It was the only matchup of undefeated programs in the state of Washington on Friday night, between two teams vying for the top spot in the Class 4A South Puget Sound League — arguably one of the toughest in the state.
It was expected to be a thriller — maybe even a shootout — with both teams averaging more than 49 points per game through five weeks.
So, when third-ranked Sumner High School escaped with a 21-16 win over Olympia at Sunset Chev Stadium, yes, Keith Ross was a bit surprised.
“We both average 50 points,” the Sumner coach said. “This was a game of wills. This is what it should be like when two championship teams play each other.”
Sumner — which was held scoreless in the first half for the first time this season — eventually won that game, aided by three big touchdown drives that took a cumulative 3 minutes, 19 seconds off the clock.
That after Olympia, which had a 6-0 lead at halftime after a pair of Skyler Davis field goals (40 and 31 yards), kept possession away from Sumner’s offense for the majority of the game.
“The coaches had a very good game plan,” Davis said. “Coming in, we knew they were going to get some big plays. They’ve got some studs on their team.”
The big play was, in fact, what eventually stymied the Bears (5-1, 5-1 4A SPSL). Twice it was at the hands of, who else, but University of Washington commit Connor Wedington.
He opened the second half with a 34-yard kickoff return that set up the Spartans at their own 47. Four plays later, he tore through a group of defenders, and beat one more down the sideline, before lunging into the end zone for a 37-yard touchdown run.
That gave Sumner its first lead at 7-6.
“In the first half we weren’t executing, we were just making little mistakes,” Wedington said. “We can pull off the ‘W’ if we just execute.”
Davis connected for his third field goal on Olympia’s ensuing drive, from 34 yards this time, to give Olympia a 9-7 edge midway through the third. But that’s the last time the Bears had the lead.
Luke Ross found Tre Weed for a 35-yard touchdown pass near the end of the third. And, after forcing two Olympia punts, Wedington struck again. He again found an opening and scooted 66 yards into the end zone midway through the fourth to make it 21-9.
“He’s electric, he’s dangerous,” Ross said. “Every time he touches the ball, I think he’s going to pop out and go. He had a couple big plays for us, and it really turned the game around.”
Wedington finished with 177 yards and the two touchdowns on 16 carries.
Olympia found the end zone for the first time with 2:12 remaining when Ketner Young connected with Corbin Hartsock for an 8-yard scoring pass, but it was too late.
Sumner fell on the onside kick attempt, and Wedington’s eventual 3-yard rush for a first down allowed the Spartans to run out the clock.
“We made a couple mistakes on defense, a couple mistakes on offense, and when you play teams like this, they get you,” Olympia coach Bill Beattie said. “But we’re right there. I hope our guys understand how much growth they’ve made. They can play with anybody.”
Olympia did, for the majority of the game, though Sumner did keep running back Scott Gunther — who entered Friday leading the Olympia area in rushing with 131 carries for 1,117 yards and 25 total touchdowns — out of the end zone for the first time this season.
“They’re a great defensive team,” Beattie said. “We knew getting yards was going to be tough. We knew they were going to be centered on Scott.”
Gunther was still the workhorse, carrying the ball 31 times for 127 yards, but exited the game early in the fourth quarter with a hip injury he sustained when a defender fell on him.
“We’ll have to see,” Beattie said. “His hip is pretty sore. … He’s a competitor. He’ll be all right.”
With Gunther out, Olympia punted twice, eventually leading to Wedington’s final score.
At 6-0, Sumner — which played in 2A three years ago, and 3A the past two years before the most recent reclassification cycle — is the only undefeated team remaining in the 4A SPSL.
“We’re really excited about where we’re at,” Ross said. “I tell our kids, we’ve earned the right to be here. … We’re right where we wanted to be.”
NO. 3 SUMNER
O – Skyler Davis 40 field goal
O – Davis 31 field goal
S – Connor Wedington 37 run (Nick Phillips kick)
O – Davis 34 field goal
S – Tre Weed 35 pass from Luke Ross (Phillips kick)
S – Wedington 66 run (Phillips kick)
O – Corbin Hartsock 8 pass from Ketner Young (Davis kick)