Braeden Potter and Michael Foreman, Peninsula’s top two running backs so far this season, have been tough for opponents to stop.
They both carry the ball effectively, rack up yards on the ground and both catch the ball out of the backfield. But stylistically? It’s easier to contrast the two than to compare them.
Potter, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound senior, is a bruiser, carrying on last year’s tradition, when then-senior running backs Blake Cantu and Kenny Easton sought out contact from opponents.
“Last year, we had two power backs and this year, we have a whole new look,” Peninsula quarterback Burke Griffin said. “With Braeden, you can see Kenny (Easton) and (Blake) Cantu in him.”
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Potter is one of the main players who sets the tone for Peninsula’s offense. It’s a tone that embodies coach Ross Filkins’ program — tough, gritty, never-backing-down.
After Peninsula’s season-opening loss to Mt. Spokane, Filkins wanted the Seahawks to get their edge back in a road game against Stadium the following week. Potter played a big role in that, rushing for 49 yards and three touchdowns against the Tigers.
While the yardage total may not be eye-popping, those in attendance could see one thing clearly: Potter earned every single one of those yards.
“We didn’t have that (against Mt. Spokane),” Filkins said after the Stadium game. “Win, lose or draw, there’s certain things we want to do week in and week out. … I thought Braeden in offense, defense and special teams really helped us to set the physical tone of the game. I feel really good that’s where we hang our hat.”
His toughness during that game wasn’t only noticed by Peninsula — Stadium coach Thomas Ford went out of his way after the game to track Potter down and congratulate him.
“I wanted to go out, show some energy and knock some heads,” Potter said after the Stadium game.
So far, Potter has 152 yards rushing and three touchdowns on the season. He also has an interception return for a touchdown.
Then there’s Foreman. The 5-foot-10, 152-pound back isn’t necessarily opposed to contact, but he’s lauded by teammates more for his vision than physicality. A patient runner, Foreman waits for the blocks to develop and usually picks the correct running lane.
“(Foreman) is a guy who can make anybody miss in space,” Griffin said.
Foreman’s offseason improvement was evident to the coaches and players. He’s accumulated 156 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns through the first three games of the season.
“He was a track star for us last spring and his vision has improved dramatically,” Filkins said before the season began. “He’s doing a great job for us back there.”
For some, great running vision comes naturally. But for Foreman, it’s been a bit more of a process.
“It’s tough (to improve vision),” Filkins said. “(Running backs coach Mauritz) Winquist does a great job drilling the backs on hat reads. But it’s challenging. Some guys just have that full field vision, sometimes it just takes time. Rather than having that tunnel vision, things just open up for you.”
A bruiser and a slasher: Neither is right or wrong. But together, they keep defenses guessing and having to constantly adjust throughout the game.
“They’re both doing a great job,” Filkins said after the Fish Bowl, which Peninsula won over Gig Harbor, 31-21. “They complement each other really well.”