Bucs to defend home field

KINGSTON — The Kingston Buccaneers football team is preparing for an invasion by the Bainbridge Island Spartans Friday.

Historically, the Spartans have defeated the Bucs. In 2011, the Spartans won 28-14. In 2010, the Spartans won 34-31.

But if the Bucs can stay disciplined on the field, head coach Todd Harder expects to take the victory from the young, 3A Bainbridge team. Harder hopes to take benefit from the home field advantage. He also expects to see large crowds supporting both teams.

“If we win this game — against a 3A opponent and a school that has defeated us every year — it will be a tremendous step psychologically,” Harder said.

The Bucs and Spartans play at Buccaneer Field. Varsity plays at 7 p.m.

The Bucs will continue to use the Power I this season, focusing on running the ball through the defensive line, with some directional changes and bootleg play. With football players dedicated to the weight room, and many two- or three-sport athletes, the running game fits the players, Harder said.

Also, to make significant changes to the team’s strategies, Harder would need more time. The coach took over for Dan Novick, after Novick took a job in the Bremerton School District. It would have been asking a lot of the football program — staff and players — to make major changes, Harder said.

So far, Nick Tabernero, Henry English and Aaron Dickson are all showing promise. Harder expects Tabernero and English to be neck-and-neck with carries.

Dickson, Harder said, was the lead tackler against the Bucs’ opener against Squalicum Aug. 31 and expects him to continue to do the same throughout the season.

The game against Squalicum was “a good measuring stick” for the Bucs, Harder said.

The Bucs made a few mistakes against Squalicum, including an interception in the Bucs first series and a blocked punt in the second. An interception was also thrown into the mix. The Bucs lost 27-10. However, considering how young Buccaneer team is overall, a few mistakes their first game shows the team has promise, Harder said. There were eight players participating in their first varsity game Aug. 31.

Four Bucs out of BI game
Four players on the Buccaneers varsity team will not participate in the game against Bainbridge today after athletic suspensions.

Three players were suspended “for behavior contrary to the NKSD Student-Athlete Code of Conduct,” according to an email from Harder, sent out to coaches and parents Sept. 5.

“They had a little too much free time over [Labor Day weekend],” Harder said.

The players are athletically suspended for a minimum of 15 and 10 school days, according to the email. This means the players will miss either two or three games, depending on the severity of their suspensions. They will return to practice next week.

The fourth player was suspended for “conduct contrary” to the Buccaneer team covenants, the emails states.

“It’s certainly not going to make things easier,” Harder said Thursday.

The first day of the suspensions was rough, Harder said. However, the team rallied the second day of practice and know what they need to do, he said. For some, this means filling those vacant positions and new opportunities. “We’re up for the challenge,” Harder said.


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