It was a baptismal by fire for Bainbridge’s young gridders on opening night.
Hosting Metro League power Garfield, the Spartans hung tough early on, but the Bulldogs pulled away in the second half as their speed on the perimeter and inside running game dominated play on their way to a 48-8 win.
The two teams last met in 2018, a 59-32 win for Garfield.
“We’re going to get better,” Bainbridge head coach Jeff Rouser said. “Eighteen of the 22 kids never played Friday night football, not serious reps anyway. But that said, we didn’t look like it in the beginning.”
The Spartans trailed 27-8 at halftime, but the game could have been much closer had a couple of plays gone differently.
Bainbridge hit the board first in the opening quarter, taking an 8-0 lead, but Garfield answered on the ensuing kickoff with an 87-yard return touchdown. The Bulldogs return man fumbled the kick, which threw off the return coverage, and he found a seam and went all the way down the field for a score.
On Garfield’s next drive, Bainbridge nearly had an interception in the end zone, but the catch attempt just slipped out of the player’s hands. Garfield also had another first half touchdown that was the result of a good recovery on a broken play.
“We showed some promising stuff,” Rouser said. “We could have been in the game at halftime.”
One of the bright spots for Bainbridge was the play of freshman quarterback Jack Grant. Stepping into the role on Bainbridge’s second drive, he marched the Spartans down the field. Grant completed four of his five pass attempts on the drive and also scrambled for a 15-yard run. He capped the drive with an 11-yard TD pass to junior receiver Luke Lavigne.
Grant ended up completing 12 of 19 pass attempts, mostly on short passes as Bainbridge’s few deep pass tries were unsuccessful. Grant also led the team in rushing with 39 yards.
“He’s got a sixth sense that you can’t coach,” Rouser said.
Lavigne and Johnny Breen finished the night with four receptions each, and Micah Bryant had 23 rushing yards on eight attempts and three receptions for 14 yards.
“We were good early,” Rouser said. “We’ve played these guys three times, and every time we start off like we’re going to take them. But they have a lot of athletes.”
Bainbridge’s Week 2 matchup at Lindbergh was originally set for Thursday evening, but that game has been canceled, athletic director James Corsetti said. Bainbridge is looking for another game to replace it.
Garfield 48, Bainbridge 8
GA 7 20 14 7 — 48
BI 8 0 0 0 0 — 8
Passing — Grant 12-19-69, TD, 2 INT; Utter 1-3-9.
Rushing — Grant 9-39, Bryant 8-23, Dorsey 2-5, LeDorze 2-4, Breen 2-(-5), Utter 3-(-13).
Receiving — Lavigne 4-31, TD; Breen 4-21, Bryant 3-14, LeDorze 2-12.