Down 20 points at the half on the road against Meadowdale in the Class 3A state football quarterfinals on Friday night, most folks probably would have counted the Peninsula football team out. But the Seahawks showed those in attendance a thing or two about “Purdy grit,” clawing back into the game with a ferocious comeback, before eventually falling to the Mavericks, 34-29.
“This team has character,” said Peninsula senior Blake Cantu. “From freshmen to the seniors. Not a lot of teams have that. We love each other and play for each other.”
It was a tale of two halves at Edmonds Stadium. In the first half, the Mavericks scored at will and found themselves up 20 at half on the visitors. At half, Meadowdale had 157 passing yards compared to Peninsula’s 30. The Mavericks had 131 rush yards, compared to Peninsula’s 67. But whether it was Peninsula coach Ross Filkins firing the team up at halftime, or the Seahawks just waking up after the long ferry ride and trip over to Edmonds, something resonated at half. After intermission, the Seahawks came out with fire.
In the third quarter, Peninsula (10-2) scored on a 15-yard run from Kenny Easton, a quarterback sneak from Burke Griffin and a blocked punt that rolled out of the end zone for a safety, to make the score 34-23. Suddenly, it was a game.
“We made some corrections and woke up and started playing some Seahawk football,” said Peninsula coach Ross Filkins. “They’re a good team and there’s a reason they’re in the quarterfinals. First of all, credit to them. We did not execute or play with the energy we’re accustomed to. We picked a bad time to come out with a slow start. But for that, tale of two halves, we showed what we’re made of in the second half.”
For Cantu and the rest of the seniors, they realized if they didn’t play with a different kind of energy in the second half, it would be over.
“Us seniors really got the message that we needed to show out or we were going to go out,” he said. “We came out hot. We knew we had to dig ourselves out of the hole we were in. we tried our best but it’s hard to dig yourself out of that hole.”
Peninsula senior running back Cameron Lewis scored on a 3-yard run to make the score 34-29. But on its final drive of the game, Griffin threw incomplete at midfield and Meadowdale (10-2) sealed the win.
While it wasn’t the result the team was hoping for, Filkins said he was proud of how hard his team fought back.
“I could not be any more proud of these guys,” Filkins said. “The scoreboard doesn’t reflect how much heart and how much love these guys left on the field tonight. The thing about this game, only one team is going to end the season on a win, of all the greatest teams in the state. So the thing about these guys is, they learned a heck of a lesson about life tonight. When things aren’t going your way, you’ve got to create it on your own. You can never get down on yourself and you’ve just got to keep playing.”