On the road at McKenzie Stadium on Saturday night, the Peninsula High School defense hadn’t made anything easy for the home team, Mountain View, in the opening round of the Class 3A state playoffs.
So when the Mighty Thunder lined up for a shot at a game-tying 35-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, the Seahawks had no intention of easing up on the hosts.
Peninsula senior Michael Foreman exploded through the line of scrimmage, outstretched his arms, and boom: kick blocked.
Nearly 152 miles from Purdy, Foreman made the biggest play of the season for Peninsula (8-3), which held on for a 10-7 win over Mountain View (8-3) to advance to the 3A state quarterfinals.
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“I want to get a tattoo for that (play),” Foreman said, laughing. “That was great. I’ve never felt anything like that. But it wasn’t me at all. It was the whole line. They did everything tonight. We were coming off the edge hot and we all believed in ourselves. I believed in my boys the entire time.”
During the game, Foreman said he realized that for the seniors, it could be their last ever high school football game. That didn’t sit well with him.
“We didn’t want to make it our last night,” Foreman said. “We just picked it up and went for it.”
Peninsula has actually made a habit of blocking opponents’ field goal and extra point attempts this season. That’s no accident, according to coach Ross Filkins.
“It’s film (study),” he said. “We don’t cut any corners. We turn every stone over. We work every step. There’s nothing that we do with this team that’s not scrutinized over and over and over.”
It wasn’t the only big play of the game for Foreman. After conceding a touchdown to Mountain View early in the fourth quarter, Peninsula quarterback Burke Griffin answered, leading the Seahawks down the field on the next drive. Griffin found Foreman on a short pass and Foreman did the rest, scampering 22 yards down the sideline and into the end zone, giving Peninsula the 10-7 lead.
“Big players make big plays in the big moments,” Griffin said. “Foreman had a couple huge plays for us tonight. It was awesome.”
And perhaps the story of the game, which had no shortage of compelling moments, was the stellar play of Peninsula’s defense, which bottled up a potent Mountain View rushing attack.
“It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, or what, or when,” said linebacker Isaac Casey. “We just hit hard, play 11-as-1, and do your own job.”
Filkins heaped praise onto his defense after the game.
“They were great,” Filkins said. “We needed them to be. We had an excellent game plan going in, but it was complicated. Having an extra day of preparation really helped us, I think. The players just did a great job in executing.”
And now, Peninsula is heading back to the state quarterfinals for the fifth time in the past six seasons. The Seahawks will get another home game, hosting Rainier Beach. The game is tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday (Nov. 17) at Roy Anderson Field.
Rainier Beach overcame a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit to defeat Mt. Spokane, 28-21, at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane in the opening round.
“We love to play in Purdy,” Filkins said. “Going back to the state quarterfinals for the fifth time in six years, it feels good but we’re not satisfied at all. When we wake up tomorrow morning, we’re going to be 0-0. We’re going to have a very talented team in Rainier Beach come in. We have a lot of work to do to get ready for that. That’s going to be a massive challenge.”
Maybe Foreman will have another big play in him at home next week.
“We’re going to make this one special,” he said. “We’re going to go out with a bang.”
Peninsula: Stanford 30 yard field goal
Mountain View: Anderson 72 yard pass from Perry Jr. (Hargrove kick)
Peninsula: Foreman 22 yard pass from Griffin (Stanford kick)
Peninsula: Burke Griffin: 13-20, 152 yards, TD.
Mountain View: Perry Jr: 6-15, 122 yards, TD; Moen 1/1, 13 yards.
Peninsula: Griffin 7-51; Potter 10-26; Foreman 8-12; McDonald 1-5.
Mountain View: Perry Jr 20-100; Jones 10-50; Urruchua 2-17; Mertens 2-15; Hall 1- -4.
Peninsula: Keim 3-48; Foreman 3-37, TD; Potter 4-37; Beloate 3-30.
Mountain View: Anderson 2-79, TD; Delmage 2-39; Hall 1-13; Bolds 1-3; Mertens 1-1.