Gateway: Sports

Gig Harbor prepares for showdown with 3A South Sound Conference defending champ Timberline

One of Gig Harbor’ High School’s biggest games of the season is Friday. After finishing 1-1 in non-league play with a 41-13 win over Spanaway Lake and a 33-21 loss to Curtis, Gig Harbor faces defending Class 3A South Sound Conference champion Timberline at 7 p.m. at South Sound Stadium in Lacey.

The Tides will look to bounce back after a loss to Curtis, in which the Tides never threatened the Vikings. But Gig Harbor was also without three key players because of injuries; both its starting corners Jurrian Hering and Ryan King, and center Jake Flynn.

Quarterback Ben Hollenbeck completed 12-of-22 passes for 128 yards, one touchdown and an interception. He also rushed 11 times for 83 yards and a touchdown against Curtis.

But the injury bug was too much to overcome for the Tides.

“We had quite a few kids out,” Fairhart said. “The kids who replaced them really stepped up. We kind of hung in there.”

If Gig Harbor wants to fulfill its aspirations of winning a league title this season, Timberline will be a good measuring stick. While the Blazers graduated several key players from last year’s league title team, the formula remains: Play physical football on both sides of the ball and control the line of scrimmage.

“Timberline is really good,” Fairhart said. “We’re still not sure which kids we’re going to get back this week, so we’re trying to prepare everyone. As the week goes on, we’ll know more. I’d like to be at full strength.”

Timberline enters the game with a 1-1 record, losing 35-6 to Tumwater in week one, before bouncing back for a 28-21 win over Bonney Lake last week.

Fairhart said one key to the game will be disrupting quarterback Hunter Campau.

“We have to contain him,” Fairhart said. “He’s really dynamic. He creates most of their offense. Not just throwing, but running. Their defense is always tough. They’re real physical. That’s why they’ve been league champions. It’s the same formula for them: They have really good linemen, athletic kids. They like to hit, be physical. It’s the same team, different year.”]

Fairhart said he felt like his team improved during its two-game non-league slate. Now? He’d just like to field a full squad.

“Hopefully we get healthier,” he said.