High School Sports

5 takeaways from the third week of football in the South Sound

Puyallup’s Ethan Steward (2) runs after a catch for a long touchdown in the second quarter. Puyallup high school played Sumner high school in a football game at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup, Wash., on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018.
Puyallup’s Ethan Steward (2) runs after a catch for a long touchdown in the second quarter. Puyallup high school played Sumner high school in a football game at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup, Wash., on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. joshua.bessex@gateline.com

Lightning struck — literally — near several stadiums causing delays. Puyallup made a statement with a rout of 4A SPSL rival Sumner. Kennedy Catholic’s Sam Huard threw for six more touchdowns, Graham-Kapowsin’s Dylan Morris threw for five, and plenty more happened during Week 3.

Here are five takeaways from the third week of high school football in the South Sound.

1. Puyallup win sets up 4A SPSL showdown with No. 1 Graham-Kapowsin

Did Puyallup coach Gary Jeffers expect to walk away from Sparks Stadium on Friday night with a commanding 37-7 win over a sixth-ranked Sumner program that has advanced to the 4A state semifinals the past two seasons?

Not exactly. But a statement win like that certainly proves the eighth-ranked Vikings (3-0) deserve mentioning among the state’s top programs.

“It’s our kids playing all three phases of the game,” Jeffers said. “I can’t say enough about our defense. They came out and did a great job and put us in great field position, and our kids on offense executed.”

Puyallup put up points on its first drive — ending Sumner’s streak of eight consecutive quarters without allowing a score this season — and consistently displayed how dangerous its offense is, piling up 536 yards of offense.

Quarterback Jacob Holcomb threw for 345 yards and three touchdowns on 19 of 32 passing, and rushed for another score. Ethan Steward (three catches, 147 yards) flahsed big-play ability, converting touchdown catches of 78 and 60 yards. And running back Kyle Cramer churned out 120 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries.

Puyallup’s defense, in turn, allowed just 102 yards of offense and three first downs, and forced seven punts and two turnovers on downs.

The Vikings’ decisive win sets up an intriguing Week 4 showdown against top-ranked Graham-Kapowsin (3-0) on Friday night at Art Crate Field in Spanaway.

The Eagles are coming off of a 56-14 rout of Emerald Ridge, during which UW commit Dylan Morris threw for five touchdowns. Graham-Kapowsin won a 51-50 overtime thriller in Eugene against Oregon powerhouse Sheldon in its opener, and topped Bellarmine Prep, 28-21, last week.

Puyallup cruised to wins over Bellarmine (49-14) and Emerald Ridge (52-21) during the first two weeks.

The outcome of next week’s game will continue to reveal how this 4A SPSL will shake out, with the Vikings looking to defend last season’s unlikely title, during which they beat Sumner and Graham-Kapowsin in back-to-back weeks.

“We’re going to rest up, get healthy and be ready to go,” Holcomb said. “WE’re going to watch a lot of film and get our game plan ready.”

Meanwhile, Sumner (2-1) gets set to host a Curtis (3-0) team that Spartans coach Keith Ross thinks could be the league’s dark horse.

“I’m already thinking about them,” Ross said. “They look to be a spoiler this year.”

2. Young recruits post big numbers — again

Some coaches and experts believe the 2021 high school football class will end up being Washington’s best ever.

The South Sound has four sophomores ranked in the top 50 nationally by 247Sports.com in Kennedy Catholic’s Sam Huard (No. 13), Steilacoom’s Emeka Egbuka (No. 38), Lincoln’s Julien Simon (No. 45) and Bethel’s Will Latu (No. 46). And all four have impressed so far this season.

Huard continues to lead the South Sound in passing after tossing six more touchdowns in a 55-24 win over Bishop Blanchet on Saturday in Burien. He finished 21 of 38 passing for 490 yards.

Huard, who has early offers from Flordia, WSU and Nevada, has 1,514 passing yards and 18 touchdowns through the first three weeks.

Egbuka, who has offers from Florida State, Oregon and Oregon State, also impressed in Week 3, impacting all three phases of the game in the sixth-ranked Sentinels’ 45-31 win over River Ridge.

On offense, he caught three touchdown passes and piled up 139 receiving yards on four catches. On defense, he picked off a pass and returned it for 68 yards to set up a Steilacoom field goal. And, on special teams, he returned kickoff 70 yards for a touchdown.

3. Lincoln’s Simon brothers have a pair of interception returns for TDs

Both of the Simon brothers on Lincon’s roster have picks returned for touchdowns, and it’s only Week 3.

Senior two-way lineman Jayden Simon hauled in his first interception of the season this week in fifth-ranked Lincoln’s 62-3 rout of city rival Wilson. He picked off Wilson quarterback Jack Hanisch at the Rams’ 17-yard line and barreled into the end zone for a touchdown.

His younger brother, Julien, a sophomore receiver and nickelback, recorded his first pick two weeks ago in a season-opening win over Camas. He picked off Papermakers quarterback Jake Blair and raced down the sideline for a 30-yard score.

4. 14 local programs remain unbeaten

Here is a quick breakdown of the teams in the South Sound that have yet to lose, and who they have beat.

Auburn Riverside has wins over Auburn Mountainview (21-17), Auburn (34-32) and Thomas Jefferson (55-19).

Enumclaw has wins over White River (41-21), Auburn Mountainview (49-0) and Decatur (56-9).

Kentlake has wins over Kentridge (53-35), Tahoma (7-3) and Kentwood (28-14).

Puyallup has wins over Bellarmine Prep (49-14), Emerald Ridge (52-21) and Sumner (37-7).

Graham-Kapowsin has wins over Sheldon (Ore.) (51-50), Bellarmine Prep (28-21) and Emerald Ridge (56-14).

Curtis has wins over Rogers (51-21), Gig Harbor (33-21) and South Kitsap (65-0).

Capital has wins over Lakes (22-9), W.F. West (29-9) and Shelton (46-0).

Central Kitsap has wins over Olympic (33-14), Lakes (30-23) and Yelm (30-28).

Clover Park has wins over Lindbergh (64-16), Highline (27-7) and Evergreen of Seattle (56-8).

Steilacoom has wins over Lake Washington (27-14), Orting (44-14) and River Ridge (45-31).

Black Hills has wins over Bremerton (50-19), Chief Sealth (41-13) and Prairie (33-28).

Tumwater has wins over Timberline (35-6), Yelm (17-14) and Bellarmine Prep (35-14).

Cascade Christian has a win over Orting (28-7). The Cougars had byes the past two weeks.

Life Christian has wins over Bellevue Christian (33-12), Toutle Lake (32-6) and Winlock (42-21).

5. Wacky weather causes long delays

Lightning struck, and struck, and struck again on Friday night.

Games around the South Sound were delayed 30 minutes each time lightning lit up the sky, and perhaps none were more impacted than the 3A PCL matchup between eighth-ranked Bethel (2-1) and Spanaway Lake (1-2).

A strike before the game pushed kickoff time back. Another stalled the game for an hour in the first quarter. The game ended in thrilling fashion just after 11:15 p.m., with the Braves escaping with a 35-32 win.

Sumner and Puyallup were also delayed with a minute remaining in the first half. Foster and Franklin Pierce, White River and Washington, and Auburn and Kent Meridian also took weather breaks.

And the game between Fife and Lindbergh was suspended in the second quarter, with Fife leading, 43-0. Officials ruled the game complete.

Lauren Smith: 360-754-5473, @smithlm12