After spending last season as Bainbridge’s backup quarterback, senior Jeff Utter was hoping it would be his turn to take the reins of the offense this fall.
But with the emergence of freshman Jack Grant, Utter has found a second life on the other end of those throws, using his athleticism to line up at slot receiver.
“At first it was really hard,” Utter said. “I was kind of going into this season thinking I was QB one, I didn’t get many practice reps this year, and we put in Jack, who has been playing great. I moved to slot, and I’m just making the most out of it.”
Utter and Grant had two series each in Bainbridge’s opener against Garfield, but since then Grant has been the guy. Although it’s something that’s never easy to accept, Utter didn’t pout, didn’t put his head down and has carved out a new role.
“He’s been a leader,” Bainbridge coach Jeff Rouser said. “His attitude was perfect the whole time. He didn’t flinch, he didn’t argue, he’s stepped into this role, and he’s kicking butt at the slot. You can’t ask for more than that.”
And Utter was one of the many stars that came out to shine Friday night following the cotton candy sunset at Memorial Stadium. The Spartans rolled up 537 yards of offense in a 48-10 win over Sequim.
Grant was winging it all over the field as he completed 22 of 39 passes for 284 yards and four touchdowns, and it was none other than Utter himself who led the team in receiving yards with 83 on six receptions.
Luke Lavigne and Caleb Durrance each caught a pair of touchdowns, and Micah Bryant added 83 rushing yards on 14 carries. To add on to his impressive night throwing the football, Grant also rushed nine times for 82 yards and a score.
“Our offensive line was awesome too,” Rouser said. “I don’t think Jack had to rush a throw. He had tons of time, all day.”
The Spartans were hot offensively early, scoring on their first drive despite a couple of penalties. Grant’s 16-yard run and a pair of completions to Utter were key plays before Grant hit a wide-open Lavigne in the end zone for a 13-yard TD to open the scoring.
Sequim answered with a 37-yard field goal from Brandon Wagner. Bainbridge stalled out in the red zone on the next drive, but another long drive in the second quarter ended with Grant finding Caleb Durrance for a 15-yard score to give Bainbridge a 14-3 lead.
The Wolves were able to hit on a big pass play with 3:10 to go in the first half as Lars Wiker connected with Kobe Applegate for a 31-yard score, and after a three-and-out, Sequim had a chance to tie the game. But senior defensive back Will Triggs snagged an interception on a long pass to help set up one final drive before the half. Triggs also had a fumble recovery and later scored a rushing touchdown.
Grant completed a pair of passes to Triggs and then tossed a 26-yarder to Lavigne to put Bainbridge at the 6-yard line. On first-and-goal, Grant floated the jump ball in to the 6-foot-4 Lavigne, who came down with it to give the Spartans a 22-10 lead.
Durrance recovered a fumble on Sequim’s opening drive of the third quarter and Grant effectively put the game away on an option keeper, taking the ball 41 yards for a touchdown.
Freshman Garrett Goade added a 32-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter while the defense held Sequim to 187 total yards and forced six turnovers.
The win puts Bainbridge on the right track as they head into next week’s game against Kingston.
“We’re not going to get too egotistical here,” Utter said. “We’re still 1-3, we have to stay humble and play the next game like we played this one.”
Bainbridge 48, Sequim 10
SQ 3 7 0 0 — 10
BI 6 16 6 20 — 48
Bainbridge — Luke Lavigne 13 pass from Jack Grant (run failed)
Sequim — Brandon Wagner 37 field goal
Bainbridge — Caleb Durrance 15 pass from Grant (Grant run)
Sequim — Kobe Applegate 31 pass from Lars Wiker (Wagner kick)
Bainbridge — Lavigne 6 pass from Grant (Grant run)
Bainbridge — Grant 41 run (run failed)
Bainbridge — Durrance 13 pass from Grant (kick failed)
Bainbridge — Will Triggs 15 run (kick failed)
Bainbridge — Garrett Goade 32 run (Goade run)
Passing — Bainbridge: Grant 22-39-284 4 TDs. Sequim: Wiker 13-30-187 TD, 2 INT.
Rushing — Bainbridge: Bryant 14-83; Grant 9-82, TD; Goade 1-32, TD; Hansen 3-21; Triggs 1-15, TD; Utter 1-8; LeDorze 2-1; O’Neil 1-0. Sequim: Fitzgerald 4-3; Applegate 1-3; Gockerell 1-2; Lawrence 5-2; Jensen 2-0; Wiker 6(-10).
Receiving — Bainbridge: Utter 6-83; Lavigne 6-70, 2 TDs; 4-67, 2 TDs; Triggs 3-33; Bryant 2-23; Sheltens 1-8. Sequim: Applegate 4-78, TD; Wagner 2-51; Gockerell 3-32; Grider 1-15; Robideau 1-5; Jennings 1-4; McCracken 1-2.