Sports

Gridders fall to Eastside Catholic

Grant Leslie runs onto the field during player introductions Friday at the BHS Homecoming game.  - RYAN SCHIERLING/Staff Photo
Grant Leslie runs onto the field during player introductions Friday at the BHS Homecoming game.
— image credit: RYAN SCHIERLING/Staff Photo

It was not what you’d call a Homecoming to remember.

The Bainbridge Spartan gridders surrendered a 27-point second quarter en route to a 34-7 defeat at the hands of Eastside Crusaders Friday evening.

The Spartans only managed to avert a shutout with seven minutes left in the game, when quarterback Grant Leslie rolled right and hit a wide-open Zach Ainsley in the end zone for a 20-yard strike.

“We’re finding out that when we’re not executing at a high level, we can’t compete with the teams at the upper level of the division,” Spartan coach Andy Grimm said.

A week after a shining performance against Fife, Leslie completed just 10 of 28 passes for 131 yards and was intercepted four times.

Working without primary receiver Mike Ersser, who was sidelined with a pinched nerve, Leslie was harassed throughout the contest by onrushing Crusaders, and was brought down in the backfield on several plays. The passing game was a Zach attack, with the like-named Spartans Townsend, Ainsley and Smith combining for nine catches for 98 yards.

Seven Spartans got carries from the backfield, but combined for just 58 yards rushing on the evening; sacks against Leslie lowered that to 13 yards net.

Sadly, several first-quarter opportunities went for naught.

An early drive abetted by facemask and roughing-the-punter penalties against EC put the Spartans within 25 yards of the Crusader goal line until an interception closed the door.

An Angelo Ritualo punt return later in the quarter set Bainbridge up at the Eastside 34; hard running by Ainsley and Chris North and a short completion to Towsend moved the ball to the 10.

But on fourth and five, Leslie was chased out of bounds before he could find a receiver, and the ball went over on downs.

Eastside broke through with nine minutes to go in the half, when halfback John Sirlin marched in from three yards out after a drive that began near midfield.

That opened the floodgates; the Crusaders scored three more times before the half ended, twice in the last two minutes. Several blocked point-afters were small consolation for the home team.

The second half was much the same story. A 33-yard bootleg pass to Matt Draper and a short Ainsley run gave the Spartans second-and-eight on the Crusader nine midway through the third quarter, but a sack of Leslie moved the team backwards. A fourth-down pass was tipped away in the end zone.

Eastside ran the margin to 34 points on a 19-yard touchdown pass near the end of the quarter.

The teams played evenly through a perfunctory fourth quarter, highlighted only by the Spartans’ lone score.

Such was the contest that it was marred by poor sportsmanship on the field and off.

Eastside players twice were flagged for unseemly behavior, including taunting the Spartans with a dance. Bainbridge fans sitting near the scoring booth were pelted throughout the evening with screaming and profanities from EC’s spotters.

“It kind of surprised me,” Grimm said of the Crusaders’ comportment, adding that he didn’t believe the displays reflect the work of the EC coaching staff. He described the poor decorum as “crap” that young players pick up from watching college and pro football on television.

“We tell our kids to prove it on the field – you don’t need to do all the dance stuff and the finger-pointing,” Grimm said. “Let your performance speak.”

On the positive side, Grimm praised the defensive play of Kornfeld and August Katzer. Kornfeld and Blake Jensen recovered fumbles, while junior Will Glass had his first interception.

The Spartans head out on the road this Friday to meet the Irish of O’Dea in a 7 p.m. contest at West Seattle Stadium.

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