The high school football career of Connor Wedington has now come to a close with No. 3 Sumner’s 45-21 semifinal loss to Camas.
He’ll be moving on to much bigger, better football fields — his next stop being the University of Washington.
But the separated shoulder that kept him on the Sumner (12-1) sideline the past two weeks will leave the Spartan community asking what might have been had the playmaker been healthy enough to play.
"He’s definitely a huge aspect of the team, but I feel like all together we play as a team," linebacker Ben Wilson said. "We didn’t need to rely on Connor necessarily, but it would have been huge if he was here."
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Sumner proved it still had plenty of weapons without the UW recruit — beating previously unbeaten and fourth-ranked Woodinville last week and trailing No. 2 Camas 24-21 entering the fourth quarter on Saturday.
But there’s no question his presence would have changed the game had Wedington not separated his shoulder in the final game of the regular season against Emerald Ridge.
"Teams always had to account for him no matter if it was on offense or defense – they kicked it short when he was lined up for returns," Sumner coach Keith Ross said. "It was his presence that they had to account for. If anything we missed today was his presence."
On the football field, Wedington something else, a walking, breathing highlight-reel each week for the Spartans – with 13 touchdown plays of at least 35 yards in each of the first eight games of the season to earn him The News Tribune’s All-Area player of the year. But those were only minor to who he is and has been for Sumner.
His ability to speak up far out reached any words anyone else could say, coaches included.
"Connor was there the whole time with us trying to pump us up," said Tyson Rainwater about Wedington prowling the Spartan sidelines at McKenzie Stadium in Vancouver. "He wishes he was out there with us because he’s a brother. \
"We were trying to win this for him and he was trying to keep us going."
Anytime a big play happened, Wedington was almost the first there to cheer on his teammates. And whenever a call wasn’t made, or a play broken up, there was Wedington no farther than two yards away any coach, always chiming in his two cents even with the sling around his shoulder.
And whenever Sumner scored, no one was more jubilant than Wedington.
"As soon as I scored on the interception and the game was 24-21, he was the most pumped up on the sidelines," Wilson said. "He was the most excited about us getting the score close."
But then Camas rolled off 21-unanswered points to finish off Sumner 45-21 and advance to the 4A state championship next week to play Richland, who defeated Skyview, 35-7.
As the curtain came to a close, Wedington was left in tears and had nothing left to say. A few hours after the loss, he took to his Twitter page to leave one final message to the Sumner community..
"I want to apologize to everyone associated with Sumner," Wedington wrote. "I’m sorry I couldn’t play. This will live with me the rest of my life. I wish I could have been out there. I never felt so helpless in my life.
"Final thing I have to say is thank you. I PROMISE you I will continue to Work. Grind. Learn. Perservere, & Strive to make it to the top. This is for you."