It was a heavyweight bout between third-ranked Sumner and Emerald Ridge on Friday night at Sparks Stadium as plenty was on the line for both football teams.
First-place Sumner was going for its second consecutive undefeated season and its third league title four years, while Emerald Ridge was fighting to hang onto its playoff hopes.
“The kids were determined to compete. They weren’t going to look at the scoreboard, they were just going to play every play,” Emerald Ridge co-coach Troy Halfaday said. “They knew they had to put it all on the line, and they did.”
The kids were determined to compete. ....They knew they had to put it all on the line, and they did.
Emerald Ridge coach Troy Halfaday
From the first whistle to the last, it was a brawl between the two squads, but Sumner outlasted Emerald Ridge, 49-42, in overtime to secure its perfect regular season in the 4A SPSL.
“It wasn’t like we wanted it, but we’ll take it,” said Sumner coach Keith Ross, who coached back-to-back undefeated regular season for the first time in his career.
Sumner (9-0, 8-0) became one of the only — if not the only — school to win a Class 2A (2013), 3A (2015) and 4A league championship in a four-year span.
I can’t think of another time that could happen, where you have a school go from a 2A to a 4A within three years.
Sumner coach Keith Ross
“I can’t think of another time that could happen, where you have a school go from a 2A to a 4A within three years,” Ross said.
The Spartans went undefeated during all their recent league-title runs.
Where Sumner was attempting to capture some personal pride with a win, Emerald Ridge (3-6, 3-5) was trying to hang onto the No. 5 and final playoff seed out of the SPSL.
After Tre Weed scored on a 20-yard interception return — bookended by touchdown runs from Connor Wedington and one of his own — Sumner jumped out to a 20-0 lead heading into the second quarter.
“(Andrew Boston’s) a good receiver, and we had trouble covering him tonight,” Keith Ross said. “And (Marvin Williams), he made some big plays tonight, and they played hard.”
Emerald Ridge fired back when quarterback Logan Skoda connected with Boston on back-to-back drives before hooking up with the speedy Williams for a 73-yard score and a 21-20 Jaguar lead in the third.
“They kept fighting. They all wanted to win that game and get into the playoffs,” Halfaday said.
Right after the Jaguars took the lead, Wedington took the ensuing kickoff for an 87-yard return, and then followed it up with a two-point conversion, giving Sumner the lead right back, at 28-21.
Emerald Ridge tied the game in the fourth when Skoda connected with Cody O’Connell, with the duo hooking up on consecutive scores to put ER up 35-28 late in the fourth.
We were very impressed. (Emerald Ridge) came with some attitude and they played hard. We knew they were athletic, and we knew they had kids who could make plays. They played great tonight.
Sumner quarterback Luke Ross brought the Spartans back when he connected with Tyson Rainwater on a big play, a 58-yard touchdown pass, to tie the game at 35 apiece.
“We were very impressed,” Keith Ross said. “(Emerald Ridge) came with some attitude and they played hard. We knew they were athletic, and we knew they had kids who could make plays. They played great tonight.”
With time running out in the fourth, Skoda connected with his sixth touchdown pass of the game, hitting Boston (three TDs) for a 20-yard score and a 42-35 lead with minutes left in the game.
“Those two were fantastic ... they didn’t’ want to lose that game,” Halfaday said. “They weren’t going to settle for anything less than the playoffs.”
But ER penalties gave Sumner extra chances on its final drive in regulation, and the Spartans were able to cap it off with Weed running it in from the 3-yard line to force overtime.
The same mistakes came up again in OT, where Ben Wilson gave Sumner the win when he carried it in for the winning score.
“It seems like it wasn’t bouncing in our favor nine times out of 10 this year,” Halfaday said. “These guys fought so hard all season, and it seemed like every time we had momentum or gained the momentum, a penalty or something would come in.”
Bonney Lake 39, Spanaway Lake 12
The Panthers wrapped up the No. 2 seed out of the 3A Pierce County League with their win over the Sentinels on Friday.
Bonney Lake (7-2, 6-1) will host the No. 3 seed out of the 3A KingCo conference this weekend.
Graham-Kapowsin 63, Rogers 13
The Rams’ rough season didn’t get any better as they finished winless during the regular season after their Oct. 27 loss to the Eagles.
With the win, Graham-Kapowsin (8-1, 7-1) will host the No. 2 seed out of the 4A SPSL, Kentlake (7-2, 5-2), in district play this week.