PUYALLUP, Wash. -- This time of year, it's fair time in Puyallup. But it’s also football time.
The community takes its high school football seriously.
Puyallup Vikings fans have had plenty to cheer about over the years, and the championships to back it up.
“We are a traditional storied program,” said Puyallup Head Coach Gary Jeffers. “People have high expectations for Puyallup.”
Andrew Lawrence is a fan, and also has two boys in the school’s junior football program.
“Puyallup has a longstanding, phenomenal tradition of football and community,” said Lawrence. “It’s really special and you can definitely see the community support here.”
No one has been supporting Puyallup football longer than Clayton Sparks, who can always be found in the stands on game day, drenched in Viking purple.
“I’ve been coming since 1939 when we moved to Puyallup,” said Sparks.
His family moved to town because his father accepted a coaching job at Puyallup.
The football stadium is named after Coach Carl Sparks, and he became a legend in the area starting in the 1940’s when the winning tradition at Puyallup began.
“The team in 1952 only had 26 points scored against them the whole season,” said Clayton. “We won the league championship three out of four years. He set the tone and it was carried on.”
Over the years, Puyallup has been in a lot of big games and championships and won its share as well, including in the 80’s and 90’s under Coach Mike Huard, with his sons Damon and Brock quarterbacking their teams. Both went on to star at the University of Washington and on to the NFL.
“You’re in a legacy program,” said John Anderson, the assistant head coach on the current team. “It’s rare to be able to coach in a legacy program, and it’s a pleasure to come down every Friday night and see the people in the stands. Sometimes there’s losses and sometime there’s wins. But they follow us and you hear about it everywhere you go. They’ll say, ‘Hey coach, great win, or what happened in that loss?’ This community really follows Puyallup football.”
And this season, it’s so far, so good. The team is 2-0 and ranked twelfth in the state as they get ready to face rival Sumner on Friday night.