The Sumner High football team’s ground attack rumbled, tumbled and bowled its way into the program’s record book on Saturday night at Sparks Stadium in claiming its first victory in the Puyallup-Sumner valley rivalry.
In the 22 years he’s been coaching, Sumner coach Keith Ross had never seen a win as lopsided, or his team rush for as many yards as it did in its 76-35 victory over the Vikings.
The victory comes one week after Puyallup quarterback Nathaniel Holcomb set the state 11-man record with 10 touchdown passes in a 77-60 win over South Kitsap.
On Friday night, Sumner (5-0, 4-0 4A SPSL) piled up 507 total rushing yards on 50 carries with seven touchdowns, with University of Washington commit Connor Wedington gaining 265 yards on 20 carries with four TDs.
Sumner’s high-octane offense worked over Puyallup’s defense in the first half as the Spartans marched out to a 41-14 halftime lead.
After Wedington’s 54-yard run opened the game to set Sumner up inside the red zone, quarterback Luke Ross floated a 11-yard pass to Tre Weed, who tipped it to himself as he fell backward in the end zone, giving Sumner the first score and a 7-0 lead after the extra point.
“I didn’t see the catch, but I just know it wasn’t a great throw,” Luke Ross said. “It was to his side. I under-threw it a little bit and he made a great play.”
“That was a great throw by Luke and a great call,” Weed retorted. “I just jumped up, hoped I landed with the ball in the basket and put that squeeze on it.”
Ross (9 for 11, 114 passing yards, three touchdowns) connected with tight end John Hopkins on a 15-yard touchdown pass on the next Spartan drive, and Cameron Waterman returned a 72-yard fumble recovery that put Sumner up 20-0 by the end of the first quarter.
The bleeding didn’t stop there as Wedington hammered in a score from the 1 and Sumner pushed its lead to 27-0.
Honore Thomas (62 rushing yards, three touchdowns) put Puyallup on the board its next drive when he plowed in for a 3-yard score, cutting the deficit to 27-7, but Wedington responded with a 60-yard touchdown run.
Luke Ross hooked up with Weed for a second score, where the junior made a 34-yard catch and run that gave Sumner a 41-7 lead.
“We did a lot better than last week. We made our adjustments, and we just executed really well,” said Ross as Sumner went into the half.
Ross completed his first seven passes, with three of them going for touchdowns.
Sumner opened the half with Wedington ripping off a 61-yard touchdown, one play after he had a run of the same length wiped away by a penalty.
“Puyallup’s dangerous. As a defensive coordinator, I was stressing all week because they throw the ball up,” Keith Ross said. “They have great receivers, scored a lot of points and caught a lot of touchdowns, so it was never easy for me the whole game.”
Holcomb, the South Sound’s passing leader, struggled against the SPSL’s No. 1 pass defense on Saturday. After being shut down in the first half, Holcomb started connecting with Noah McFadden (94 yards on seven receptions) and Landen Neff (91 yards on five receptions), setting up Thomas’ third touchdown of the game.
Holcomb went to work on Puyallup’s next possession as the senior connected with his first touchdown of the game late in the third when his floated a 40-yard pass to Darius Morrison (73 yards receiving) in the corner, cutting the lead to 55-28.
After Weed (231 all-purpose yards on offense) sped to a 45-yard touchdown, Holcomb found McFadden on a 15-yard strike for Puyallup’s final score.
“Our kids responded well. They scored 76 points, and we played hard. It was a good game,” Ross said.
Holcomb (22 for 44) finished with 306 passing yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. The senior now has 27 passing touchdowns through the first five games of the season.
The record-setting day didn’t end for Sumner as Weed crossed the goal line for a fourth time on a 9-yard run, and Waterman slipped by the Vikings’ defense on a 12-yard run for one last score.
Sumner will host Olympia (5-0) this week at Sunset Chev Stadium. Puyallup will travel to play Graham-Kapowsin (4-1) at Art Crate Field.