Class 3A No. 4-ranked Sumner had a lot more on the line than winning the Sunset Bowl trophy in their annual rivalry game with Bonney Lake.
A Spartans’ win on Friday night at Sunset Chev Stadium would clinch the 3A South Puget Sound League championship and extend the chance to go undefeated in league. Ever since June, Sumner was waiting for this moment.
And after Sumner (8-0, 6-0) defeated Bonney Lake, 24-7, the Spartans’ five-month drive concluded with a league championship.
“We talking about it all season long — we just told ourselves that we believed in each other and we believed we could get each win every week,” senior Josh Riley said. “And now we’re a team — we’re family.”
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“Tonight was a big night as I said to our kids, ‘It’s Sunset Bowl and we can go 8-0 against our rival school,’ ” Sumner coach Keith Ross said. “It’s a big night for Sumner.”
A night capped off with two trophies won.
For the first time this season, the Spartans didn’t look quite themselves. Call it a rival stepping up, as fourth-place Bonney Lake (4-4, 3-3) did in the first half.
Nothing went Sumner’s way as the Spartans first big play — a 72-yard touchdown run by Connor Wedington — was called back after a player was called for a hold. And that was about it for Sumner in the first half.
“Our defense was playing well and knew they could beat them,” Bonney Lake coach Jason Silbaugh said. “But I don’t know what to say (other) than Sumner came out in the second half and we struggled.”
It was more familiar team coming out of halftime, and right from Sumner’s first play of the second half, the game was the Spartans from there on out.
Right from the first play, Wedington again made a big run for Sumner, this time a 65-yard touchdown that gave the Spartans the lead at 10-7.
“We just needed a spark and we just needed to make something happen — that’s my job to get it done on the field,” Wedington said.
On Sumner’s next possession, it was the other running back making plays, as the Sumner plowed through the Bonney Lake defense to allow Josh Riley to speed through the middle for a 48-yard run.
“First half, they were getting good penetration,” Riley said. “But second half we knew what we had to do. The linemen had a good push and Connor and I hit any hole we saw.”
Wedington finished with 127 yards on 18 carries, while Riley had 14 carries for 97 yards.
Sumner didn’t stop scoring from there as Luke Ross (6 for 11, 56 yards) was able to find Tre Weed for a 33-yard TD to make it 24-7.
Now with the win and a league championship in hand, Sumner can finish off a perfect league season with a win next week over Auburn Riverside. The loss forces Bonney Lake into a must-win scenario next week as the Panthers face Peninsula for the league’s final playoff spot.
“You know, we’re undersized every week,” Keith Ross said. “We’re small on the O-line, but we’re tough, fit and we’re fast — and we played with pride. … I love these guys and it’s pretty amazing what they’ve accomplished.”
Kevin Manning: 253-256-7042