Spartans' line play key to upsetting O'Dea

  - FIle Photo 2009/ Brad Girtz
— image credit: FIle Photo 2009/ Brad Girtz

As the Bainbridge Spartans take the field at West Seattle Stadium on Friday, their top priority will be keeping time on their side.

The Spartans (1-1 in Metro league and 3-2 overall) ran more than 80 offensive plays against Eastside Catholic last week, and will employ that strategy as they battle fifth-ranked O’Dea (2-0, 4-1).

“It’s the same concept going into this week,” head coach Andy Grimm said. “O’Dea can score a lot of points, and we want to keep their offense off and keep our offense on. They’re a much more physical team than Eastside.”

The Bainbridge defense, which had two interceptions and a sack for a loss last week, will make defensive adjustments to contend with the powerful Irish rushing game anchored by Keenan Forch and Zach Fogerson.

“We’re putting a lot of people up, and we’re going to have eight to nine guys close to the line of scrimmage,” Grimm said.

The Spartans’ offense, which scored 29 second-half points last week, will be led by junior Carson Zajonc. Senior Jordan Wagner, who started the first five games of the season, sustained a shoulder injury in the first quarter of last week’s game and won’t play tonight.

Zajonc, who rushed for two touchdowns and a two-point conversion, also completed four of six passes. But he will face an O’Dea defense that has limited its opponents to eight touchdowns in five games.

“O’Dea is a big, strong, powerful, fast team. So we want to keep the ball on offense as long as we can,” Grimm said. “With O’Dea we can’t get into that kind of shooting match.”

The Spartans, who have struggled with player illness in the last few weeks, will substitute more players on both sides of the ball.

“We’re playing so many guys two ways that the more we can keep them going in and out the better off we are,” Grimm says. “If we’re in the game, we’re better off because they’re fresh.”

The Spartans will look to Alex Johnson and Josh Peters to do most of the team’s running. The duo combined for nearly 200 rushing yards last week.

Alex Crane, who averaged 10 yards per carry against Eastside Catholic, will not play due to a lacrosse recruiting trip.

Mentally, Grimm expects his players to play with the confidence and momentum sparked by their previous win.

“We have everything to gain, and they have everything to lose,” Grimm said.

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