After a slow start, the Spartans kicked it into high gear in the second half, but it was too little, too late.
“We couldn’t get a key stop in the first half,” head coach Jeff Scoma said. “The second half was better, cleaner.”
Stanwood racked up the bulk of their yards and three touchdowns after halftime. However, it wasn’t enough to dig out of a 29-0 hole. The Spartans eventually fell 50-21 to the 4A Kamiak Knights in the season opener Friday at Frank Goddard Memorial Stadium south of Everett.
“The team is still learning a new system, new coaching staff,” Scoma said. “We’ve got to hit our stride at some point, and I think we will. The goal is to improve every week.”
The Spartans got on the board in the third quarter when Evan Agledal ripped the ball from a Knight and Carson Beckt took the loose ball to the house.
Stanwood scored again a few drives later in the fourth quarter when Ryder Bumgarner punched it in from 3 yards out. Bumgarner set up the scoring situation with a long kickoff return to the 9 yard line — one of a handful of impressive kick returns.
Bumgarner posted highlights in all phases of the game. He snatched an interception in the second quarter, and he caught a 13-yard TD pass from Beckt late in the fourth by out-jumping a pair of defensive backs.
“Ryder Bumgarner ran hard. Carson Beckt showed leadership. Both guys played well on offense and defense,” Scoma said.
But injuries and inexperience cost the fairly young Spartans in the first half, he said.
“We were running all our base plays and just couldn’t get it to work,” Scoma said. “We just can’t let the game get away from us like it did.”
Bumgarner led the team with 23 yards rushing and 39 yards receiving. Beckt was 4-for-10 with a TD and a pick. Luke Brennan was 2-for-5 under center.
The Spartans host Marysville-Pilchuck at 7 p.m. Friday in their home-opener.
“We just have to continue to improve, to build confidence,” Scoma said. “It starts by winning plays, one play at a time.”