Sports

UPDATE | Spartans learn tough lessons against powerful Crusaders

Spartan tight end/running back Casey Brink, recently returned to the field after being forced to sit out the first several games of the season due to minor injuries, runs through the Crusaders defense late in the fourth-quarter for the return that would put the Spartans in range for their only touchdown of the game.    - Luciano Marano | Bainbridge Island Review
Spartan tight end/running back Casey Brink, recently returned to the field after being forced to sit out the first several games of the season due to minor injuries, runs through the Crusaders defense late in the fourth-quarter for the return that would put the Spartans in range for their only touchdown of the game.
— image credit: Luciano Marano | Bainbridge Island Review

There seemed to be some light at the end of the dark and gloomy Bainbridge football tunnel.

There was. It just wasn’t enough.

The collective mood ended at a low point for Spartan fans as the varsity team just barely managed a late fourth-quarter touchdown - scoring for the first time with only 2:19 remaining - to avoid a shutout in their home game against the Eastside Catholic High School Crusaders Friday, Sept. 27.

The final score was 48-6 Eastside.

“We were overmatched,” said Spartan Head Coach Andy Grimm.

“That’s a team [Eastside] that played for the state championship last year, but we saw definite improvement even if the score did not reflect it,” Grimm added.

The Crusaders pulled ahead early with several touchdowns in rapid succession, and led 35-0 at the end of the first half.

From the very start of the game things did not seem to be working for the Spartans, and even quarterback Connor Teddy, who routinely has passed more than 100 yards in a game, failed to reach his usual numbers. He passed for a total of 38 yards with five completions.

The defeat was unpleasant but not entirely surprising considering the size and experience of the Eastside team. Many Spartans looked at Friday’s game as an indicator of their own abilities when faced with a truly difficult competitor.

“It’s a good measure for us against one of the best teams in the state,” said Bainbridge senior linebacker Jackson Larkin.

Coach Grimm agreed, saying that the playing experience was invaluable for his team.

“You never go into a game wanting the moral victory,” he said. “When it’s all said and done you want to feel like you went out there and competed the best you could.”

A last-minute rally from the Spartans resulted in the team’s only touchdown of the game, and avoided a shutout, late in the fourth quarter.

“We’ve been preaching the last couple of weeks at getting better,”  Grimm said. “And I think they took that to heart at half time.”

A big run by Bainbridge junior running back Casey Brink put the team in range for the touchdown, scored by Taylor Wilson on a one-yard run.

Brink led the team defensively, accumulating 10 unassisted and one assisted tackle.

Max Wickline also played well, and ended the game with eight unassisted tackles. Jarett Grimm managed seven unassisted tackles and teammate Jeremy Greer contributed seven solo tackles.

Despite the disappointing score, Grimm said the team has indeed improved dramatically from where they were playing at the start of the season.

“Taylor Wilson has been a very consistent factor on both sides of the ball,” he said.

“Up front, Jarett [Grimm] has had a solid year so far, and the rest of the linemen are rounding into shape. Max Wickline, he’s a junior, started showing some things against Eastside,” Grimm said. “He has the ability to take on blockers and make tackles.”

The Spartans were forced to play Eastside without several key starting players, who were temporarily benched for minor injuries.

Most are due to return this week, another factor that Grimm expects to improve the team’s chances.

The Spartans are currently 0-4 in non-league play for the season.

BHS plays its next game at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, on the road against Bishop Blanchet High.

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