Turning the ball over five times generally isn’t a winning recipe in football games. Gig Harbor found that out on Friday night, when the Tides hosted Squalicum at Roy Anderson Field, losing 40-28 to the Storm.
“You turn the ball over five times, it’s hard to win a football game,” Gig Harbor coach Aaron Chantler said. “They’re a good team, they’re well coached. ... We turned the ball over five times, and it wasn’t like we were turning the ball over deep in our own end. We were turning the ball over as we’re driving down the field.”
With three fumbles and two interceptions, the Tides couldn’t get out of their own way. But some growing pains were expected. Gig Harbor had the unenviable task of replacing nearly its entire roster from a 2015 team that was one of the school’s best.
“It’s a young ball club,” Chantler said. “We’re trying to go through the bumps and the bruises, the ups and downs. That’s normal. We’ll correct it. Hopefully next week we take care of the ball a little better.”
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Gig Harbor had a tough time with Squalicum’s rushing attack. Junior running back Triston Smith rushed for 150 yards on 19 carries, and senior running back Ben Peterson tallied 182 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries.
“We got a little tall on the defensive line,” Chantler said. “We have to stay a little lower, fire off, try to put our helmets on their hip instead of standing straight up and trying to make too much happen by being a big teddy bear on roller skates. ... It’s easily correctable stuff. We’ll work on it this week and hope to do a better job next week.”
Gig Harbor also broke in two new quarterbacks, with juniors Ryan Baerg and Nick Yockey splitting time.
“We’ve got to look at the film and break that down,” Chantler said. “Both (players) showed good things. I think Yockey played fairly well in the first half and then Ryan really stepped up at the end.”
Baerg had an especially effective connection with 6-foot-2 junior wideout Kellen Gregory, who had a huge game for Gig Harbor, finishing with 175 yards receiving and two touchdowns on 14 catches.
“(The connection) felt awesome,” Gregory said. “If (Baerg) gets the ball to me, I’ll try to catch it. It was nice to have a good game but I wish we would’ve pulled it out in the end.”