Spartans to battle for playoff spot

With their playoff hopes on the line, the Spartans will have an extra day off before playing at Bishop Blanchet at 1 p.m. Saturday.

“There’ll be some things to fight through,” Grimm said. “It’s a middle of the day game, and it’s not that typical football setting.”

Before the Spartans (2-2 in Metro League, 4-3 overall) even take the field, a contest between Eastside Catholic and Seattle Prep will have already set the groundwork for Metro playoffs on Oct. 30-31.

The Spartans are currently tied with Eastside for third place, and if Eastside loses, the Spartans would clinch the third playoff berth with a win over Bishop.

In the playoffs, the Spartans would play the No. 3 team from the Metro’s Sound Division. A tiebreaker would determine whether Bainbridge plays Nathan Hale, Rainier Beach or West Seattle, all of which are tied for first place in the division.

“We have to win it, because we don’t control anything if we don’t” Grimm said. “They kept us out of the playoffs the last two years. We’ll use that as a little motivator.”

Bainbridge and Bishop Blanchet were tied for third place at the end of last season, and the Braves came out on top 7-0, sending the Spartans to a crossover game. In 2007, the Braves eliminated Bainbridge from playoff contention with a 20-18 decision.

Under first-year coach Aaron Maul, the Braves (0-4, 0-7) have struggled in the shotgun offense, failing to score in five of their seven games.

“We can’t worry about the record at all,” senior running back Alex Johnson said. “We want revenge, and we have to stay focused.”

Johnson, the Spartans’ leading rusher, has averaged more than 110 yards per game, with 10 touchdowns.

Carson Zajonc, who played quarterback the last two games, will start against Blanchet. Zajonc completed four-of-seven passes for two touchdowns in last week’s 35-12 win over Lakeside.

Senior Jordan Wagner, who injured his shoulder against Eastside, was throwing in practice last week, but missed two practices this week with the flu.

“That’s one position we’re deep in,” Grimm said of his quarterbacks. “That was a much tougher issue of not having anybody who has experience (last year). Now we have two solid quarterbacks with experience, and (Chris) Bell is our corner and third quarterback.”

Despite the Braves’ underwhelming record, Grimm isn’t looking past this weekend’s matchup.

“We have to focus on what we can do,” he said. “You can’t get caught up in what they haven’t done. The mantra is: got to take care of next week.”

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