After the entire Gig Harbor High School football staff watched film this week on Eastern Washington powerhouse Kamiakin, coach Aaron Chantler took a poll.
What opponent did the Braves resemble most around Pierce County?
The Tides’ assistants didn’t hesitate: They look very much like the Gig Harbor squad of 2015.
And in person, sixth-ranked Kamiakin looked just as impressive.
Scoring on six of their first eight first-half drives, the Braves walloped Gig Harbor, 45-0, in a Class 3A first-round matchup Saturday afternoon at windy Lampson Stadium.
Running back Jethro Questad rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone. Quarterback Zach Borisch pitched in with a pair of rushing scores as well. He also completed 10 of 17 passes for 194 yards and a touchdown.
Kamiakin outgained the Tides, 340-16, in the first half in grabbing a 42-0 lead.
The entire second half was played under the WIAA running-clock “mercy rule.” Questad and Borisch did not play a snap after halftime.
The Braves will host Bonney Lake in the 3A quarterfinals next weekend on this same field.
“That is very good football team — it’s between them and Squalicum as far as the best team we’ve faced all year,” Tides coach Aaron Chantler said. “We were hoping to maybe get a stop or two early, and also get a score to keep it close. It didn’t work out that way.”
It’s hard enough to stop Borisch and company on a normal football field. It’s a whole different challenge trying to do it on a short field.
The Tides’ offense tried to move the football against a stiff headwind the entire first quarter. Passes wobbled against the breeze. And punts barely traveled 25 yards.
All three of Kamiakin’s first-quarters touchdown drives started past midfield.
“You can’t give that team the short field,” Chantler said.
The Braves (9-2) grabbed a quick 7-0 lead on Borisch’s 19-yard scoring strike to Champ Brayson, who was all alone near the right pylon.
Questad gave Kamiakin a 14-0 advantage with his 13-yard touchdown scamper on the next series with 5:48 to go in the opening quarter.
And 1:24 later, the Braves went up 21-0 on Benson Smith’s 1-yard touchdown plunge.
“One thing we did really well today, we usually start off slow … but the offense had a great pace, and the defense stopped them,” Borisch said.
At the end of the first quarter, the Tides had minus-1 yards of offense — with Martin Brazier accounting for seven yards on seven rushing attempts.
It wasn’t all bad for Gig Harbor, which forced three turnovers, all interceptions, by Mark Kimball, Roman Havens and Malik Livingston.
Despite the blowout loss, Chantler pointed out a good share of positives about this season — one that saw the Tides (6-5) make a fourth consecutive state-playoff trip, which had never been done before.
“You lose so many seniors (from 2015) … so the fact we are here in week 11, playing in the state playoff games, that is amazing,” Chantler said. “The whole team battled all year.”