It was Friday night and Homecoming night at Memorial Stadium on Bainbridge Island.
And with two teams taking the field looking to pick up a big Olympic League win, that little extra glitz and glamour helped shape what was setting up to be a great showdown on the gridiron.
Bremerton head coach Paul Theriault said he was a little worried about keeping his players focused during the ceremonies.
“They’re absolutely a necessary part of a high school experience,” Theriault said. “But man, they’re tough on football.”
But those worries were unfounded as the Knights forced an astonishing 10 turnovers, and their defense pitched a shutout as they defeated Bainbridge 32-0.
Although the final score looks lopsided, Bainbridge (2-4, 2-2 in league) kept the game close despite being unable to hang on to the football. Bremerton (4-1, 3-1) led just 6-0 at halftime and only 12-0 at the end of three quarters.
That second score would turn out to be a back-breaker. It came toward the end of that quarter as a short pass bounced off a receiver’s hands and went right to Bremerton defensive back Junior Newman, who returned the interception 32 yards for a touchdown.
The interception opened the floodgates. Bainbridge fumbled on its next drive, and Bremerton quarterback Joshua Tapangco hit Newman on a deep ball for a 39-yard score.
The Spartans had moved the ball well during the first half despite not being able to find the end zone, but the game spiraled out of control as the second half wore on.
“They have some good athletes,” Bainbridge coach Jeff Rouser said. “They had a plan for Luke (receiver Lavigne). They played a safety over him all game, so we couldn’t go over the top like we usually do. But what could go wrong went wrong. It was ten turnovers to zero.”
Bainbridge marched down the field on its opening drive as Jack Grant found Matt LeDorze for a 33-yard completion, followed by a 9-yard run by Micah Bryant and a completion to Luke Lavigne for another first down. Another Bryant run put the Spartans at Bremerton’s 1-yard line.
Rouser called for a run play with his big offensive lineman, but Roiel Sorensen met them behind the line of scrimmage and forced the fumble. Rouser said after the game that he regretted that call.
“That was my fault, we should have run a sneak,” Rouser said. “It was a bad, bad call. You can put that in the paper. I completely bit it on that play.”
After stopping Bremerton on fourth down at their own 25-yard line, the Spartans looked poised to take the momentum back, but Newman’s first of three interceptions ended that drive.
Another interception in the second quarter, this one by D’Angelo Moore, set up Bremerton’s first scoring drive of the game, which ended when Tapangco connected with Newman for a 30-yard score.
In addition to his three picks, Newman also had five receptions for 89 yards and two touchdowns. “We just came into this game with a whole different mentality,” Newman said.
Bremerton 32, Bainbridge 0
BM 0 6 6 20 — 32
BI 0 0 0 0 — 0
Bremerton — Junior Newman 30 pass from Joshua Tapangco (conversion failed)
Bremerton — Newman 32 interception return (conversion failed)
Bremerton — Newman 39 pass from Tapangco (Harvey kick)
Bremerton — Jayden Quenga 11 run (conversion failed)
Bremerton — Jakobi Serrato 6 run (Harvey kick)
Passing — Bainbridge: Grant 12-27-152, 7 INT. Bremerton: Tapangco 7-14-108 2 TDs.
Rushing — Bainbridge: Grant 11-47; Bryant 8-38; Triggs 1-8; Sweeny 1-0; LeDorze 1-(-2). Bremerton: Quenga 13-83, TD; Aquino 9-69; Serrato 9-66, TD; Roi. Sorensen 4-11; Moore 1-2; Tapangco 8-(-13)
Receiving — Bainbridge: Lavigne 4-45; Utter 3-36; LeDorze 2-36; Sheltens 1-23; Triggs 2-12. Bremerton: Newman 5-89, 2 TDs; Roi. Sorensen 2-19.