Sports

Spartans drop close contest to Eastside

(top) Bainbridge safety Mike Walsh (right) picks off a pass intended for Eastside Catholic wide receiver Vince Taylor in their 22-16 loss to the Crusaders Friday night. At left is Steffen Dacquisto (middle) The student section celebrates Dayton Gilbreath’s touchdown in the second quarter. (bottom) Gilbreath can’t escape from defensive back Matt Freeman. The senior co-captain had 77 yards on 17 carries.  - Brad Camp/Staff Photos
(top) Bainbridge safety Mike Walsh (right) picks off a pass intended for Eastside Catholic wide receiver Vince Taylor in their 22-16 loss to the Crusaders Friday night. At left is Steffen Dacquisto (middle) The student section celebrates Dayton Gilbreath’s touchdown in the second quarter. (bottom) Gilbreath can’t escape from defensive back Matt Freeman. The senior co-captain had 77 yards on 17 carries.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photos

Loss puts them back in the Mountain Division race.

The frustration was evident in Andy Grimm’s voice and body language during the post-game meeting.

It was also plain to see on the player’s faces after the Bainbridge football team lost to Eastside Catholic 22-16 Friday night at Memorial Stadium.

They felt they should have won this game, but couldn’t overcome the injuries and bad breaks.

“I was just bummed that we couldn’t be healthier there at the end,” Grimm said. “They did what they had to at the end: just grind the clock down and get first downs. It’s just tough because you’re so banged up.”

Running back Ross Cobb agreed.

“We had some unlucky things (happen),” he said. “Our middle linebacker who makes most of our tackles (Kyle Szarzynski) was out (hurt), Dayton (Gilbreath) got hurt, which is one of our key players. We had a lot of things go against us this game.”

In a battle of two ranked teams – both the Spartans and Crusaders were ranked in the latest Associated Press 3A football poll and the Seattle Times’ football poll – in front of a jam-packed house, both teams came out ready to play.

On Eastside Catholic’s second drive, they used a 44-yard gain from their standout wide receiver Vince Taylor – who was used in the running back spot – to get to the one-yard line.

Quarterback Chris Traynor took care of the rest with a one-yard sneak for the score.

Bainbridge was able to move the ball down the field on their next drive thanks to several big runs from Ross Cobb, but turned the ball over on downs inside the red zone.

The Crusaders couldn’t capitalize though, turning the ball over when Mike Walsh and Stephen Dacquisto combined to make a nice play and pick off a pass intended for Taylor.

“Mike Walsh and Kauika Peleti and Joe Haley, they did a great job defending him (Taylor),” Gilbreath said. ”He’s a good athlete, but they did a great job.”

Bainbridge couldn’t convert, but Kevin McCormick made a great punt to trap Eastside Catholic near the goal line.

Taylor broke off a 21-yard run to get them out of trouble, but he couldn’t handle the pitch from Chris Traynor on the next play and the Spartans recovered.

An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty put Bainbridge at the one-yard line, but two penalties and a sack pushed them back at the 25-yard line.

The Spartans got the benefit of a pass interference call and Gilbreath did the rest, scoring on a six yard run to tie the game up.

But Taylor lived up to his reputation as a gamebreaker on the kickoff, breaking several tackles on an 85-yard return.

“He’s gonna get one play (and score) on most teams,” Grimm said. “He made plays in the state playoffs against Bellevue. But I thought they did a good job (defending him).”

The Spartans bounced back on their next drive, getting two big runs from Cobb, another unsportsmanlike conduct foul on Eastside Catholic and a great pass from Jordan Wagner to Walsh who was stopped just inches short of the goal line.

“Mike Walsh made a great catch near the end zone,” Gilbreath said. “Too bad he couldn’t score. It should’ve been his.”

Wagner ran in for the one-yard score, but a false start penalty pushed Bainbridge back on the point attempt, with Colin Feldtman’s kick sailing wide of the goal posts.

After a scoreless third quarter, the Spartans put together a long drive but lost the use of Gilbreath and Cobb, who sprained an ankle and had the wind knocked out of him respectively.

Cobb came back, but it wasn’t enough, putting Feldtman out for a 29-yard field goal attempt.

He got the ball just over the crossbar, but it was enough to send he, his teammates and the crowd in a frenzy.

“It was pretty nerve-racking,” he said of the kick. “I was thinking about it all day; I was hoping it was coming to a field goal. I was ready to just put it to bed.”

The Crusaders wouldn’t go to sleep just yet, as they used running back Mike Bush on six of eight plays on their drive, ending with a 16-yard score by Bush to put them ahead for good.

Traynor connected with Nick Tengtio for the two-point conversion.

“I think we did good on Vince, but I think we might have isolated him more than their running back,” Walsh said.

“We didn’t give him enough respect. He’s a good back.”

“I think the biggest thing for us was the tackling at the end of the game. Instead of hitting higher and higher, with that running back we should have hit lower and lower. We just didn’t finish plays.”

Grimm felt that not having Gilbreath in at end hurt them as well.

Bainbridge went three-and-out on their last drive, as Wagner just missed a wide-open Walsh on third down.

The Crusaders used Bush the rest of the way to run out the clock and seal the win.

“We took them down to the wire, but they did a nice job of getting that last touchdown,” Grimm said. “(It’s a) great effort by the kids. I’m proud of them.”

Gilbreath felt the same way.

“I’m really happy with my team.” he said. “Everyone stepped up. Jordan was the bomb, Kauika (Peleti) blocked like he never did before (and) Ross Cobb kept drives going. He did great. He probably got over a 100 yards and he looked good.

“I’m excited to get back (to work),” he continued “I love the guys I work with. I love that everyone steps up and no one puts any pressure on anyone. Everyone takes it upon themselves to get ready.”

Cobb said they hope to work on their passing game.

“We need a pass(ing game) against O’Dea,” he said. “This is the first game we passed and it seemed to work to our advantage.”

Wagner was 4 of 7 for 40 yards against the Crusaders.

They’ll have to get ready to face undefeated O’Dea at 7 p.m. Friday at West Seattle Stadium with several players banged up.

Gilbreath suffered a high ankle sprain and will be reevaluated tomorrow.

Szarzynski, Kiyle Playter and Gary French are also dealing with nagging injuries.

Grimm said he feels they’ll be ready by Friday, but if Gilbreath can’t go, they have a backup plan.

Walsh said they’ll be ready no matter what.

“This is just going to inspire us so much more to beat them, because in our league one loss or two losses (means) you could be out for good,” he said.

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