2014 Team Preview: Sumner Spartans

Sumner Spartans

 

Five Key Players

WR Triston Wedington (6’1″ 185, ’15) – Wedington is the top “Big Play Threat” offensively for the Spartans. He is one of the top wideouts in the state, and is receiving D1 interest. He was a 1st team All-SPSL member in 2013, following a 41 catch – 13 TD season.

QB Chase Torgison (6’1″ 195, ’15) – Torgison will be a four-year starter for the Spartans. He is the unquestioned leader of the offense, and should get the chance to throw more this season. He was a 1st team All-SPSL member, after finishing last year with 1,200 yards, 16 TD’s.

LB Jesse Lindahl (6’0″ 210, ’15) – Lindahl has the ability to get from sideline to sideline, and is an athlete the coaching staff is very excited about. He was a 1st team All-SPSL member last season, and returns to take the leading role this season.

OL/DL Nick Farman (6’1″ 230, ’15) – Farman is the leader of both the offensive and defensive lines for the Spartans. He is a bit undersized, but plays much bigger than he is. Farman was a 1st team All-SPSL member last season offensively.

RB/LB Josh Riley (5’10” 171, ’16) – Riley is another athlete the coaching staff is very excited about, as he has big time potential on both sides of the ball. He returns on the defensive side as a S/LB, and will see time this season at RB as well.

 

Overview

Spartans head coach Keith Ross is one of the more underrated coaches in the state. He is heading into his 13th season at the helm, and has guided his teams to multiple league titles.

Sumner is a run first offense, almost exclusively from the split back formation. Not many teams, if any, us this formation as much as the Spartans, but nobody has as much success as they have either.

Last season the Spartans went with a senior duo in the backfield, consisting of DeJon Lynch and Branden Tuilaepa, and  rode those horses all the way to an SPSL title.

This year, they will go with a bit of a youth movement, as junior Josh Riley and sophomore Connor Wedington will see a bulk of the carries.

Wedington is a name you will want to keep an eye on over the next three years, as he has potential to be a big time athlete.

As much as the Spartan coaching staff likes to run the ball, they may have never had so many receiving options offensively.

Senior Triston Wedington returns to lead this talented group, that also features big play targets Austin Gregg, Josiah Fidecaro, Elijah Netzer, Scott Allsop. Gregg missed a portion of last season due to an offseason motorcycle accident, but appears ready to make a huge impact. Fidecaro and Netzer are both underclassmen, that the coaching staff is really excited about.

Being a four-year starter at any position is impressive, doing it at QB is about as impressive as it gets, but that is exactly what Chase Torgison has done. The Spartan coaching staff knows they can lean on “Torgi” to make the right decisions to keep the offense moving.

Sumner traditionally has a big-physical offensive line, and while that may not be the case this year, they still have a solid group, led by Nick Farman, a senior that coach Ross raves about. Add in Eli Hofto, Troy Salisbury, Collin Baker, Kelley Kraegar, and you have a good set of scrappy lineman that should open plenty of holes.

The strength of the Sumner defense is in the linebackers. Coach Ross works with that position, and thinks this may be the best group he has had. They are led by Jesse Lindahl, who will be relied on to pick up the slack of losing Austin Striplin to graduation.

Teaming with Lindahl in the middle is Jack McDonald, while Gage Whitehead and Riley return to man the outside of the four-man group. This foursome has speed and athleticism to fly to the ball, and a tenacity to come up to the line and stick opposing ball carriers.

The lone starter returning in the defensive secondary is senior corner Austin Ford, but the coaching staff is still very confident in their abilities. Opposite ford the Spartans look like they will go with Payton Hernandez, while Sky Sandretzky will be the deep man playing free safety.

Farman and Salisbury return as starters on the defensive line, and team with Jake Harmon (DT) and Taurus  Kukahiko (DE).  Much like the offensive line, they may be a bit undersized, but play with a nastiness that is expected from a Keith Ross “Black Flag” defense.

The Bottom Line: Sumner makes the jump from 2A to a much tougher 3A conference this coming season. They start with two home games that should help them come together before league play. The three-game stretch mentioned below should go a long way to determining weather the Spartans are able to grab one of the four SPSL berths into the round of 32 playoffs.

 

Key Games

vs. Peninsula 10/3

@ Auburn 10/9

@ Lakes 10/17

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