Sports

UPDATE | Spartans fall to Cougars in first non-league football game; Bainbridge turns focus to Kingston

Spartan Coach Andy Grimm watches the team
Spartan Coach Andy Grimm watches the team's first loss unfold at home against the Central Kitsap Cougars.
— image credit: Brian Kelly / Bainbridge Island Review

The snap, crackle and pop was all on the Central Kitsap side as the Cougars ate up the Bainbridge Spartans 48-7 in Friday’s non-league football matchup.

The Cougars first scored 17 seconds into the game after defensive back Greg Cleveland snagged a wayward, high snap for Spartan quarterback Paimon Jaberi and popped into the end zone for the touchdown.

The Cougars added another three TDs in the second quarter, and Bainbridge was held scoreless in the first half, as Central Kitsap served up a dish as appetizing as soggy cereal to a packed house at Bainbridge High School Stadium.

Spartan Coach Andy Grimm said the team’s mistakes had a cascading effect.

“We had some snap-exchange issues we’ve got to clean up,” Grimm said.

“We just got a little amped on Friday. We had the ball sailing a little high, and we were trying to do too much before we caught the ball.

“So that created some problems. You can’t start the play if you don’t have the ball,” he said.

Central Kitsap went into the half with a 28-0 advantage.

Mistakes and missed opportunities haunted the Spartans. Bainbridge recovered a fumble on the Central Kitsap 24-yard line at the start of the second half, but the Cougars quickly responded with an interception by junior safety Andrew Schwieterman. His ensuing 75-yard touchdown return put Central Kitsap ahead 34-0 with 11:27 left in the third.

Still, the Spartans didn’t show an ounce of quit, despite the lopsided score.

Coach Grimm said he expected as much.

“I wouldn’t question their heart at all. They just got a good old-fashioned butt-whipping,” he said.

The Spartans’ only touchdown came in the fourth quarter after Bainbridge recovered a fumble at the Central Kitsap 22-yard line.

On a grinding series of short runs — Matt Stone carrying the ball and a Cougar defender for two yards, Ben Kussie pushing for three yards, and quarterback Paimon Jaberi on a keeper for another three — the Spartans charged deeper into the red zone with just a little more than five minutes left to play.

Then, on fourth-and-two, Jaberi lofted a floater to Oskar Dieterich for a first down that was a Cougar whisker away from the 10-yard line.

Two carries by Max Wysong, one for four yards, the next for one, put the Spartans on the 5-yard line.

Now at third-and-five, Jaberi rolled out on a pass play and with a Central Kitsap defender in hot pursuit, threw to Stone in the end zone.

The pass fell incomplete. But on fourth-and-five, Wysong took the handoff and split the line to his left and scampered into the end zone almost untouched.

A penalty for too many men on the field pushed the Spartans back five yards for the point after attempt, but Sam Kallas nailed the kick for the extra point.

Wysong finished with 14 carries for 47 yards. His longest run was for 14 yards.

Jaberi went 9-for-19 passing, with 114 yards and two interceptions.

Alex Complan had three receptions for 67 yards; Sam Kallas was 3-for-13; Stone was 1-for-30; Dieterich was 1-for-4, and Wysong, 1-for-0.

On defense, the Spartans had three fumble recoveries.

Ryan Comstock, Casey Brink and Kallas had three unassisted tackles each. Ben Kussie, Nick Bierly, Nich Miner, Paris Amore and Wyson had two each.

The Spartans travel to Kingston High on Friday, Sept. 7 to face the Buccaneers for their second game of the season.

Kingston, 5-2 in Olympic League play last year, went to the playoffs for the second year in a row under Coach Dan Novick.

The team is now led by Coach Todd Harder, and Kingston is coming off a 38-17 non-league loss to Steilacoom last week.

“Kingston is going to come play hard and physical,” Grimm said. “And they’ve played us tough every year we’ve played them since they opened their school.

“But we just got to get back to what we do: execute on both sides of the ball on offense and defense. We’ve got to keep it out of their deep people’s hands on punts and kickoffs, and be smart about that,” he said.

While the Spartans did a decent job on coverage against Central Kitsap for the most part, Grimm said the Spartans will try to give the Buccaneers the ball on kickoffs and returns where they can do the least amount of damage.

“If we let people catch it deep, and they have time to set up their blockers, we’re going to be in trouble,” he said.

After watching film of their first game Saturday, the Spartans are ready to put the Central Kitsap game behind them and turn their focus to Kingston.

“What we focused on at the end of the game was: How are we going to improve this week? You went out in your first game and got your butt kicked, how are you going to react?

“Are you going to come back and be that gun-shy person Monday, or come ready to work?” Grimm said.

With Kingston relying on the Power I formation, the Spartans are getting ready for a full-blown ground game.

“They got a fullback that likes to knock people around,” Grimm said. “If we can control their running game and slow them down, and force them to pass, that’s better for us.”

“We just got to hold our space on the line of scrimmage on defense and gang tackle and we’ll be in good shape,” he said.

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