Photos courtesy Justin Johnson | Mason County Journal
Left: Spartans running back Jack Mielke looks to evade the Shelton defense as he heads down the field. Right: Bainbridge quarterback Gabriel Todd looks to make the pitch to running back Matt LeDorze in the season-opener against Shelton.

Photos courtesy Justin Johnson | Mason County Journal Left: Spartans running back Jack Mielke looks to evade the Shelton defense as he heads down the field. Right: Bainbridge quarterback Gabriel Todd looks to make the pitch to running back Matt LeDorze in the season-opener against Shelton.

BI shines on offense, defense in opener vs. Shelton

The Bainbridge Island Spartans got off to a slow start in their long-delayed gridiron opener, but a second half scoring explosion propelled them to victory down in Mason County.

Bainbridge’s balanced offense scored three touchdowns in the third quarter and two more in the fourth in a 39-18 league victory over Shelton on a windy Tuesday evening. The Spartan defense shut out the home team for almost three quarters and forced six turnovers.

Quarterback Gabriel Todd led the way, topping 200 passing yards and tossing three touchdown passes, and running back Cal Breen took charge on the ground with over 70 yards.

There were some understandable early struggles for both teams as they haven’t played since fall of 2019 due to COVID-19 restrictions. Both the Spartans and the Highclimbers fumbled, but recovered on their opening possessions, and Bainbridge was stung by a couple of early offside penalties.

But fortunes turned midway through the second quarter when senior defensive back Austin Coupland came up with the first of his two interceptions. That turnover gave the Spartans good field position and soon after, Todd dropped back and hit Jack Mielke on a short pass that turned into a 26-yard catch-and-run for a TD.

Leading just 7-0 to start the second half, the Spartans forced a fumble on the opening play and turned it into another score. Breen led the way down the field with an 11-yard reception and a 26-yard run, in which he was brought down just shy of the goal line. Todd then connected with Coupland on an out-route for a 5-yard score to put Bainbridge up 13-0.

The Spartans stayed hot as Brian Taylor intercepted Shelton’s quarterback on the next possession, and Breen took another pitch for 29 yards, setting up Bainbridge just inside Shelton’s 5-yard line. Todd tossed his third TD as he found his big target Alan Ullin over the middle in the end zone from 4 yards out.

After Shelton fumbled the ensuing kickoff, it was Mielke who came up with another big play, taking a quick pass from Todd and running with it for 28 yards down to the 3-yard line. Mielke finished the drive with a 3-yard run, and the score was 25-0.

Senior running back PJ Miller was the next to find the painted grass for Bainbridge, scoring on a 4-yard run early in the fourth quarter.

Junior defensive back Matt LeDorze capped off the scoring with a 35-yard interception return. It was the sixth and final turnover caused by the Bainbridge defense.

Gavin Gould scored all three Shelton TDs on runs of 3, 2, and 11 yards.

The Spartans won’t have much time to celebrate; they will hit the road Friday for another long trip, this one to Sequim. Game time is scheduled for 4 p.m.

More in Sports

Mark Krulish
Expect the unexpected this COVID year in sports

The old saying “expect the unexpected” is ringing truer than ever as… Continue reading

Senior midfielder Chloe Boeker scored twice for Bainbridge in the 3-0 win over Shelton. Mark Krulish/Bainbridge Island Review photos
Spartan girls blank Shelton 3-0 in soccer

Slipping and sliding all over the field in the second half of… Continue reading

Runners along Blakely Harbor after crossing the pedestrian bridge. Talina Wood/Courtesy photo
Strategist, not fastest, often win ultra marathons

‘War of attrition’ key to winning 1st BURT 100 on BI too

The Bainbridge defense tries to wrap up Olympic running back Trent Feistner. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Olympic League football roundup

Central Kitsap 46, South Kitsap 20 These two teams haven’t played one… Continue reading

Spartans runners top North Mason

The Bainbridge boys and girls cross country teams traveled to Port Orchard… Continue reading

Bainbridge sophomore Sasha Herrmann brings down Olympic quarterback Dylan Boschee-Perry for a sack in his team’s 34-28 victory. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
Shocking late 80-yard score propels Bainbridge to 34-28 win

Perhaps it was the electricity in the air, but Bainbridge’s game Friday… Continue reading

Mark Krulish
Krulish: It’s awesome to be back covering sports

In July, much of the local Washington sports media was on a… Continue reading

Bainbridge’s Alex Miller chases down Central Kitsap’s Daniel Lizon in the second Olympic League meet of the season. Miller won the race with a time of 17:20.20. (Photo courtesy of Rick Peters)
Bainbridge XC earns split with Central Kitsap

The Bainbridge cross country teams came away with a split against their… Continue reading

Bainbridge receiver Austin Coupland outleaps a Sequim defender for a reception. (Mark Krulish/Kitsap News Group)
BI hurts itself with miscues in loss to Sequim

Too many turnovers and Sequim’s power running game proved to be too… Continue reading

Most Read