With thousands of screaming fans packed into Roy Anderson Field on Friday night for the 39th Fish Bowl between Gig Harbor and Peninsula, it’s understandable that the players would want to put on a show.
But the Seahawks may have been trying a bit too hard in the first half, trailing at halftime.
“We just needed to get them calmed down,” Peninsula coach Ross Filkins said. “There’s just so much emotion in this game. We’ve got a fair number of players that are under the Friday night lights for the first time. It’s still pretty early in the season. So it’s hard. There were a lot of people here tonight, it was very loud and some of our kids lost their composure and focus. So I felt good if we could just get them to halftime, get everyone calmed down and on the same page.”
Whatever sage wisdom Filkins imparted to his team in the locker room during halftime must have resonated. Peninsula exploded in the second half, cruising to a 31-21 victory and winning its second straight Fish Bowl.
“We get a little too hyped sometimes,” said Peninsula senior running back Michael Foreman, who rushed for 67 yards on eight carries and scored a touchdown. “But we just take a breath in the huddle every time. (Quarterback) Burke (Griffin) is really good at calming us down. It’s the (offensive) line and Burke all day.”
Griffin went 14-for-22 for 210 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
“Something just clicked halfway,” Griffin said. “We struggled in the first half on both sides of the ball. We knew we could do better than that. We’re a better team than that. It all started working for us.”
Junior running back Braeden Potter ran for 98 yards for the Seahawks on 16 carries. Potter and Foreman offer contrasting styles at running back for Peninsula.
“They’re both doing a really good job,” Filkins said. “Potter is a little more physical, Foreman is a bit more of a slasher. So they complement each other really well.”
Gig Harbor quarterback Ben Hollenbeck was explosive once again for the Tides, going 12-for-22 for 191 yards and three touchdowns, and adding 82 yards on 16 carries. But Peninsula capitalized on three Gig Harbor interceptions, including one Potter took back 36 yards for a score.
“I think our turnover ratio was at zero, which is weird for us,” Filkins said. “We really wanted to flip the script there and fortunately, we made some adjustments defensively. Fortunately, we were able to get a little bit of pressure there and our DB’s did a great job jumping some routes.”
Two of Gig Harbor’s receivers had big nights — junior Ryan King tallied 101 yards and a touchdown on three catches, while senior Kellen Gregory caught six balls for 66 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Gregory also had what way may have been the play of the game, hauling in an impressive one-handed catch to convert a third and 27 in the second quarter.
Penalties were an issue for both teams. Peninsula drew 16 flags for 147 yards. Eight of those were holding calls, which stalled several Peninsula drives throughout the game.
“Those holding calls, and dropped balls — you can’t keep any continuity doing that,” Filkins said.
Gig Harbor had 12 penalties for 80 yards.
New Gig Harbor coach George Fairhart will have to wait another year to try to get his first Fish Bowl win.
Filkins adds another to his growing resume.
“It’s such a cool game,” Filkins said. “I’m just so happy for our kids, all the Peninsula Seahawks. This was not a pretty game but it sure was gritty. We love every Fish Bowl win. We’ll take it.”
PHS - Ben Stanford 33 yard field goal
GH - Kellen Gregory 9 pass from Ben Hollenbeck (Kinney kick)
PHS - Cameron McDonald 4 run (Stanford kick)
PHS - Michael Foreman 6 run (Stanford kick)
PHS - Braeden Potter 36 interception return (Stanford kick)
GH - Ryan King 33 pass from Ben Hollenbeck (Kinney kick)
PHS - Alex Beloate 29 pass from Burke Griffin (Stanford kick)
GH - Kellen Gregory 2 pass from Ben Hollenbeck (Kinney kick)
RUSHING — Peninsula: Braeden Potter 16-98; Michael Foreman 8-67; Cameron McDonald 1-4; Alex Beloate 3-15; Ozzy Marten 2--2. Gig Harbor: Ben Hollenbeck 16-82; Jesse Valona 11-16.
PASSING — Peninsula: Burke Griffin 14/22, 210, TD, 2 INT. Gig Harbor: Ben Hollenbeck 12/22, 191, 3 TD, 3 INT.
RECEIVING — Peninsula: Michael Foreman 5-53; Alex Beloate 2-63; Braeden Potter 3-34; Cooper Sims 1-23; Chase Wittmers 2-27; Jace Keim 1-9. Gig Harbor: Ryan King 3-101; Kellen Gregory 6-66; Jurrian Hering 2-15; Marcel Alexander 1-9.