BELLINGHAM — Lynden’s first-half performance was simply mind-numbing. The Lions piled up points so fast and used so many different play-makers to do it, Sumner had no to time to process what had happened.
The No. 1-ranked Lions (12-0) put together their finest showing of the year, beating No. 3 Sumner, 54-21, on a chilly evening Friday at Civic Stadium.
Everything Lynden did worked. The Spartans (11-1), meanwhile, appeared overwhelmed.
“We were in shock,” Sumner coach Keith Ross said. “We truly believed this year was going to be different. They are a great team. They just seemed to rise to another level, and we were truly surprised with the way they played tonight.”
Lynden traveled to Sumner for the Class 2A state quarterfinals last season and utilized the passing game to beat the Spartans by five touchdowns. A year later, the Lions again relied on the air attack to move past Sumner.
Lynden scored twice before Sumner even touched the ball and led, 28-0, after the first quarter.
The Lions advance to the state semifinals and will face Ellensburg or Othello next Saturday in Moses Lake. The loss ends Sumner’s season.
“We had a really good practice, and I knew something good was coming,” said Lynden receiver Jordan Wittenberg, who finished with 123 yards and a touchdown on five catches.
But this good?
“I did not,” admitted a smiling Jalani Phelps, who caught three passes for 29 yards and two scores. “It’s great to see our offense working on all cylinders — our O-line blocking, our running backs running hard, our quarterback throwing and our receivers catching. It was a great team win.”
The 54 points were the most Lynden has scored this season. The Lions had 47 of those by halftime.
Lions quarterback Sterling Somers, who in Week 7 earned his first start after replacing injured starter Lucas Petersen, had a career day, completing 13 of 19 passes for 276 yards and five touchdowns.
Sumner filled the box, leaving man-to-man coverage on the outside. Lynden’s lanky receivers outmatched Sumner’s shorter secondary players and took advantage throughout the game. Besides Phelps and Wittenberg, 6-foot-7 receiver Scooter Hastings had a game-high 124 yards and two touchdowns on five receptions.
“I am just so proud of these young guys to come out here,” Lynden coach Curt Kramme said. “We knew Sumner was capable of ending our season.”
Lynden quickly captured the game’s momentum with a six-play, 68-yard opening touchdown drive, capped with an 8-yard Phelps TD reception.
The Lions recovered a pooch kick, although Kramme called it a miss-hit from Lynden kicker Alex Otano-Guenther, on the ensuing kickoff and were in the end zone six plays later. Only 3:22 had come off the clock.
“For us to get the ball and take it right down the field and score was a huge statement,” Kramme said.
Sumner fumbled and punted during its next two possessions, and Lynden answered with its third and fourth consecutive touchdown drives to start the game.
A 2-yard touchdown run from Trent Postma, who compiled 95 yards on 10 carries, and a 8-yard TD strike from Somers to Wittenberg gave Lynden a 28-0 lead with 1:04 to go in the first quarter.
Somers recorded 150 yards passing and threw three TDs, all in the first quarter, to lead Lynden’s offense.
Lynden’s defense was equally impressive, stopping Sumner’s rushing attack. The Spartans, who totaled 150 yards on the ground, moved the ball deep into Lynden territory three times in the first half but only got into the end zone once.
Lynden recovered a fumble on its own 18, and the second-quarter time ran out on Sumner’s offense driving inside the Lynden 20. Sumner’s only first-half score came on a 6-yard TD pass from quarterback Chase Torgison to Tristan Wedington.
The Lions built a
47-7 halftime lead, and the running clock was instituted for the second half.
Torgison completed 15 of 21 passes for 166 yards, with a touchdown and two interceptions. Sumner running backs Brandon Tuilaepa and DeJon Lynch each scored late TDs.
“To win 11 games in a row is incredible,” Ross said. “We got it handed to us tonight, but for us to win 11 games was incredible.”