Spartans challenge Lindbergh

The Spartans made the most of their first playoff appearance since 2006 on Saturday, trouncing Rainier Beach 34-7 at Seattle Memorial Stadium and continuing their journey toward the state tournament.

Bainbridge (3-4 in the Metro, 5-4 overall) will face Lindbergh (8-0 in the Seamount, 8-1 overall), the top seed from the Seamount League, in the district playoffs Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Renton Memorial Stadium.

Despite a delayed kickoff and the distraction of Halloween, Bainbridge remained focused and scored 21 unanswered points in the first half against the Vikings.

“We just came out strong and it was real critical we were able to get our third touchdown right before the half,” coach Andy Grimm said. “The only worry we had at halftime was coming back out and being flat.”

Rainier Beach scored its only touchdown on its first drive of the second half, but Bainbridge “locked it down after that,” Grimm said. The Spartans added two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Carson Zajonc completed 8-of-11 passes for 119 yards.

“Carson was just lights out,” Grimm said. “All those were play-action passes set up off our run. These weren’t big long passes. We were exposing weaknesses of where they were leaving to come tackle us for the run.”

Quarterback Jordan Wagner, who injured his shoulder against Eastside Catholic, is done for the season, Grimm said.

The Spartans, who committed seven turnovers in their loss to Bishop Blanchet two weeks ago, only committed one turnover to Rainier’s five.

“We protected the ball very well and we were able to get two fumbles and an interception,” Grimm said. “That’s a huge part of football, because when you’re positive on the takeaway side you’re going to do well.”

Alex Johnson rushed for 167 yards and a touchdown, his sixth 100-plus yard game of the season. Alex Crane added 13 carries for 103 yards and two touchdowns.

“We were pretty well-rounded,” Grimm said. “We just had a really good tempo, we didn’t give them much time to react and we’re pretty balanced between the three running backs.”

Defensively, the Spartans must contain Lindbergh’s freshman quarterback Matt Stuart, who has averaged 100 yards a game in five starts this season.

Despite Lindbergh’s athleticism and impressive running game, the Spartans aren’t intimidated, Grimm said.

“They’re excited about another opportunity this week,” Grimm said. “I don’t get that sense that they’re satisfied with where they’re at. You just take the next challenge next.”

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