Gig Harbor High football coach Aaron Chantler asked his team for no turnovers as a birthday present to him.
He didn’t get that; the Tides turned the ball over once. But the coach did get a win, as Gig Harbor beat visiting Shelton, 38-21, on Friday night at Roy Anderson Field to push its winning streak to three games.
It’s safe to say Chantler will take it.
“I’ll live with the one turnover, I guess,” Chantler said with a laugh. “It was good to get a win. We needed that winning streak. It puts us in a position to control our own destiny. That’s all you can ask for at this point in the season. We’re happy with that.”
And finally, Gig Harbor may have some clarity at the quarterback position. Sophomore Ben Hollenbeck has been a revelation for the Tides, starting the last three games for Gig Harbor. He’s the third Gig Harbor quarterback to play this season. And while he’s not slicing opponents up with his arm, he brings an exciting speed element to the table.
Against Shelton, Hollenbeck rushed for 209 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. He added three touchdowns and 143 yards in the air. In total, he accounted for five touchdowns — not a bad night for the sophomore.
“He’s definitely a dynamic weapon,” Chantler said. “We’re still growing with him. He did a decent job in the pass game. He’s starting to understand that when he runs around, keep your eyes up and good things will happen.”
Gig Harbor senior wide receiver and defensive back Marc Fletcher snagged two touchdowns in the air and had an interception on defense.
“He had a great all-around game,” Chantler said of Fletcher. “He’s not our number one look as a receiver, in terms of throwing the ball. We usually use him on our inside run stuff, our jet stuff. That’s (Hollenbeck) scrambling around and Marc got open.”
It’s not as pretty as last season, by any means, but Gig Harbor (4-2 overall, 3-1 South Sound 3A) is finding ways to get wins. And ultimately, in terms of getting into the playoffs, that’s all that matters.
“We’re doing what we need to do as a team,” Fletcher said. “We’re still working on a lot of stuff. It wasn’t perfect by any stretch but we’re doing a lot of things to win games. We’ll just keep pushing forward.”
Chantler said the team is in a good spot heading into the final part of the season.
“We’re a really young team,” Chantler said. “A lot of people counted us out before the season started. We’re 4-2. We’re 3-1 in league with three to play. You can’t ask for a better spot than that right now. We’re excited to see what happens in the stretch. Hopefully we can make a run at this thing and get a playoff spot.”
PENINSULA 23, NORTH THURSTON 7
Peninsula extended its perfect season, pushing its record to 6-0 overall and 4-0 in the Class 3A South Sound Conference with its win over North Thurston on Oct. 6.
Senior Kenny Easton rushed for 109 yards on 25 carries, while senior Blake Cantu added 57 yards on the ground and a touchdown for the Seahawks. Junior quarterback Burke Griffin completed 8 of 16 passes for 89 yards and added five yards and a touchdown on the ground.