For the first 24 minutes of the game Thursday night, the Gig Harbor Tides showed they could play with one of the top high school football programs in the state.
But in the second half, the O’Dea Fighting Irish showed why they’re a perennial contender for the Class 3A state title.
O’Dea ran roughshod over Gig Harbor’s defense, breaking free from a halftime tie to score 27 unanswered points and roll to a 37-10 victory in the season opener for both squads at Roy Anderson Field in Purdy.
Aaron Chantler, in his coaching debut for the Tides, said he was pleased with the way his team started the game.
Gig Harbor had a brief 10-7 lead after Garret Steuk’s 56-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
But as the game wore on, O’Dea wore out Gig Harbor.
“They’re a very physical football team,” Chantler said of the Irish. “We came out kind of flat in the second half, which I was kind of surprised with.
“We needed to make a few more adjustments and get guys in the right place.”
O’Dea running back Tatum Taylor, one of the state’s most coveted recruits, had three carries for 6 yards before leaving the game early with what appeared to be cramps.
However, Taylor left his mark on the game after the Tides took a 3-0 lead.
Taylor ran the ensuing kickoff back for an 80-yard touchdown.
Gig Harbor had a productive passing offense in the first half, with senior quarterback Garrett Gallinger repeatedly connecting with Jonathan Lawson.
Lawson, a senior who didn’t play last season because of a shoulder injury, finished with eight catches for 121 yards.
Lawson agreed with Chantler’s assessment that the Tides let up after halftime.
“I don’t think we came out with the fire we had in the first half,” Lawson said.
“Once they scored, we kind of lost momentum, and we just kind of fell apart after that.”
Jack Flor’s 50-yard burst up the gut gave O’Dea a 16-10 lead early in the third quarter, and the Irish took a two-score lead on Myles Gaskin’s 15-yard run.
Gaskin added a second touchdown in the fourth quarter, and linebacker Evan Banchero capped the scoring with a 29-yard fumble return.
O’Dea managed 88 rushing yards in the first half, but ran for 242 yards in the second half.