The Peninsula High School football team missed the postseason for the first time in 11 years last season.
It lost to Bonney Lake in its season finale, ending its season with a 4-5 record. Bonney Lake clinched a postseason berth with the victory and went on to win its first state game in school history.
Don’t expect that playoff drought to last for long, though. This Seahawks team is the deepest 21-year coach Ross Filkins said he’s had.
"We are all working together and being a team," senior tight end and defensive back Jackson Reid said. "That’s the culture our coach is pushing."
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Cameron Lewis returns to running back after missing time last season to injury, figuring to split time with Blake Cantu and Kenny Easton. He’ll have some strong linemen to run behind with 6-foot-7, 325-pound senior Cody Kanouse and 6-foot-3, 270-pound Isaac Esterly being two key returners.
The biggest difference will be this league. Peninsula joined the 3A South Sound League after playing in the 3A South Puget Sound League, which no longer exists.
You’ll forgive Peninsula for not making the postseason last year considering it had played in one of the state’s toughest leagues. Of the four schools that reached the postseason from the 3A SPSL (Sumner, Auburn Mountainview, Lakes and Bonney Lake), all reached the state playoffs and three of the four were beaten by eventual 3A state champion Eastside Catholic.
Of the eight schools, including Peninsula, in the 3A SSC, only Gig Harbor reached the postseason last year – and it is trying to replace 27 seniors.
And you can bet Peninsula will be up for that game against the Tides – at 7 p.m. Sept. 16 at Roy Anderson Field.
"I’ve always seen the Fish Bowl in the first game of the season," Reid said. "I would be lying to you if I said I wasn’t thinking about it – but we’re still thinking about Mt. Spokane this week and trying to stay focused on the next goal."
A Peninsula player broke a huddle at Wednesday’s practice.
"Eleven!" he yelled.
"As one" his teammates responded.
It’s the motto for a group that hopes to revel in its depth, yet function as a unit.
"It’s about including," Reid said. "The seniors aren’t a group above a group, it’s a group within a group. It’s all about meshing together. Its more than about an individual – it’s about unity."
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677