The hype for fifth-ranked Sumner’s meeting last week with No. 3 Graham-Kapowsin was being viewed as the program’s biggest game ever at Sunset Chev Stadium.
Under the lights Sept. 22 with a jam-packed stadium and on prime time television thanks to Root Sports, Tre Weed and Tyson Rainwater stepped up big for Sumner (4-0) as the Spartans picked up a 34-27 win over Graham-Kapowsin (3-1).
“It all comes from our coaching and the Black Flag defense,” said Weed, who finished with a pair of interceptions on defense and 124 receiving yards on offense. “Defense wins championships.”
Both Spartans had two interceptions each, with both of Rainwater’s picks coming at crucial times when Sumner needed a play to be made.
After G-K jumped out to a 13-0 first-quarter lead behind runs from Brendan Becker (four yards) and Micah Smith (70), the Eagles were driving on Sumner early in the second. With the short hitch routes and receiver screens working in the first, Sumner coach Keith Ross was yelling on the sideline to Rainwater to “watch for the screen.”
The very next play, G-K quarterback Dylan Morris tossed a screen pass on third down, but Rainwater jumped the route and sped off for a 50-yard pick-six, cutting the Eagles’ lead to 13-7 after the extra point.
“I just saw him break and I just ran in and got it,” Rainwater said. “It was crazy as (the crowd) was quiet before the play, then that happened and everyone went crazy.”
Sumner took the lead on its next possession when quarterback Luke Ross found Weed after making a difficult throw off his back foot, and the junior running back took it to the house on a 63-yard catch and run.
“It was so good to have Tre back out at receiver again tonight,” said Luke Ross (12 for 26 passing), who had 260 yards and two touchdowns in the win, both to Weed. “I know I can rely on him to make a big play.”
The second half was back and forth between these two SPSL powerhouses, as both teams traded leads all the way up to the end of the game.
After Becker’s second touchdown cut Sumner’s lead to 21-19, the Spartan defense stepped up again. After Torben Deese picked up a sack on Morris, Weed intercepted the G-K quarterback, which set up Nick Phillips with a 27-yard field goal to move the lead to 23-19 in the fourth.
Weed nearly picked off Morris a third time on G-K’s next drive, but both passes dropped to the ground, giving the Eagles extra chances to score. Becker capped off the long drive with a 2-yard run, his third score, to put G-K up 27-23 with 2 minutes, 5 seconds left to play.
Connor Wedington made the play of the game on the ensuing kickoff, taking back the kick 87 yards to put Sumner up for good, 30-27, after the extra point.
“I still can’t believe that man ran through all those defenders,” Weed said.
G-K tried one last attempt at a comeback, but Rainwater ended the attempt, picking off Morris a second time with 25 seconds left.
“We knew it was coming, and practiced that play all week,” Rainwater said.
Sumner will travel to Puyallup (3-1) to restart its long-dormant rivalry with the Vikings when the two teams square off at Sparks Stadium on Saturday (Oct. 1) night.