Peninsula High coach Ross Filkins had a hard time recognizing his Seahawks team on Friday night.
This surely wasn’t the same team that won five straight and had a chance to wrap up a second consecutive 3A South Puget Sound League title.
Trailing by eight to Lakes after 24 minutes, this team was lacking needed intensity.
But following a tense halftime meeting, the Seahawks woke up and played like champions, rallying for a 28-14 victory over the Lancers at Harry Lang Stadium to earn their first outright back-to-back league titles since 1985-86.
“I don’t know who was out here, but it was not the Peninsula Seahawks,” Filkins said of his team’s first-half performance.
Peninsula (6-3 overall, 5-0 SPSL 3A) took the halftime words to heart, scoring on its opening drive of the second half. Major Ali gashed the Lakes defense for an 18-yard touchdown run, capping off an eight-play, 79-yard drive. Quarterback Robert Kvinsland hooked up with Cameron Blackwell for the two-point conversion to tie the score at 14 with eight minutes to go in the third quarter. The Seahawks quickly got the ball back and went back to the ground game, needing five running plays to score again. Ali carried it in from 27 yards out to put the Seahawks up 21-14.
Lakes (3-6, 3-2) did itself no favors, muffing the ensuing kickoff and giving it right back to the Seahawks on the Lancers’ 14. Two plays later, Avega Siolo scored on an 8-yard touchdown run, capping off a 22-point third quarter and pushing the lead to 28-14 after three quarters.
“(Filkins) was giving us a good lecture and telling us that we were flat (in the first half),” said Siolo, who finished with 165 yards rushing on 20 carries. “That really got us going and got us mad. So we had no choice but to come hard in the second half. And that’s what we did; we executed the way we planned. We said we were going to run the ball and that’s what we did.”
The Seahawks finished with 263 yards rushing, with Ali carrying the ball 10 times for 87 yards.
“We take a lot of pride in being able to run the ball,” Filkins said. “It has been a lot of work. The (offensive) line really got after it in the second half and the backs ran really hard through contact. Just really proud that they were able to answer the bell and come out and really apply themselves like they did in the second half.”
Despite losing 19 starters from last year’s team, the Seahawks got things turned around after a 30-24 loss in Week 3 to Union in Vancouver, Wash.
“We feel like we matured down there against Union, and we said, ‘That’s it. It’s on now,’ ” Filkins said.
Lakes, which heads into the playoffs as the league’s No. 3 seed behind Bonney Lake at No. 2, got early receiving touchdowns from Yisrael Stephens and Caleb Lyons. Lyons finished with five catches for 39 yards.