Vashon surprises Bainbridge with 28-7 victory
By BRIAN KELLY
Bainbridge Island Review Editor
September 16, 2009 · Updated 2:19 PM
Vashon Island wasn't intimidated by being undermanned and took advantage of being the underdog to dominate Bainbridge High 28-7 Friday night at BHS Stadium.
Both teams came in 1-0 after opening with lopsided wins, but the Class 1A Pirates outplayed the 3A Spartans for most of the game with a quick-strike passing attack and an aggressive defense that shutdown the home team's vaunted ground game.
Unable to run, the Spartans were forced to throw much more than usual and quarterback Jordan Wagner paid the price. The Vashon defense sacked him five times, pressured him into several rushed throws and intercepted three passes – two by defensive back Matt Kerns.
With fullback Alex Johnson gaining only 33 yards on 12 carries on his usually bruising blasts up the middle, Wagner threw an unexpected 31 times, completing 14 for 192 yards.
On the other hand, Vashon senior quarterback Quinn Holert completed 12 of 24 for 210 yards and three touchdowns – two to Kerns, who caught five balls for a total of 89 yards. The Pirates also had second option, with halfback Nathan Betz running out of the spread offense for 73 yards on 13 carries, scoring once.
"We're playing ironman football right now," said Vashon coach Clay Eastly. "We had 11 players who didn't suit up. Not all of them are varsity, but we had eight or nine guys who were in almost every play on both sides of the ball. We played well."
They did that.
After both teams went three-and-out in the first quarter, the Pirates went 67 yards in 12 plays in a drive that ended with a 9-yard pass from Holert to Austin Franks. Conversely, the Spartans had only one first down in the first quarter.
Bainbridge mounted a drive midway through the second period, but ran out of downs when it gambled on a 4th-and-6 play on the Vashon 48-yard line. Wagner was stuffed on a keeper and the play seemed to spark the visitors.
Holert quickly completed two passes for a total of 37 yards, then found Nick Fox-Edele all alone for a 34-yard gain and first and goal on the 6. Kerns grabbed a slant pass from Holert and the Pirates were up 14-0 at halftime.
The killer for the Spartans came when Wagner fumbled a snap from center (one of several in the game), setting up Vashon on Bainbridge's 26. Two Kerns catches later and the Pirates led 21-0 just over a minute into the third quarter.
The Spartans responded with a drive that took them to Vashon's 18 before Fox-Edele intercepted a rushed throw by Wagner in the end zone.
By then, the Pirates smelled blood. Holert passed to Kerns for 39 yards and Tyler Stoffer for 21, which led five plays later to Betz's 1-yard scoring run and a 28-0 score with 3:23 left in the third quarter.
The Spartans finally scored with 6:48 remaining in the games when Wagner, now throwing on nearly every play, hit Chris Bell for a touchdown from yards out.
Vashon's Eastly praised his defensive line, especially nose guard Nathan Betz, ends Gregor Davidhieser and Hamzah Griffin, and tackle Joel Harvey.
"We feel we have a front five that's pretty special," he said. "We had them scouted and we came hard at them on defense to stop their running attack."
Bainbridge coach Andy Grimm agreed.
"They outplayed us up front," he said. "Scheme-wise, not being able to run hurts us and makes us throw too much. That's not our game. They did a good job forcing us to pass and then we weren't picking up their blitzes."
The Spartans also may have overlooked the Pirates a bit.
"I had a feeling that they would compete against us," Grimm said. "But it was hard to tell how good they were because of the team (Sultan) they beat (38-13) last week."
Now he knows.
The Spartans will try to get back on track next Friday at home when Kingston comes to Bainbridge for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
Vashon Island 28, Bainbridge 7
Score by quarters
Vashon 7 7 14 0 – 28
Bainbridge 0 0 0 7 _ 7
Vashon – Austin Franks 9 pass from Quinn Holert (Nick Fox-Edele kick)
Vashon – Matt Kerns 6 from Holert (Fox-Edele kick)
Vashon – Kerns 10 pass from Holert (Fox-Edele kick)
Vashon – Nathan Betz 1 run (Fox-Edele)
Bainbridge – Chris Bell 7 pass from Jordan Wagner
Contact Bainbridge Island Review Editor Brian Kelly at email@example.com or 1-206-842-6613.