Grid gains outweigh 49-35 loss

"Thirty-five points on the road simply hasn't happened for the Bainbridge High School football team in a long time.And that, not the final score, is what Spartans fans should take away from last Friday's 49-35 Pierce County League loss to Franklin Pierce.We were pleased and we talked about it, said Bainbridge head coach Andy Grimm of the practice atmosphere following the previous week's 17-12 Homecoming triumph over Fife. We could see we were putting things together and getting better, and we decided we needed to make some noise Friday night.Noise they made, all right, behind a balanced running attack and a rejuvenated passing game.Seven different running backs, led by seniuor Lance Mazey (12 carries, 64 yards, one touchdown) ground out 187 yards. And quarterbacks Clayton Hallum and Scott Burkland combined for seven pass completions in 14 attempts - and three touchdowns.On the receiving end, junior Teddy Picha - away from football for the past several years - emerged as Bainbridge's most reliable threat all season with five catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns, including a 40-yarder. On defense, the two-way starters shone brightest. Sophomore Andy Aversano, who also rushed eight times for 49 yards, made six solo tackles. Junior P.J. Holton, who also caught an 18-yard touchdown pass, accounted for a team-high seven solo tackles and assisted on 2.5 more. Clayton Wiggins added six solo tackles, and junior Jeff Tracy contributed four takedowns in addition to his unsung yeoman's work as a blocking wide receiver - and, by the way, made all five of his extra-point kicks.Marc Rasmussen made his mark with a 10-yeard interception return, a fumble recovery and two tackles.In the end, however, Franklin Pierce's dynamic option quarterback was the difference.After sitting for a stretch as the Spartans tied the game briefly at 28-all early in the fourth quarter, Aaron Joseph exploded. His 60-yard, multiple-tackle-breaking run midway through the period set up a 1-yard keeper run. Moments later, he put the game away with a 69-yards camper.Despite that, Grimm praised his defense on one simple principle. Getting beaten on big plays is more a credit to another team's offense than a detriment to his own defensive effort.It's not as though we had kids not being in the right spots and just missing plays, he said. Those last scores were pretty much a one-man show by a guy nobody could contain.There was other bad news on the Spartan sideline, however, than a mere loss. Hallum, who departed the game early after a hard shot to the the head by a Cardinal defender, may have suffered a concussion and according to Grimm, is unlikely to see action this Friday night.That leaves the Spartan signal-calling in the hands of Burkland, a sophomore who brings to the field many of the same virtues as his older brother Tyler, who graduated last year after two seasons as Bainbridge's top two-way player.He's more elusive, more of a threat, Grimm said of the 5-8, 165-pounder. He just needs the experience. And this next game will be a good place to get it.Bainbridge expects more good things in its next game, a home tilt against North Mason. The Bulldogs, 1-4, are coming off a 64-7 loss to Lakes.They're rebuilding, and they should be even with us, Grimm said. They'll be more physical, but I think we can match up with them if we stay within our systems.We expect to have a good, tough game, and we expect to be able to pull out a win.Gig Harbor JV 12, Bainbridge JV 6: Ian Laughlin's four-yard scoring sweep in the first half was all Bainbridge could manage Monday night in its first loss of the season.We had some chances, but they capitalized on a few more of those than we did, Bainbridge coach Mike Roe said.The Spartans, now 3-1-1, next play Monday at North Kitsap. "

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