Footballs in the air are a ritual of early June

of the HeraldJune 11, 2014 

Friday night lights won’t be glistening brightly off the helmets of East Pierce County high school football players in games for close to three months, but that hasn’t stopped a plethora of gridiron enthusiasts from perfecting their skills in preparation for the 2014 season.

Spring football practice sessions opened up this week across Washington. The practice sessions, which begin just a couple of days after the conclusion of the high school spring sports season, give high school football programs a chance to implement their offensive and defensive systems, indoctrinate returning players and incoming players with their core philosophy and focus on the pure fundamentals. I had the opportunity to watch the Sumner Spartans and Puyallup Vikings football teams push themselves through workouts this past week. The 2014 high school football season won’t begin official practice sessions until August, but the season has already started. Spring ball is where the foundation for the upcoming season is constructed.

The Spartans, who are moving up to the Class 3A ranks from 2A this fall, graduated star players Austin Striplin (offensive line/linebacker), DeJon Lynch (running back) and Brandon “Juice” Tuilaepa (running back/safety) but return talented playmakers Chase Torgison (quarterback), Josh Riley (running back), Triston Wedington (wide receiver) and Austin Gregg (wide receiver) to the fold.

Puyallup was a senior-laden team a year ago as Matt Voss (offensive lineman), Quinn Rawson (offensive lineman), Trevor Whitney (running back), Levi Jordan (wide receiver/safety) and Trent Nivala are gone due to graduation. The Vikings may look inexperienced on paper this fall, but year in and year out head coach Gary Jeffers always fields teams that are competitive in every aspect of the game. The Vikings believe in the mantra of reloading and not rebuilding. The high school football season will be here sooner rather than later. I can’t wait!

Shaun Scott: 253-552-7002 shaun.scott@puyallupherald.com

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