'We know we should have won'
June 9, 2008 · Updated 7:37 PM
"The tears said it all.The stained faces and stinging eyes spotted up and down the Memorial Stadium sideline after Friday night's heartbreaking 24-21 loss to Yelm showed how close the Bainbridge High School football team came to winning - and they showed how far the Spartans have come from two lopsided losses to open the season to put themselves in a position to win.Senior Clayton Wiggins can offer ample testament to them, having tasted the highest and lowest moments of his team's latest Pierce County League contest.His 19-yard touchdown rumble in the first quarter gave Bainbridge its opening score. And his fumbled punt midway through the fourth quarter gave Yelm the game's closing score.Wiggins, a three-year varsity player who has rode along with the few soaring peaks and ample valleys of head coach Andy Grimm's tenure, put an emotional spin on his coach's call to put the agony behind him and look forward to possible ecstacy in Friday night's home contest against Fife - a squad the Spartans stuck for an emotional 7-6 road loss last year.The attitude is not a negative one at all, Wiggins said Monday. We know we played our hearts out and no one is being critical of anyone else.We know we should have won that game, and we're going to take that determination and use it to fill the hole in our hearts. We're going to win Friday night.The Spartans played with a similar fire against the Tornados. The team's first drive, keyed by three long slashing runs from senior Lance Mazey, got Bainbridge to within field goal range. Mazey, however, was hurt on his fourth carry - an ankle injury that prevented him from re-entering the game - and placekicker Jeff Tracy missed wide right on his 31-yard attempt.Yelm then scored on an 80-yard drive, but two possessions later, following Marc Rasmussen's fumble recovery, the Spartans got the equalizer from Wiggins - a blast set up by his 23-yeard ramble two plays before.Wiggins then got the Spartans started on a short-lived lead with a fumble recovery, then set up a four-yard running score by junior quarterback Clayton Hallum with a 29-yard catch of a Hallum toss.Yelm, behind star running back Jacob Bechtel, closed out the half with a 14-14 tie, and edged ahead midway through the third period on Marlin Langworthy's 31-yard field goal.But Bainbridge, not discouraged in the least, stormed back behind punishing runs from sophomore Andy Aversano (eight carries, 32 yards) and Gary Duffner (five carries, 40 yards). Hallum, after an eight-year scramble, then connected perfectly with junior Adam Smith on a 23-yard rollout pass for the go-ahead touchdown.The game's deciding point came on Yelm's next drive. Following solid hits by defenders P.J. Holton, Chris Mandell and Stefan Peter-Contesse, the Tornados were forced to punt with 6:52 remaining in the game. Wiggins bobbled the ball, however, and Yelm recovered on Bainbridge's nine-yard line.Two plays later, Yelm went ahead - for good - on a floating pass that just brushed defender Liam Corey's fingertips. Bainbridge got three more chances, but bad decisions by inexperienced players snuffed each potential rally.The numbers bear out Bainbridge's superlative effort, however. The ground game gutted out 212 yards, led by Wiggins' 61. Hallum, in just his third varisty game, completed 7 of 14 passes. And 12 different players got their licks in on defense, led by linebacker P.J. Holton's 10 primary and seven assisted tackles. Duffner had eight tackles, and Wiggins, Rasmussen and Tracy each accounted for five.It was a tough game, but I think the kids battled back well in the second half, Grimm said. We told the kids they'd be in a big battle, and they went out shooting.If payback is to be had, Fife would seem to present the most likely opportunity of the season. The Trojans, 58-0 losers to Lakes last week, are similar in size to the Spartans and run the same Wing-T offense.Bainbridge defensive coordinator Jim West, addressing his tear-stained troops after the game, might have said it best.We can put this behind us and move on to the next game, he said. Let's come out and show Fife we can play football.Bainbridge JV 6, Sequim 6: The Spartans came back from a halftime deficit to tie the Monday road contest on a four-yard run near the end of the third quarter by sophomore Spencer Evans.No overtime was played in the contest, which was marked by what coach Mike Roe called great Bainbridge defense.They're a good crew, and they're getting better ever game, Roe said.Bainbridge (2-0-1) hosts Klahowya next Monday in a 5 p.m. contest. "