If a five-hour bus ride to Spokane wasn’t enough to make the Peninsula High football team antsy, the lightning delay on Friday night probably did the trick.
When all was said and done, Peninsula didn’t kick off at Joe Albi Stadium against Mt. Spokane until close to 9 p.m. But if all the travel and delays had anyone concerned about the Seahawks coming out flat — those fears were quickly alleviated.
Peninsula controlled the game from start to finish, riding the back of a stifling defense to a 22-0 nonleague victory to open the season.
“It was a great trip,” Peninsula coach Ross Filkins said. “Our kids responded really well. They did a good job of handling some adversity on the road.”
Peninsula’s offense took a while to get going, but the defense did its job from start to finish.
“They just played really sound, fundamental defense,” Filkins said. “We kept everything in front of us. Mt. Spokane is an excellent team with a really physical front. Our special teams were outstanding and we played solid defense. Once the offense got calmed down and got on the same page, we executed well on offense in the second half.”
Senior Cameron Lewis rushed for 77 yards and senior Kenny Easton rushed for 76. Senior Blake Cantu added 42 yards on the ground. Junior Burke Griffin got the start at quarterback for the Seahawks, completing 9 of 18 passes for 63 yards.
“We spread the ball around pretty well,” Filkins said. “It was a great team effort.”
While the numbers for Griffin weren’t eye-popping, Filkins said he liked what he saw from his junior quarterback in his first game.
“He played very well,” Filkins said. “He was very steady, a calming influence. He goes through his progressions and he’s a very intelligent kid. He did a good job keeping the offense flowing.”
Peninsula got to take in the Washington State versus Eastern Washington football game on Saturday in Pullman. The players had the opportunity to be on the field for warmups before heading to their seats to watch the game.
The Eagles stunned the Cougars, winning 45-42, marking the second-straight season WSU has lost to an FCS school. As a Coug fan, it was a tough pill for Filkins to swallow.
“It’s disappointing, being a Coug, but I’m very respectful of Eastern and how well they did executing their game plan,” Filkins said. “They just earned it. I’m very happy for Eastern.”
Peninsula will return home to face Stadium, a 49-34 winner over Steilacoom in its opener, at 7 p.m. Friday (Sept. 9) at Roy Anderson Field.
“In a lot of different areas, we have a lot of little things to clean up,” Filkins said. “We need to understand that Mt. Spokane was a good opener for us, great experience. Stadium will present a whole new set of challenges. We need to hit the big reset button.”