In an age of turf fields and spread offenses, one of the few natural grass fields in the South Sound produced an old-school mud-pit smack down at Bellarmine Prep.
With rain dumping almost the entire game on Friday night, the surface was more mud than grass — far from the friendly turf Sumner normally experiences at Sunset Chev Stadium.
But the Spartans handled it like it was their own backyard.
Third-ranked Sumner outrushed Bellarmine by almost 300 yards as the Spartans ran away with a 21-3 victory to improve to 7-0 and maintain their grip atop the 4A South Puget Sound League.
“I thought this was the funnest game of my life,” Sumner linebacker Ben Wilson said. “I had the most fun I’ve ever had in football tonight.”
That’s partly because he was part of a Spartans defense that limited Bellarmine (5-2) to 11 team rushing yards on 28 carries. The Lions had 108 yards of total offense.
So what was the key to halting the Lions run game?
“The mud,” Sumner coach Keith Ross said.
The Spartans practiced in it this week on Sumner’s baseball field, turning left field into a mud pen. It prepared the team for a night that saw the mud turn Bellarmine’s white pants dark brown by game’s end.
“This weather actually helped us,” Ross said. “We are built for this.
It was Ross’ first game played against Bellarmine Prep. And his first against Lions coach Brian Jensen. Ross said they used to be golf buddies with current Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin when the three of them were at Central Washington in the mid-90s.
“I respect him a ton,” Ross said of Jensen. “He’s a great offensive mind. I tried to offer him my (offensive coordinator) job once.”
Connor Wedington put Sumner on the scoreboard with a 54-yard touchdown run. It was the Spartans’ first play on their second possession of the game.
Wedington has broken touchdowns of 50 yards or more in all seven games so far this season. And he had eight touchdowns of 60 yards or more coming in — whether it be a run, kick return, punt return or receiving TD.
The University of Washington commit finished the game with 21 carries for 141 yards and two touchdowns.
“I just want to get changed and get out of this mud,” Wedington said. “I don’t have an ounce on me that isn’t in mud.”
That’s why Sumner wore their black pants instead of their normal road white ones.
“We didn’t want to ruin our white pants,” Wedington laughed. “Our white pants are nice.”
Bellarmine got a 37-yard field goal from Bryce Bendixen with 20 seconds remaining in the first half to cut the score to 7-3. That was after he had pinned Sumner at their own 1 with a punt (thanks to an assist from the mud).
But Sumner pushed the lead to two scores when quarterback Luke Ross rifled his second and final completionof the game — a 23-yard TD to Tre Weed with 7:38 remaining in the third quarter.
The two teams combined to turn it over seven times. Sumner picked off Bellarmine quarterback Christian Moore three times and forced a fumble. Sumner is allowing 15.7 points per game.
“We just played our defense,” Wilson said. “We did our thing. Bone to bone, no mercy — that’s our motto.”
And now Sumner is two wins away from going undefeated in league for the third time in four years — in 2013 in the 2A SPSL, last year in the 3A SPSL and now this year in the 4A SPSL.
“This was fun,” Ross said. “This is one we’ll remember.
“But, yes, I’m dreaming of turf fields right now.”
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677
NO. 3 SUMNER
S – Connor Wedington 54 run (Nick Phillips kick)
B – Bryce Bendixen 37 field goal
S – Tre Weed 23 pass from Luke Ross (Phillips kick)
S – Wedington 12 run (Phillips kick)
RUSHING — Sumner: Connor Wedington 21-141; Ben Wilson 14-95; Tre Weed 11-50. Bellarmine Prep: Matthew Money 18-25; Czarshay Thomas 1-11; Christian Moore 8-(-13); Bryce Bendixen 1-(-12).
PASSING — Sumner: Luke Ross 2-3-0-37. Bellarmine Prep: Christian Moore 9-25-3-97.
RECEIVING — Sumner: Tre Weed 1-23; Alexander Zaragoza 1-14. Bellarmine Prep: Christian Brown 4-55; Kyle Casey 3-23; Domonic Golob 2-19.