Unbeaten Spartans run out clock, avoid late-game heroics that the Falcons had pulled off throughout season.
BOTHELL – Sumner fans wanted to celebrate. Cheerleaders wanted to start their “I believe that we will win” chant. But everyone waited.
The football-crazed town located east of Tacoma knew a little bit about Woodinville, their Class 4A state playoff opponent. And the little it needed to know is the Falcons don’t give up until time expires. Just ask Bothell, Skyline and Eastlake – all wins Woodinville pulled off late in the game en route to Friday’s quarterfinal.
But the Falcons couldn’t regain the ball after pulling within three points to the Spartans with 3:41 left in Friday. Sumner was able to convert one third-down play to keep possession until time expired, sealing a 16-13 win at Pop Keeney.
“This is amazing, a blessing honestly,” Sumner junior Ben Wilson said.
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Sumner (12-0) will face the winner of Saturday’s game between Camas and Skyline in the state semifinals next week. The Spartans haven’t reached the semifinals since 1977 when they won the overall championship.
A historical feat that felt quick to Spartans coach Keith Ross. Friday’s game was less than two hours long, partly because Woodinville and Sumner play a similar style where they ran the ball to drain the clock and have strong defenses.
“I can’t believe how fast of a game this (was),” Ross said. “When there was 20 seconds to go in the second quarter, I thought it was the first quarter. But I knew that it would be like this. When two great defenses play each other, it’s just who’s going to score and then hold on like we did.”
Falcons quarterback Jaden Sheffey scored a 2-yard touchdown run with 25 seconds left in the opening half to give Woodinville a 6-3 lead at the break.
Sumner used half of the clock in the third quarter to have junior Tre Weed score on a 1-yard run for a 10-6 lead with 6:32 left. Woodinville failed to answer with a 36-yard field goal and Weed scored again. This time a 3-yard run with 11:56 left in the game for a 16-6 lead.
Weed had 118 yards on 24 carries with two touchdowns in the game. He and Wilson were used heavily because leading rusher Connor Wedington suffered a right shoulder injury in Week 10.
The UW commit played in the state opener last week but is now out for the remainder of the season. When the decision was made before Friday’s game, Wedington sent a lengthy text message to Wilson and Weed.
“He said we’re going to have to be the powerhouses of this game, basically,” said Wilson, who sacked Sheffey to force Woodinville to punt on its first possession of the game. “We’ve been preparing for this since August. We just had to keep a mellow tempo, waste some clock and get the game over as quick as possible.”