Peninsula hadn’t lost since the first week of the season, so the Seahawks had no reason to change their primary plan of attack: hand the ball to senior running back Major Ali.
Oak Harbor had no answer for Peninsula’s powerful running back as the Seahawks cruised to a 42-14 victory over the Wildcats at Roy Anderson Field in the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs.
“It feels great,” Ali said. “Oak Harbor is a very quality team. We knew we’d have some challenges with them coming in, and the offense played well. The defense played well. The offensive line was getting a good push all four quarters; they’re always doing their assignments.”
Peninsula (10-1 overall) struggled to find its rhythm in the passing game early. Senior quarterback Robert Kvinsland finished 8 for 17 for 165 yards, and the cold weather likely contributed to a few drops by some Peninsula wide receivers. But the Seahawks had no issue with continuing to pound the ball with Ali, who finished with 144 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries.
“I think our offense did a good job of just taking what they were giving us all night,” Peninsula coach Ross Filkins said. “I felt like we were balanced and ran it relatively well.”
The Seahawks exploded for a couple of big plays as well, including a 77-yard run on a fake punt by junior Kyle Olson-Urbon in the first quarter. In the fourth quarter, Kvinsland connected with senior receiver Matt Shirley for a 76-yard touchdown, putting the game out of reach.
Oak Harbor (7-2) struggled to capitalize on decent field position early and couldn’t get on the scoreboard until late in the third quarter.
“Against a good team like Peninsula, you have to take advantage when you have chances,” Oak Harbor coach Jay Turner said. “The few chances we had, we just didn’t capitalize on them. We made too many mistakes. They’re too good of a team to make mistakes against.”
Peninsula will face Bellevue next weekend in the state quarterfinals. The Wolverines have bounced the Seahawks the past two seasons. But Filkins thinks this team has a shot at the upset.
“This is a team that has balance,” Filkins said. “Our kids play very hard for each other. I think our strongest asset as a team is the love that our players have for each other and how much they enjoy playing this game. It just so happens that for Bellevue, they’re the next ones up. Our kids will play as hard as they possibly can to extend this season.”