Peninsula had nearly squandered the 28-6 lead it had built at half over the Stadium Tigers on Friday night.
Stadium was quickly clawing its way back into the game in the third quarter when Peninsula quarterback Burke Griffin does something he normally doesn’t do: He threw an interception.
But what happened next was telling. Griffin flushed the play and bounced back with a huge fourth quarter that included a 49-yard touchdown pass to receiver Alex Beloate.
“This season, I knew I would be taking shots and sometimes (interceptions) happen,” Griffin said. “It’s all about having a short memories. If it’s a good play, bad play, whatever — we flush it and move on.”
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It’s a different level of poise and maturity this season for Griffin, who offset his lone interception by completed 14 of his 22 passes for 252 yards and a touchdown.
“He’s so mature this year,” Peninsula coach Ross Filkins said of his signal-caller. “He knew he immediately made a mistake but he got over and he didn’t make the tackle, but he slowed the guy up and allowed us to make the tackle. Absolutely, he went right back to work and corrected it and put some great drives at the end of the game.”
Last year, Griffin might not have been able to overcome that bad play. This season is a different story.
The signal-caller’s play and calmness under pressure was one of the biggest factors in Peninsula’s wild 41-38 win over the Stadium Tigers.
The game looked like a compelling matchup on paper, but at half, it hadn’t quite lived up to the billing.
Peninsula stormed into halftime with a lead, capitalizing on three Stadium turnovers and making the Tigers pay.
The first turnover was on a Peninsula punt that bounced off a Stadium player’s helmet.
“That was a big play, and then we turn the ball over inside of our red zone and that’s a big deal,” Stadium coach Thomas Ford said. “Anytime you play a team like Peninsula, you have to play as mistake free as you can and we didn’t do that tonight.”
But the Seahawks didn’t falter when Stadium went on a run. Peninsula scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to keep Stadium behind.
Peninsula knew it would be in for a dogfight in the second half.
“With that great quarterback and some great athletes, we knew we had our hands full and it was a huge challenge for us,” Filkins said. “We’re very happy to come out with a win and we’re proud of our kids for playing from start to finish.”
Peninsula sealed the win late in the fourth quarter with junior Braeden Potter’s interception. Potter also poured in three touchdowns as a running back for the Seahawks, bringing a toughness and edge that Peninsula was missing in its week-one loss to Mt. Spokane.
Peninsula moved to 1-1 on the season, while Stadium fell to 1-1.
“This is a game I’ll always remember,” Griffin said. “This is one of the best places to play high school football in the nation. It’ll definitely be one we remember.”