Connor Wedington pulled Tre Weed and Ben Wilson aside.
“He said, ‘It’s your team now. You got to keep fighting,’ ” Weed said. “You got to keep working hard.’
“Me and Ben just gave it our all.”
As did the rest of this third-ranked Sumner High School football team in a 16-13 victory against No. 4 Woodinville in a battle of unbeatens in the 4A state quarterfinals on Friday at Pop Keeney Stadium.
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Sumner (12-0) advances to the semifinals next week, and will play the winner of Saturday’s game between Camas and Skyline.
Weed and Wilson, both juniors, were certainly the catalysts, and took on the greatest responsibilities, in the run game and on defense, without Wedington, the senior who has verbally committed to the University of Washington.
Weed ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns and intercepted a pass defensively, while Wilson ran for 56 yards and dominated from his linebacker position on defense with 16 tackles and three sacks.
“Against this defense, that’s amazing what Tre did,” Sumner coach Keith Ross said.
“And Ben, he controlled the game on both sides of the ball, and that’s what a Pac-12 player should do.”
Wedington, who has more than 1,400 rushing yards this season, was out with a separated shoulder and relegated to the sideline.
He separated it in a Week 8 win against Emerald Ridge, after dealing with an ankle injury most of the season. He played the next three games until getting a second opinion Friday, Ross said.
But as Ross said they learned from Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, it’s next man up.
“When you lose a guy like Connor, you are like, ‘Oh my gosh, we just lost the top player in the state,’ ” Ross said. “But you also say, ‘We got Tre and Ben and they are going to get a lot more carries now.’ ”
And what they didn’t get on the ground, junior quarterback Luke Ross, Keith’s son, got through the air.
Defensively, Sumner held a team averaging 31.2 points per game to 13.
Woodinville led 6-3 when quarterback Jaden Sheffey scored on a 2-yard run with 25 seconds left in the first half. Sumner almost had an interception that likely would have been returned for a touchdown two plays earlier.
But Sumner got the ball to start the second half and went 63 yards on 14 plays, capped by Weed’s 1-yard TD plunge, to take a 10-6 lead.
Woodinville then missed a 36-yard field-goal attempt, and Sumner followed with a 61-yard pass from Luke Ross to Tyson Rainwater, who finished with 117 receiving yards, to the Woodinville 17, before Weed finished the drive with a 3-yard TD run.
“We knew it was going to be low scoring,” Keith Ross said. “We knew we had to grind it out. This is exactly what we wanted.”
Woodinville (11-1) answered with Mack Minnehan’s 2-yard TD run with 3:41 remaining to cut the Sumner lead to 16-13. That TD came after Sumner dropped another potential interception six plays prior.
The Spartans’ clock-eating offense finished the game from there. Luke Ross hit Rainwater for a 12-yard reception on third-and-5 with less than three minutes remaining.
“That is a coach’s dream,” Keith Ross said of the game-sealing pass by his son. “You have a boy 16 years ago and everyone says, ‘Oh, you got your quarterback.’ And for him to grow up and be our quarterback and be 12-0 and going to the state semifinals, it’s pretty special.”
It’s Sumner’s first trip to the state semifinals since 1977, when it won its second state title.
Coach Ross didn’t quite rule out Wedington’s potential return, but it seemed doubtful.
However, Sumner learned it at least still has a chance, even without Wedington.
“It’s the greatest feeling in the world,” Weed said of the win.
“It’s unbelievable,” Wilson said. “You can’t imagine this feeling — ever.”
“There is no better feeling I’ve ever had,” Luke Ross said. “I don’t even have the words to describe it right now.”
NO. 3 SUMNER
NO. 4 WOODINVILLE
S - Nick Phillips 28 field goal
W - Jaden Sheffrey 2 run (Kick failed)
S - Tre Weed 1 run (Phillips kick)
S - Weed 3 run (Kick failed)
W - Mack Minnehan 2 run (Michael Roth kick)
RUSHING – Sumner: Tre Weed 26-132; Ben Wilson 14-56; Luke Ross 4-7. Woodinville: Jaden Sheffey 9-54; Mack Minnehan 15-46; Matthew Jones 5-33.
PASSING – Sumner: Luke Ross 9-13-1-150. Woodinville: Jaden Sheffey 13-22-1-130.
RECEIVING – Sumner: Tyson Rainwater 5-117; Tre Weed 3-27; Ben Wilson 1-6. Woodinville: Michael Roth 6-73; Nash Fouch 5-56.