It’s a question that’s been tossed around all season long between Class 4A Narrows League coaches and players.
Depending on whom you ask, the answers vary.
How does a defense stop — or even slow — the talented, speedy, sure-handed and hardworking trio of Gig Harbor senior receivers Kyle Olson-Urbon, Cory Condon and Noah Samsen?
Gig Harbor coach Aaron Chantler: “What coverage are you going to play to defend them all?”
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Condon: “I have no idea ... just hope we have a bad night all around, I guess. I don’t think it matters.”
Samsen: “If one of us isn’t open, then there is at least two of us who are open.”
Olson-Urbon: “It’s all good, (opponents) can do whatever they want to do. It’s (about) what we need to do and how we execute our stuff.”
Whatever strategies or fancy formations teams have used this season, few have worked well, as the third-ranked Tides completed the program’s second 9-0 regular season with a 58-28 win over Bellarmine Prep on Friday night at Roy Anderson Field.
There were indicators throughout games in summer passing leagues that had the trio believing that it could be a force to be reckoned with this season. It also didn’t hurt that senior dual-threat quarterback Davis Alexander, a Portland State commit, would be slinging the ball all over the field.
“We knew we’d be successful, but the amount of numbers we’ve been putting up wasn’t really expected,” said Samsen, the 2014 Narrows 4A offensive MVP. “But it’s good to see.”
While all have shined collectively within Gig Harbor’s up-tempo system, each has picked each other up when one or the other is having an average game. After an injury opened the door for Condon to play a bigger role in the offense earlier in the season, he responded with a two-touchdown, 100-plus receiving yards game in a 40-6 blowout win over Eastlake.
“Cory has been the biggest surprise,” Chantler said.
All three have more than 500 yards receiving this season, and Olson-Urbon is fourth in the area in receiving with 47 catches for 889 yards and 14 touchdowns.
“If one person has a bad game, then that opens the door up for another person to have a good game,” Condon said. “It just balances it out.”
Although in-game drives often play out looking like a well-oiled machine, it’s the work the trio has put in during practice and the summer that each is most proud of.
“Work ethic is the main piece to our success,” Olson-Urbon said.
That work ethic has also paved the way for the trio — which has embraced the nickname “Fast Fellas” — to make things look simple when plays break down and Alexander has to scramble and his targets have to find new routes and techniques to get open.
“For the most part, they are accustomed to where they need to be to get in (Alexander’s) sight,” Chantler said.
Having that much talent in a receiving corps have allowed Chanter and the offense to get creative when injuries in the running game came up. The Tides routinely trotted out five-receiver sets (with Dylan Lindmark and Shawn Kimble) in three straight games this year.
“We can throw the ball 50 times a game and feel good about it, we can run the ball 50 times a game and feel good about it,” Chantler said.
The question itself about how to stop a three-headed monster like the trio is actually irrelevant to each once they step on the football field. While it’s fun to talk about the video-game-like scores the Tides have put on some teams this season, it all comes down to what happens in their huddle — not on the other side of the line of scrimmage.
“Teams like to say they are going to give us the short stuff, and not get beat deep and bring pressure from their linebackers,” Olson-Urbon said. “We’ll take the five- or six-yard outs and then just break them.”
All three know the result of the last Gig Harbor team to go 9-0 in the regular season (a loss in the state title game), but that team didn’t have quite the firepower this roster has on it. This group is looking to write a new ending to that story.
“Teams give us their best shot,” Olson-Urbon said. “We’re definitely ready. We don’t drop a lot of balls and we don’t run a lot of bad routes. Everyone does their part here.”
Gig Harbor (9-0) will host Mariner (5-4) in a Class 4A district playoff game at 7 p.m. Friday at Roy Anderson Field. The winner of the game is the West Central District No. 3 seed to state.