Predicting the 2015 Fish Bowl was easy. Gig Harbor had a stacked, senior-heavy roster and was one of the best Class 4A teams in the state. While Peninsula is generally strong, the Tides weren’t going to be denied last season, winning last year’s Fish Bowl, 40-14.
This year? It’s a much tougher call. Gone are all Gig Harbor’s seniors, and gone with it, I expect, are any chances of a Tides’ blowout this year.
Gig Harbor is 1-1 on the year so far, with a 40-28 loss to Squalicum and a 43-7 win over Spanaway Lake. Pretty much everything is new for the Tides, but one thing has remained constant: Gig Harbor can put up some points. The Tides are averaging 35.5 points through two games this season. While I wouldn’t read too much into the road blowout against Spanaway Lake, putting up 28 points against a ranked Squalicum team in the first game of the season was impressive.
I’m generally not a fan of the by-committee approach to quarterbacks, but it seems to be working out just fine for the Tides so far, with Ryan Baerg and Nick Yockey splitting reps. The Tides spread the ball around and can still put up points in a hurry.
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Peninsula, on the other hand, is a bit more conservative with its offense, opting to run the ball most of the time. While junior quarterback Burke Griffin has been steady for the Seahawks, coach Ross Filkins hasn’t asked him to do much. And so far, he hasn’t had to, because Peninsula runs the ball really well. Cameron Lewis, Kenny Easton and Blake Cantu all split carries for the Seahawks, behind a strong offensive line, and tend to wear teams down over the course of the game.
It’s also worth noting that this is a league game once again, with both teams now in the Class 3A South Sound Conference. There should be some added competitiveness to the game.
I see Gig Harbor putting up some points in this game, even though Peninsula’s defense has only given up 19 points through two games.
But I also see the Tides having a difficult time stopping Peninsula’s rushing attack. The Tides were gashed for 350 yards on the ground against Squalicum, which has to be an area of concern for coach Aaron Chantler. Who knows — maybe the Tides have grown by leaps and bounds in their run defense over the past couple weeks. But improvement doesn’t happen overnight, and the Tides will have their hands full with Peninsula’s bruising running backs.
PREDICTION: It’s a tight game until the end, but Peninsula’s rushing attack eventually wears Gig Harbor down. Peninsula 34, Gig Harbor 31.
Make sure to participate in our third annual Fish Bowl score prediction contest on Twitter. Use the hashtag #FishBowlPrediction, and be sure to include a final score. The person who guesses the closest final score will get their photo in the paper next week, along with a prize.