to the Final Four in the Class 4A state playoffs, the Spartans were eliminated in Puyallup, falling 10-0 to Woodinville.
While Sumner puts away the pads and helmets, Woodinville now squares off against the Richland Bombers for the 4A title. The 4A finale is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the cozy confines of the Tacoma Dome.
The Spartans reached the state semifinals after placing third in the South Puget Sound League, having gone 6-2 in league play. Both those losses were to elite teams – Puyallup and Graham-Kapowsin – that went on to make appearances in the 16-team state tournament. Graham-Kapowsin had advanced to the Elite Eight before running into Woodinville in the quarterfinal round.
Sumner’s playoff trek opened with a 42-14 victory over Union High, followed by a 56-14 thrashing of the Monroe Bears.
That success netted a night against the formidable Woodinville squad that climbed to No. 2 in the statewide rankings. All the Falcons had done is win the KingCo Conference crown with an 8-0 record and polish off the regular season with a perfect 13-0 slate. That was followed by a trio of convincing postseason victories.
While Sumner is perennially known for its stout defense, the Falcons’ season numbers were even better. Woodinville allowed fewer than 10 points per game, on average, on the way to its semifinal date with the Spartans.
Sumner entered Saturday’s game allowing just a bit more than 16 points per contest, an average that was seriously skewed by the pair of league losses.
So, it was no surprise that Saturday’s matchup featured a pair of defensive powers slugging it out.
The game’s only touchdown came in the second quarter. The Spartans showed some offensive spark but a series of penalties forced Sumner to punt, giving Woodinville the ball near midfield. The Falcons’ Matt Jones broke off a long run to take the ball to the 5-yard line and, just a couple of plays later, he crashed in for the TD.
Still just a one-score game in the fourth quarter, Woodinville put things away with a turnover that led to a 22-yard field goal with less than six minutes on the game clock.
This year’s Spartan squad continued a run of success that had not been seen in recent years. It has now been five seasons in a row that coach Keith Ross and his Sumner teams made the tournament field of 16. Before that, Sumner hadn’t played a state tournament game since 1994. In the decade of the 1980s, Sumner did not have a state playoff appearance on its resumé.
Sumner’s last round of sustained success was in the 1970s. The Spartans captured state championships in both 1975 and 1977.