The Sumner High School football team’s mid-term exam ended up being nothing more than a breeze Friday night against the Franklin Pierce Cardinals.
Both teams went into the game undefeated, and Sumner walked away with its perfect record intact courtesy of a 28-6 win in a Class 2A South Puget Sound League matchup in Parkland.
Sumner (5-0 overall) forced Franklin Pierce to punt five times and picked off Cardinals quarterback Daniel Wheelock twice in the first half.
Sophomore defensive back Josh Riley made the play of the game for the Spartans when he intercepted a Wheelock pass and returned it 56 yards for a touchdown to give Sumner a 14-0 lead with 2:51 left in the first quarter.
Spartans head coach Keith Ross said that set the tone for the game.
“That is what Josh Riley is all about,” Ross said. “Whenever he gets a chance, he seems to make good on it. That was a huge play for us. Any time you can score on defense and get the momentum, it’s a big play.”
Sumner middle linebacker Austin Striplin said he knew Riley had what it took to shine on the grand stage.
“Josh Riley is a playmaker,” Striplin said. “He really showed what he could do today.”
The Spartans scored all four of their touchdowns in the first half. Running backs Brandon Tuilaepa and DeJon Lynch each tallied a score, and Austin Gregg hauled in a 47-yard touchdown pass from Chase Torgison to extend Sumner’s lead to 28-0 just before halftime.
Torgison’s strike to Gregg was set up when Sumner cornerback Jace Johnson made a one-handed interception late in the second quarter.
“We did everything we were supposed to do in the first half,” Ross said. “We score 28 points and hold them to zero. We got a bunch of three-and-outs and got big hits and big turnovers.
“I’m really happy,” he said. “Franklin Pierce is a really good team, and this is a great team win.”
Tuilaepa, who rushed for a team-high 81 yards, said the Spartans get an edge because they pay attention to detail in the film room.
“We are constantly watching film which allows to call out the plays on the field that we need to make,” he said. “Our defense stuck together and was strong tonight. We always keep each other up and never give up. We always come in prepared and believe we can win every game.”
Sumner will face Orting this Friday night. Ross said the schools are separated by just eight miles.
“Orting always plays us tough,” he said. “We’re going to be ready for them.
Striplin is excited to face the Cardinals, too.
“That’s the battle of the valley right there,” he said. “It is going to be a good one. That is a big rivalry game.”