The Sumner Spartans, who return the majority of their starters from a team that advanced to the Class 2A state quarterfinals, are playing at a level last year’s team didn’t achieve.
Sumner (2-0 overall) scored seven touchdowns en route to a 49-28 victory against the Bonney Lake Panthers (0-2) on Friday night at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner.
It was just the second time in eight years the Spartans won the Sunset Bowl, and the first since 2010.
Spartans senior running back DeJon Lynch had a career night with 225 rushing yards on 20 carries. He busted through the Panthers’ secondary for 61-yard touchdown run in the second quarter and also had a 79-yard scamper in the fourth quarter before he was caught from behind.
Sumner quarterback Chase Torgison hooked up with Lynch on a 4-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter as well. Torgison also connected with Triston Wedington on a 62-yard scoring pass on their first offensive play from scrimmage, and he connected with Wedington again on a 21-yard TD toss on the second offensive possession, giving the Spartans an early 14-7 lead with 5:09 left in the first quarter.
Lynch said the early success of the passing game set the tone for the night.
“We started off the game with a big pass,” he said. “When you come out passing, it makes it easier to run the ball. We almost put up 50 points tonight.
“This is the biggest game of the year for us, especially for the seniors,” Lynch added. “It’s great to come out with a win. That’s all I care about.”
Sumner head coach Keith Ross couldn’t have been happier with how his team has performed in its first two games. The Spartans also scored 49 points in their season opener against Auburn Mountainview.
“Our offense is rolling,” Ross said. “We knew it would, because we can throw the ball and run the ball this year really well.
“We’re playing good defensively and offensively. Our kids are confident and are playing to their expectations. We’re a dangerous team right now.”
Spartans running back Brandon Tuilaepa had 14 carries for 120 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. He said the Spartans’ motto is “ground and pound,” and he credited his offensive linemen for opening holes in the running game.
“The offensive line are our plow horses,” Tuilaepa said. “We rely on them so much to give us the momentum. Without them, where would me and DeJon be? Every single play, when we get back inside that huddle, we say thank you to all of them.”
Sumner will host the Steilacoom Sentinels in first South Puget Sound League 2A contest on Friday night at Sunset Chev Stadium.
Ross said Steilacoom is one of the most physical teams in the league.
“I have been thinking about this game since last year,” he said. “We beat them 28-27 and finished first and second in the league. They’ve got a stable of (running) backs. It is going to be a great test for us. We’re excited we’re going to open with them at home for our first league game. We’ll be ready.”