Sports

Spartans turfed out by Vikings

(Top) Junior quarterback Jason Haley looks for an open receiver with a North Kitsap defender in hot pursuit. Haley was just 3 of 10 for 81 yards and was on the run for much of the night as the Spartans lost to the Vikings 33-7 Saturday at North Kitsap.  -
(Top) Junior quarterback Jason Haley looks for an open receiver with a North Kitsap defender in hot pursuit. Haley was just 3 of 10 for 81 yards and was on the run for much of the night as the Spartans lost to the Vikings 33-7 Saturday at North Kitsap.
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Too many errors put Bainbridge in a hole early.

POULSBO – It was a new era for the North Kitsap Vikings – a new classification (they moved down to 3A and took up residence in the Olympic League), new helmets and uniforms and a brand new artificial turf field.

But in its long-standing rivalry with Bainbridge, North Kitsap turned in a performance Saturday night that was reminiscent of their glory days, defeating the Spartans 33-7 at North Kitsap Stadium in Poulsbo.

It’s the first win for North Kitsap over Bainbridge in four years.

Too many turnovers, penalties and a relentless Viking rush ultimately led to Bainbridge’s downfall.

“I didn’t expect this,” senior co-captain Kiyle Playter said. “I really didn’t expect this. I thought it was going to be a close game, but they came to play. They wanted revenge.”

Bainbridge head coach Andy Grimm said that North outexecuted them in every facet of the game.

“I thought we played hard, but we didn’t adjust to what they were doing,” he said. “That’s the coaches’ fault and we’ve got to do a better job of helping them adjust and the kids have to take that to the (next) level too and figure out what they’re doing to slow us down.”

Both teams got off to a rough start in a scoreless first quarter.

North Kitsap fumbled the ball away on its first drive, then quarterback Kevin Stringer’s pass was picked off by defensive lineman Charlie Forsyth.

But on the Spartans’ first drive of the second quarter, senior running back Ross Cobb fumbled in Bainbridge territory.

The Vikings took advantage.

Despite two penalties early on, North Kitsap got a big run on third and 20, then made a big conversion on a fake punt by Taylor Chisholm to keep things going.

Josh McCown scored from one yard out to end the drive.

Bainbridge fumbled the ball away on their next drive, and North capitalized again, as Brad DeShano scored from one yard out.

The Spartans got things going on its next drive as Cobb ripped off a big 17-yard gain, then Anthony Carter got past the Viking secondary to make a catch and gain 51 yards.

After two more runs of 11 or more yards by Cobb, Kyle Szarzynski scored from one yard out to put the Spartans on the board and get some momentum on their side.

It took three plays for North to counter. Stringer found Chisholm, who had gotten past the Bainbridge secondary, to haul in a pass and go the rest of the way for a 51-yard score.

Nothing else went right for the Spartans in the second half.

The Vikings drove down to the one-yard line thanks to a big roughing the passer foul on Bainbridge, but James Herman stopped the North Kitsap ballcarrier at the goal line to turn the ball over on downs.

But Bainbridge fumbled the ball away on their first play from scrimmage and the Vikings recovered. Chisholm ran it in from five yards out.

“It’s a tough spot giving up field postition there,” Grimm said. “We make a nice goal line stand and then we need to pop that out and get some breathing room”

Kicker Zach Sampson rounded out the scoring with a 36-yard field goal with a minute left in the third, then put another one through the uprights from 40 yards out late in the fourth quarter. He got the chance to do that when his first attempt from 45 yards missed, but Bainbridge was penalized for running into the kicker.

Playter said they had problems with North Kitsap’s rush for most of the night.

The Viking defenders dropped Bainbridge runners behind the line for 66 lost yards while Haley was sacked three times and under constant pressure nearly every time he went back to pass.

“It was the stunts,” he said. “They were blitzing the A-gap (the gap between the center and offensive guard), they were blitzing outside, they were blitzing everywhere.

“We were communicating every now and then, but we needed to communicate more,” he continued.

Grimm felt Haley did a good job despite the short week. He stepped in for an injured Colin Feldtman, who will be out four weeks with a hairline fracture of his wrist.

“He’s gotta be our guy,” he said. “We have to do a better job of getting him protection.”

Grimm said they’ll also have to have their top players ready to go, as many of them play both ways.

“It’s tough, because the guys that were dragging were our (top) guns,” he said. “We’ve got to sustain better than that.”

While the loss won’t hurt in their race to the playoffs, Grimm did warn the team that they cannot keep making mistakes to opponents.

“You don’t get to play off of anything from last year,” he said. “It’s a new group and you have to create your own identity.

“A good team like that if you don’t execute and give them the ball four times, they’ll beat ya more times than not,” Grimm continued. “We gotta be careful in that even against weaker teams, if you give them the ball, you can keep them in ball games and they can beat you.”

Haley finished 3 of 19 for 81 yards while Cobb led the way with 75 yards.

James Herman, Charlie Forsyth and Sam Snow all had sacks.

Bainbridge travels to Vashon Island on Friday to play the Pirates.

Game time is at 7 p.m.

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Vikings 33 Spartans 7

Summary: Too many errors, both physical and mental, led to Bainbridge’s downfall.

Player of the Game: Ross Cobb had the most success for the Spartans, as he rushed for 75 yards.

Key Play: Taylor Chisholm’s 51-yard touchdown catch near the end of the second quarter put North Kitsap up for good.

Key Stat: Turnovers - Spartans 4, Vikings 2. The North Kitsap defense did their best to punch the ball out, with three fumbles coming in Bainbridge territory.

Up Next: Bainbridge travels to Vashon Island to face the Pirates, a 1A school in the Nisqually League, at 7 p.m. Friday.

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