Spartans run away with Senior Day victory

Bainbridge capitalized on a short field and a solid rushing attack to defeat Lakeside 35-12 on Senior Day Friday.

The Spartan (2-2 in the Metro league and 4-3 overall) offense started slowly, running six plays on their opening series before Josh Peters gave up a fumble on the 12-yard line.

The Lions’ (1-3, 1-6) first possession began with a false start penalty and three rushes for a net gain of two yards. On their own 12-yard line, the Lions went for it on fourth down, turning the ball over on downs.

“They put themselves in a tough position,” head coach Andy Grimm said. “But they don’t have anything to lose.”

The Spartans took advantage of their field position, running just two plays before senior Alex Johnson ran in Bainbridge’s first touchdown. Will Devereaux delivered the extra point for the 7-0 lead.

The Spartan defense stifled the Lions in the next series, and Lakeside failed to convert on the fourth-down attempt. The Spartans regained possession at the Lions’ 21, and ran just two plays before Alex Crane took off on a 12-yard run to go up 14-0.

The Spartans poured in two more scores as Carson Zajonc delivered touchdown passes to Michael Cox and Connor Kenyon to give Bainbridge a 28-0 halftime lead.

But the Lions wouldn’t go away quietly.

The Spartans were forced to punt for the first time with 6:10 left in the third, and the Lions took possession at their own 6-yard line.

Quarterback Andrew Runde completed a 35-yard pass to Kevin McCollough, then followed up with a 43-yard run of his own, giving the Lions their first goal-line opportunity. Oliver Krengel put the Lions on the board with a 7-yard rushing touchdown. The Lions failed the two-point conversion and trailed 28-6 with four minutes remaining the third.

“We couldn’t panic,” Johnson said. “We knew we had this game under control.”

With 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Joey Liekweg broke away for a 63-yard run before Crane made the stop on the Spartan 5-yard line. Liekweg, who had 110 yards on 14 carries, ran in the Lions’ second touchdown. Despite failing the two-point conversion attempt, the Lions’ drive cut the deficit to 16.

On the following kickoff, Lakeside recovered the onside kick at the Spartans 46-yard line. Despite their advantageous field position, Lakeside failed to convert on the opportunity, fumbling at their own 47.

The Spartans took over with eight minutes left, and ran three minutes off the clock before Johnson scored his second touchdown for the 35-12 lead.

Johnson led the Spartans’ rushing corps with 123 yards on 22 carries, followed by Crane who added 28 yards.

“(Johnson’s) got to lead us,” Grimm said. “He’s our guy down the stretch. There were times they were putting tons of guys on him. That’s what we get out of him – he kept plugging away.”

The Spartans play at Bishop Blanchet at 1 p.m. next Saturday.

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