After a 49-24 loss to fifth-ranked O’Dea last week, the Spartans hope to improve their running game against Lakeside on Friday night.
The Spartans (1-2 in the Metro league and 3-3 overall), were unable to get their offense going against high-powered O’Dea, which took an early 21-3 lead.
“We weren’t getting big, long runs, but we were plugging way,” head coach Andy Grimm said. “With their scoring we just couldn’t match it. There was too much offense.”
Running back Keenan Forch scored the Irish’s first two touchdowns on 55- and 75-yard runs.
The Spartans, who trailed 28-10 at the half, never got closer.
Even though Bainbridge committed only two turnovers to O’Dea’s four, the Spartans couldn’t make crucial stops on defense.
“We gave up huge plays and can’t do that,” Grimm said. “I don’t think in our next two weeks there’s any threats on the field speed-wise that there was last Friday.”
The Spartans, who averaged 2.5 yards per carry against O’Dea, made some offensive adjustments by putting the ball in the air.
“It was not so much to get into the game,” Grimm said. “I don’t feel like (passing) was going to bring us great success. The way they play, they’re so disciplined, but we were able to exploit some things.”
Carson Zajonc, who completed nine-of-17 passes for 145 yards, will likely start ahead of injured Jordan Wagner. Wagner injured his throwing shoulder against Eastside Catholic two weeks ago.
“This week it comes back to kids more like our kids,” Grimm said. “With the exception of O’Dea, you’re playing people that are going to be around your size and weight and around your strength as far as weight-room strength.”
The Lions’ (1-2, 1-5) only victory this season was a 12-3 win over Bishop Blanchet.
“I’ve watched Lakeside play,” Grimm said. “It’s a real scrappy team. They play hard, and we can’t come in with the expectation that we’re going to take it to them. We got to play with that passion this week. We can’t play down to them.”
The Spartans will rely on running backs Alex Johnson and Alex Crane on offense. Johnson led the Spartans’ rushing last Friday, gaining 79 yards on 25 carries.
“For them to be successful they have to stop Johnson,” Grimm said. “We got to have our other guys step up.”
Running back Josh Peters was the Spartans’ second-leading rusher last week behind Johnson with 13 carries.
With only one conference game remaining against winless Bishop Blanchet next week, the Spartans must implement the clock control that proved successful in their win over Eastside.
“We can’t think of anything else two weeks from now or three weeks from now,” Grimm said. “We control our playoff destiny if we take care of business. It starts with this week.”