The most explosive running back on the Sumner Spartans football team the past two seasons will play college football in his home country.
Spartans senior running back DeJon Lynch, who rumbled for 1,500 yards rushing and 22 touchdowns during the 2013 season, has committed to play college football at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada, this fall.
Lynch grew up on Vancouver Island before moving to Sumner before the start of his junior season in 2012. Lynch said he was proud to be part of a Spartans team that won back-to-back SPSL 2A championships and made two consecutive trips to the Class 2A state quarterfinals.
“We just worked really hard all the time for everything we got,” Lynch said. “It was great to know that all of the hard work my teammates and I put in paid off. Now we are all going our separate ways. Playing for coach (Keith) Ross was great. He was so passionate, it was almost like he was out there playing on the field with us. We always knew he cared about us on and off the field. He always wanted us to get better, which made it easy for all of us to work as hard as we could in practice and in the weight room. It was a great experience.”
Lynch said St. Francis Xavier was the only school he visited during the recruiting process and he liked what he saw.
“It was the first college campus I visited,” he said. “I talked with them on the phone a few times before I flew out to Nova Scotia. I had never been there before but when I got there, I liked it a lot and just knew it was the place for me. Even though it’s in Canada it’s nowhere near where I grew up. It is a six-hour plane ride and is all the way in the East Coast. It is going to be a whole new experience. I’m excited about it.”
Ross, who has been the head coach of the Spartans since 2002, said Lynch doesn’t shy away from challenges.
“When he first got here, he was really raw. We knew he had the talent but he had to learn how to play running back from scratch,” Ross said. “As a coach, it’s your dream to see kids work hard, develop and become successful. He embraced our football culture. Champions work hard all year-round and we expect kids to improve themselves during the off-season. You don’t get better in the season, you get better in the off-season. Dejon totally bought in. Before his senior year, he put on 20 pounds of muscle and he ended up rushing for 1,500 yards.”
Lynch split carries with fellow senior Brandon “Juice” Tuilaepa in 2013 to form one of the top rushing duos in the state. Tuilaepa rushed for 1,400 yards last season.
“I was watching a track meet the other day and I saw Juice and Lynch run their races. I thought to myself, that’s 2,900 yards rushing right there,” Ross said. “Lynch and Austin Striplin (Spartans starting linebacker) start playing in the All-State game on June 21. Both of those kids have earned it and deserve it. They have natural talent, grades, work ethic, are full of character and are humble.”