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The excitement is there for football team
Bainbridge eager to use Gilbreath, defense to make it to state.
Soon after the Bainbridge boys lacrosse team defeated Mercer Island for the state title last May, Dayton Gilbreath sported an Eraserhead haircut at school as part of a team ritual to celebrate their win.
This season, hes at practice with a clean-cut look, but neither he nor head coach Andy Grimm is worried about losing his ability after losing his hair much like the Biblical figure Samson did.
Gilbreath is more concerned about how teams will approach him this season.
I was talking to the Eastside (Catholic) coach at (camp), he said. He said Yeah, we know who you are.
I was like, great.
The success of the Bainbridge football team will depend on how they game plan for their opponents for the 2007 season.
Last year, they went 8-2 and finished second in the Metro League Mountain Division to ODea.
They lost to Shorecrest in the qualifying round of the state playoffs, but Grimm feels they cant let down their guard over their success from last season.
Its constantly figuring out how to retool, he said. The big thing is the kids ability to work hard.
Were at the point of repetition right now, so its bearing through the two-a-days and getting quality reps in everything you do.
The Spartans replace 13 players lost to graduation, including All-Metro first and second team selections in Quinton Agosta, Kyle Petheram, Gabe Culkin and Bryan Gilbreath.
Bryan was also the All-Metro Mountain Division Defensive co-MVP and was named to the Associated Press all-state 3A football first team for offense and defense.
Culkin was named the All-Metro Mountain Division Lineman of the year.
While losing that much talent is always challenging, Grimm said there are several players ready to fill their spots.
Going into last year, we knew we had some quality kids from the year before, but the other kids (coming in) got some quality playing time.
Now theyre going to be counted on. Theyre moving up. Theyre going to be offensive or defensive guys or both.
Chief among those is Dayton Gilbreath, Bryans younger brother.
The senior ran for 1,100 yards and 16 touchdowns last season after missing his sophomore season with a broken leg, showing off a power running style reminiscent of college and NFL star Ricky Williams.
Dayton, an All-Metro first team selection on offense and defense, will start at fullback and defensive end this season, but he wont worry about having to live up to Bryans reputation.
I got big shoes to fill, the co-captain, who is being looked at by BYU, Oregon State and Connecticut for football and Air Force and BYU for lacrosse, said. But weve got quick guys, fast guys and big guys that can score.
Also in the mix in the backfield are juniors Ross Cobb and Mario McLaughlin, senior co-captain Kauika Peleti and seniors Max Olson and Max Sandvig.
Well rely on the run to set up the pass, Grimm said. We think we can do that with out backfield.
Weve got a big-time running back in there with Dayton, but you have capable kids that will be able to help. Well try to spread the ball around a bit and give guys a break here and there.
Junior Colin Feldtman and sophomore Jordan Wagner, a first-year player, will compete for the quarterback spot vacated by Agosta.
Senior Joe Haley is slotted as the emergency quarterback.
Feldtman said neither he nor Wagner are too concerned about getting into a battle for the quarterback spot or living up to Agostas past performances.
We can hopefully bring some leadership to the team, he said. Hopefully we can bring some success and get our team where they want to go.
Also returning to make up the offensive line are juniors James Herman, Kiyle Playter and Zane Sackett and senior Chad Kakela.
Herman, Playter and Sackett were all All-Metro honorable mentions last season.
Charlie Forsyth will round out the starting five while Playter, Sackett and senior Gary French join Dayton on the starting defensive line.
Weve got a quality line, Grimm said. Weve got a handful of guys that can come in and spell those guys (Ian Powell, Wes Saunders, Jethro Cotton) and with the talent in the backfield, we can make things happen.
Feldtman has been impressed with the work ethic of the big men up front.
Our linemen are working hard, Feldtman said. Whenever we do conditioning, theyre doing it at 100 percent.
Dayton thinks the line will help him and the rest of the backs have a standout year running the ball.
Weve actually got a big line this year, Dayton said. Im so excited.
While Playter takes over for Bryan defensively, senior co-captain Mike Walsh moves into the tight end spot.
Among the players ready to replace Petheram at linebacker are Herman, Peleti, junior Kyle Szarzynski and a newcomer in sophomore Austin Reifeis, who moved from Colorado.
Dayton feels that Szarzynski will have a big year after last years breakout performance.
He played really well as a starter last year, he said. He kept up with Kyle and he was always on the play and making the tackle.
Grimm said their defensive front eight is among the best squads out there.
Were pretty solid as far as experience and strength, he said.
Theyll get going against North Kitsap at home next Friday and Bremerton on the road Sept. 7th, then start their league schedule with Chief Sealth on the road Sept. 14th.
To make it back to the playoffs, theyll have to earn either a first or second playoff spot, but theyll have to go through ODea and Eastside Catholic to do it.
Grimm feels they have the team to go as far as they can.
We want the expectation level to remain the same, he said. Thats what the kids expect. They dont want anything different.
Dayton feels theyll be a team in every sense of the word.
Theyve kept the fourth captain spot for Cameron Johnson, who was slated to be the starting quarterback this season but was sent to boarding school after getting into some trouble.
Its his birthday coming up, so were sending him stuff, he said. Were retiring his jersey this year so no one else can be number 7.
Gilbreath said the team is sending him a card and and buying his jersey for him this year.
Hes doing really well and he may be able to come back, he said. Our whole team is behind him and rooting for him. We still believe hes part of the team.
Game time for the North Kitsap game is 7 p.m.