BHS football has spring in its stride
By Nicholas Zeller-Singh Bainbridge Island Review • June 6, 2022 1:30 am
For the past two years, Bainbridge High School football has not had a spring season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although spring football practices are optional for students, the lack of a spring season has hurt the Spartans during the fall. In the last two seasons, the Spartans struggled, finishing 3-3 in 2020 and 3-6 in 2021.
However, the Spartans returned to the field in their helmets, cleats and practice jerseys for the first time last week. Although they didn’t start full contact until June 3, coach Jeff Rouser has already noticed the energy in his players.
“I see a lot of enthusiasm,” Rouser said. “We have 65 signups for spring ball. Normally, we get about a third of that, so we’re on a record pace for players and we’re going in the right direction.”
Some of those signings include standout wide receiver and defensive back Luke Lavigne, who is 6-foot-4. Additionally, the Spartans return their young quarterback, Jack Grant, after tearing his ACL as a freshman first year Although he won’t compete this spring, his spot is all but assured as a varsity starter in the fall.
In addition to its star quarterback and wide receiver, Rouser returns a young core that are now upperclassmen. One player to watch out for is captain Micah Bryant. The running back and cornerback aim to instill the lessons he learned as a freshman into the large number of incoming freshmen.
How do the Spartans get nearly 70 participants in their first week of spring ball?
First, it has come as a shock to Rouser and his staff that there was no youth tackle program in 2021 due to lack of enrollment. However, there are two reasons why participation numbers are reaching an all-time high.
According to Rouser, the Spartans have picked up freshmen from the island’s vibrant flag football league. In addition, Rouser credited his upperclassmen for reaching out to the Spartan community.
“Our kids do a good job of getting kids here,” Rouser said. “Last week, we had 10 freshmen sign up. They came to our school, heard the players talk about football and signed up right away.”
During the first few days, Bryant noticed that the program was also improving tremendously.
“There weren’t that many people here when I was a freshman,” Bryant said. “I love having new guys that are always trying to get better in the program.”
In the spring season, Rouser and his crew are looking to limit rotations, install some of their playbook and turn players’ raw potential into talent. As for the players themselves, they’re looking to work on a handful of things.
“Hard work, good preparation, good film study and outside of games, just being the best we can be and staying healthy,” Bryant said.
The spring season will end on June 17. The team will then head to Central Washington University to train and compete alongside several football teams from around the state. Fall practices begin on August 18.
Bainbridge High head football coach Jeff Rouser hosts spring football drills for nearly 70 participants.
Nearly 70 students at Bainbridge High School are warming up for spring football practice.