Spartans rout NK rivals, 21-6

Spartan rushers Max Kauffman (No. 23) rolled behind a line including Gabe Culkin and Tom Hannuksela (Nos. 76, 64) to defeat the Vikings 21-6.  - DOUGLAS CRIST/Staff Photo
Spartan rushers Max Kauffman (No. 23) rolled behind a line including Gabe Culkin and Tom Hannuksela (Nos. 76, 64) to defeat the Vikings 21-6.
— image credit: DOUGLAS CRIST/Staff Photo

The Spartans rack up 335 yards through a punishing ground game in the opener.

Happiness in beating your rival at home is getting to leave the score on the scoreboard long after the game is over.

The Bainbridge Spartans earned that right Friday, rolling up 335 rushing yards in a season-opening 21-6 victory over the North Kitsap Vikings.

After the game, the players held up two fingers for the number of years in a row they’ve defeated NK, and coaches pointed to the scoreboard often during their postgame huddle to emphasize the achievement.

“They had size on us, and we were just hoping we could just wear them down, and I think we did a good job of that,” Spartan head coach Andy Grimm said. “Our line guys, most of them are between 210, 215 (pounds), but they’re pretty fit so that helped.”

Fullback Carter Williams busted out for a 20-yard run on the first play from scrimmage, setting the tone for the rest of the game.

Williams and senior running back Jake Hinton combined to lead the offense down the field on traps and counter plays, with running back Max Kauffman scoring the first touchdown of the season on a 17-yard run.

The Spartans drove down the field again after holding the Vikings to a three -and-out, but quarterback Quinton Agosta’s pass was picked off at the 23-yard line by NK cornerback Evan Henry.

Bainbridge forced a punt and drove again to the 10 yard line. North Kitsap’s defense gave little ground, but on fourth and four, Agosta, scrambled out of the pocket and found wide receiver Bryan Gilbreath in the end zone for the score.

The Vikings could get little going for the rest of the half, with one drive ended by an interception by Spartan defensive back Max Olsen. North drove to the goal line as time wound down in the half, but receiver Brian Cleaver couldn’t hang on to quarterback Paul Stock’s pass in the end zone as time expired.

“We had a couple of opportunities,” North Kitsap head coach Steve Frease said. “But we had a couple of missed calls on our part.”

Bainbridge continued the dominance on both sides of the ball in the second half, working the wing-T formation to near perfection while keeping North Kitsap from getting anything going on the offensive side.

The Spartans put the game away in the fourth after another long drive, when running back Clif McKenzie scored from four yards on a reverse.

North Kitsap got on the board on a short run by Greg Ottele with less than a minute left, but as the Bainbridge fans chanted, it “didn’t matter.”

Center Josh Truan, who left the game with a minor injury in the fourth quarter but won’t miss any time, said it took a few days for the team to get fired up about the battle with their rival.

“Earlier in the week we were having a really hard time focusing up,” he said. “So we had a practice where as captains we had to say, ‘Come on guys, we got a game in two days. We gotta focus up.’ I think that came out during the game.

“Our attitude during the game was incredible. To come out in the first half all fired up and our adrenaline was pumping, it was great.”

Williams finished with 35 carries for 171 yards, while Kauffman rushed for 92 yards and the score. Hinton finished with 10 rushes for 73 yards.

The Spartans travel to Seattle to play Nathan Hale Friday at 7 p.m.

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