The Sumner High football program is set to be on the attack this season — especially when it comes to a weaker-than-in-years-past Class 3A South Puget Sound League.
Even with Auburn Mountaview, the league and an early 3A state title favorite, coach Keith Ross believes the Spartans’ explosive offense will carry Sumner into the playoffs.
“Camp’s gone really well. Right now we’re focusing on our (offensive) line,” Ross said. “We think they can be great O-linemen, but they haven’t played varsity before.”
Inexperience on the offensive line might seem like a coach’s headache at first, but with the potential the Spartans have on offense, those worries are being put on the back burner.
“Our strengths are our defense and our skilled kids,” Ross said. “Our goal right now is to get our line up to speed.”
With playmakers Connor Wedington and Josh Riley at running back, and by moving Josiah Fidecaro out wide to receiver, Sumner has the chance to put up big numbers on the scoreboard this season.
“We have a lot of new things, but we just going have to show up on gameday,” Wedington said. “I trust them ... I trust them because I got their backs and they got mine.”
No worries are coming from the backfield at Sumner’s practice as Wedington and company believe that their front five will do enough to get them space so they can make their plays — even if the quarterback position will be in a timeshare this season.
“With the playmakers we have on offense, (and) with Connor capable of scoring on any play, all we need is our quarterback to do is just drive the bus,” Ross said. “They don’t have to do a whole lot than get the ball in our playmakers hands in space, and they’ll do the rest.”
So who will play quarterback for the Spartans?
That’s the question Sumner is trying to figure out after four-year starter Chase Torgison graduated in June. Right now the job’s in Skyler Sandretzky’s hands.
“I’m just trying to compete,” Sandretzky said.
But with the junior also set to lead the defense at safety, the Spartans will give sophomore and Luke Ross, the coach’s son, the chance to claim the top spot on Sumner’s offense.
“The one thing about these two kids is that they are friends with each other. This is a friendly competition because they both know this will make them better, and make Sumner better,” Keith Ross said.
As a freshman, Sandretzky’s mobility and an accurate arm left high remarks from his coaches. His composure demonstrated he was ready to lead. Instead of backing up Torgison last year, Sandretzky took his sophomore season off at quarterback and focused solely on what he needed to do on defense.
“Last year, I just put full focus on defense until I had that locked in my head,” Sandretzky said. “On defense, safeties the quarterback. You have to know what’s happening on the field in both positions ... it’s not really a struggle as I’m able to do it.”
Now, as a junior, the 5-foot-9 Sandretzky is utilizing his full abilities, and taking his shot at being a two-way starter by playing both quarterback and safety — something rarely seen at Sumner.
“We have only three two-way starters listed on our roster,” Keith Ross said. “We like to keep our guys rested if we can … Sky is crucial for us on defense, so we feel we can use Luke to spell him when want him to rest.”
Luke Ross’ early rapport with the offense has the race for quarterback a tight one.
“I just got really excited get the opportunity to play this year,” said Luke Ross after the quarterback position opened up over the offseason. “We have so many athletes on offense, we (as quarterbacks) just have to get the ball in their hands.”
While playing for Sumner’s junior varsity team last year, Ross led the JV to a 9-0 record.
Both quarterbacks bring different elements to Sumner’s offense. Sandretzky’s mobility and playmaking skills adds another dimension to the offense, while the taller (6-foot-1) Luke Ross brings a bigger arm from the pocket.
“Luke has a nice touch on his throws, especially with some of his deeper throws,” Sandretzky said. “He does show some sophomore things like not being as confident with his reads. He’ll learn that with more time with the offense.”
And that time starts this weekend when Sumner travels to Franklin Pierce High to play the Cardinals in a 3A-2A SPSL nonleague crossover game. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday (Sept. 4).