The past two seasons have been glorious for the Sumner Spartans on the gridiron. Sumner made two appearances in the Class 2A quarterfinals and won a total of 20 games during that time frame. Sumner head coach Keith Ross is a stickler for the fundamentals of the game, which was on display during the second day of spring football practice sessions June 3 at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner. Ross coached up his players on the basics of form tackling during the initial stages of practice.
“The first couple of days of spring we are blocking and tackling all practice long,” Ross said. “We talk about blocking, tackling and taking care of the ball. We have been pretty successful doing that lately. Fundamentals win games. Coaches don’t outsmart coaches very often. Kids have to win games, and we’ve got to put our kids in a position to be successful. We’re trying to outplay people.”
The Spartans dominated the SPSL 2A the past two years, but will be moving up to SPSL 3A this fall. SPSL 3A powers include the Peninsula Seahawks, Lakes Lancers and Bonney Lake Panthers. The league will also consist of Auburn Riverside, Auburn, Auburn-Mountainview and Enumclaw.
“Obviously, moving up to a new league will be exciting, and we’re prepared to take that challenge on,” the coach said. “It’s a new round of teams and we’ve come to the conclusion that we are ready for the challenge. We are going to play hard.”
The Spartans’ offense will be in good hands with senior quarterback Chase Torgison back for his final season. Torgision, who has been the Spartans’ starting quarterback since halfway through his freshman season, has a trio of experienced weapons to throw to in the passing game. Senior wideouts Triston Wedington and Austin Gregg have the ability to stretch the field, and running back Josh Riley is a threat out of the backfield as well. Torgison said the Spartans aren’t intimidated by moving up to the 3A ranks.
“It is definitely going to be more competition for us but we feel like we can handle it,” Torgison said. “Coach Ross always gets us ready to play. I have confidence in our coaching staff and I have confidence in our team that we will be ready for it. We will put up a good fight no matter what. Our defense is going to be a strength again. Ross is all about defense and he will make sure we have the right techniques and have the defense ready to play.”
Riley, the running back, said Torgison is the definition of a leader.
“Torgy knows what he is doing and knows what needs to be done,” Riley said. “He is just working every day to get better. He is a great leader. Every day before practice or before we hit the weight room, he is out here throwing with the receivers.”
Gregg expects the Spartans to throw the ball more than in previous seasons. In 2013, Lynch and Tuilaepa combined to rush for 2,900 yards.
“We’re going to start passing more,” Gregg said. “We’re motivated and we got the confidence that we’re going to do well, We have a brotherhood. We don’t yell at each other when we mess up like a lot of other teams. We don’t break each other down. We build each other up.”