Gridders watch Rainier Beach roll past

Bainbridge cut the ribbon at Rainier Beach’s new sports complex on Friday by scoring the facility’s first-ever touchdown.

But the Vikings did most of the celebrating as they rolled up nearly 500 yards of total offense to hand the Spartans their first defeat of the season, 40-21.

The game could have been considerably closer.

“We let some big plays eat us up,” said coach Andy Grimm, “and we gave them the ball at some key times.”

It didn’t help that the Spartans couldn’t convert several outstanding scoring opportunities, coming away with no points on drives that began on the Rainier Beach 9 and 21 as well as a final push that stalled after a first-and-goal at the Vikings’ 3.

The Spartans began by suggesting that the Seattle Times prediction of a Bainbridge victory might be right on the money.

Aided by a Stefan Peter-Contesse sack of Viking quarterback Jamal Gray -- who would ultimately become the player of the game -- Beach lost six yards on its opening possession and was forced to punt.

Starting on the Beach 49, the Spartans took 10 plays to score, all on the ground, with Andy Aversano diving into the end zone from the one-yard-line on fourth down.

The Spartans forced another punt but after making a first down turned the ball over on a fumble at their own 40. The Vikings needed only four plays to score and converted a two-point conversion try.

The Spartans punted on the ensuing possession and after a clipping penalty -- one of half a dozen major penalties Rainier Beach would incur and overcome -- the Vikings took over on their own 8. Given plenty of time to pass by his massive interior line, Gray hit his receiver on the Beach 40 and he easily outran the secondary for a 92-yard touchdown with 3:31 left in the half.

Bainbridge gained just two yards after the kickoff and punted, but a nifty Beach return put the ball on the Spartan 32 with just over a minute left in the half. Despite offensive pass interference and intentional grounding penalties, the Vikings scored their third touchdown on Gray’s 19-yard pass with 12 seconds remaining.

The second half began inauspiciously with the Spartan kickoff returner falling down at his own 6. Bainbridge went three-and-out and punted. Although a clipping penalty on the return put Beach back on their own 48, they needed just seven plays to score. Gray’s eight-yard TD pass made the score 28-7.

At that point, the Spartan offense, which had gained just 22 yards after the game-opening drive, came alive. Quarterback Clayton Hallum, scrambling left, found Gary Duffner at the Beach 40 and he ran to the 11 before being tackled. On the next play, Hallum hit Teddy Picha in the right flat for a Spartan touchdown. Jeff Tracy converted to make the score 28-14.

The Spartans got a break on the Vikings’ next possession as a bad snap on fourth and long resulted in a hurried punt from the end zone that went out of bounds on the Viking 9. But the Spartans promptly gave the ball back on a fumble. The defense held and another bad snap gave Bainbridge the ball on the Viking 21. Again the Spartans couldn’t take advantage of an opportunity as they could penetrated to the 15 before turning the ball over on downs.

Beach marched downfield, but P.J. Holton’s fumble recovery halted the drive at the Spartan 23 -- or so it appeared as the Bainbridge offensive unit lined up. But the officials abruptly halted play and after a lengthy conference concluded that despite much evidence to the contrary the whistle had blown the play dead prior to the fumble. Given a reprieve and the ball, Beach scored on the next play on Gray’s fourth touchdown pass of the afternoon. The receiver wrestled the ball away from a Spartan defender in the end zone for a 34-14 lead with 9:07 remaining.

Keyed by Michael Wauters’ 34-yard kickoff return, the Spartans drove 51 yards to score. The key plays were Hallum’s 11-yard pass to Picha on fourth and one, and wingback Kenny Walker’s 15-yard inside double reverse to the Beach 4. Walker scored on the next play, breaking several tackles. Tracy’s conversion made the score 34-21 with 6:55 remaining.

The Spartans tried on onside kick but Beach recovered on its own 45 and scored six plays later on a sweep around the left side from 39 yards out.

Bainbridge moved from its own 41 to the Beach 22, where the drive stalled. But Holton recovered a fumble on the next play to give the Spartans another chance. Three plays later they had first and goal on the 3 but couldn’t punch the ball in for a score. Beach took over on the 4 and ran out the clock.

“There were things to be happy about,” said Grimm. “The game gave us a good idea of the caliber of play of the top teams in Metro. If we play mistake-free, we can compete at that level.

“But we just couldn’t take advantage of the breaks.”

Beach amassed 462 yards, 213 through the air and 249 on the ground.

Bainbridge totaled 244, 127 through the air and 117 on the ground.

Hallum was six of sixteen passing for 127 yards, and Picha had three receptions for 62 yards. Walker had 75 yards on 11 rushes. Holton led the team with 11 tackles, Chad Wagoner had seven and Aversano and Duffner had six apiece.

The team plays 2-1 Fife on Friday for Homecoming.

“They’re a lot like us,” said Grimm. “They’ve built their program with this year’s seniors and run the same offense that we do, the wing-T.”

O’Dea JVs 41, Bainbridge JVs 7 – The visiting Irish brought nearly 50 players for Monday’s game and easily handled the Spartans, aided by two interception returns for touchdowns and a third scored on a punt return.

Swimmers set records, still fall

The girls swim team set four pool records, one school record and won eight of 12 events on Friday against Mercer Island – and still lost by 23 points, 104-81.

Mercer Island’s superior depth was the difference, as the Islanders had several 2-3-4 finishes in races that Spartans won, and went 1-2 in two other events. But coach Greg Colby was hardly downcast.

“This is the advantage of being independent this year,” he said. “We can compete with the top teams, and the kids responded by swimming out of their minds. We probably had 20 lifetime bests.”

Emily Silver swam 1:53.05 in the 200 free to set new school and pool standards.

And the ink had barely dried on the 100 free pool record she set last week before she lowered it to 51.58. Both times qualified for high school All-American consideration, with her 100 time just 0.02 seconds away from automatic qualification.

Helen Silver’s 57.18 for the 100 backstroke not only set a pool record but also is an automatic high school All-American qualifying time. Melissa Clune swam 57.91 in the 100 fly for the fourth new pool record. Other meet highlights:

l The Spartans won the opening 200 medley relay, as Helen Silver, Meredith Blumenthal, Clune and Candace Rodda clocked 1:53.26.

l Clune and Rodda went one-two in the 50 free, with Clune’s 25.35 a state qualifying time.

l Helen Silver won the 200 IM in 2:09.55.

l The team of Clune, Emily Silver, Rodda and Helen Silver won the 400 free relay in 4:41.83.

The team hosted Sequim yesterday and travels to Bellevue on Friday for another meet against a major program.

Golfers earn silver vs. Seattle Prep

The Bainbridge boys golf team placed second in their first Metro League match on Monday at Wing Point.

Seattle Prep won the match with a total of 100 points for their four best scorers. Bainbridge was second with 88 points, and West Seattle third with 86 points. Metro League matches are nine-hole contests, scored by points: one point for a double bogey, two points for bogey, three points for par, four points for birdie, and five points for eagle.

Medalist was Andrew Patterson of Seattle Prep, who shot 33 on the par 35 front nine. “This was a notable accomplishment in that this was his first time to play the course,” said coach Doug Cook.

For the Spartans, James Toepel led the way with 38 strokes and 24 points. Jay Clark, a senior playing only his second season of competitive golf, shot 39 for 23 points. Other Spartans were Bob Campbell (41, 21), Hans Olson (42, 20), Peter Oden (44, 18) and Matt Kuchin (45, 17).

The next match is today at Jackson Park.

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