Gateway: Sports

Wittmers is back from injury and a ‘full-go’ for Peninsula

Hey Alexa, how do I get the News Tribune briefing?

Here's how easy it is to set up your Alexa-enabled Amazon device to read The News Tribune’s stories each morning!
Up Next
Here's how easy it is to set up your Alexa-enabled Amazon device to read The News Tribune’s stories each morning!

It may sound simple, but the Peninsula Seahawks take pride in one, all-embracing goal:

Win one game a week.

It was the answer given by both Seahawks football head coach Ross Filkins and team captain Chase Wittmers when asked about the team’s ultimate goal for the upcoming season.

“We’re not content,” said Filkins, who emphasized the importance of the present. “We’re not happy with the past. We celebrate the here and now. We want to focus on right now, so we can keep accomplishing our goal — winning one game a week.”

And boy, have they come awfully close to achieving that goal.

Peninsula finished last season with a 9-3 record, winning all six of its home games and reaching the state quarterfinals for the sixth time in seven years.

“No one is satisfied by that,” Filkins said. “We want to keep pushing.”

Enter Chase Wittmers. The receiver-linebacker enters his senior year poised to make plays on both sides of the ball after a shoulder injury derailed the second half of his 2018 season.

“I’m full-go now — 100 percent cleared,” Wittmers said. “Everything’s good.

During a September matchup last season against Timberline, Wittmers tore his right labrum, sidelining him for three games. And even upon return, the two-way star was unable to return to his typical on-field workload.

“When I came back, I only played offense,” Wittmers said. “I wasn’t on the field a lot. … It’ll definitely be different this year playing full-time both ways.”

The full-time return of Wittmers represents just one of the reasons Filkins believes that this year’s Peninsula squad will continue its winning ways.

“We’ve certainly returned a lot of starters and kids that have played meaningful minutes at the varsity level,” Filkins said. “They’ve had a good summer and we want to accelerate. We want to take the program to the next level.”

Filkins added high praise for his team captain.

“(Chase) is one of the most dominant blockers I have had in my 25 years as head coach.”

Wittmers may have only one more year of high school ball left, but his hands and ability to block have garnered the interest of several colleges. In addition to a visit to Central Washington University this week, Peninsula’s captain already logged visits to Eastern Washington, Air Force and Northern Colorado, to name a few.

He’ll visit Eastern once again with the entire Peninsula squad in just weeks en route to an August 30 jamboree in Spokane.

Despite the attention, Wittmers hasn’t lost focus on the team aspect of football.

“We always talk about everyone doing their job,” Wittmers said. “Play eleven as one. … We’ve done a great job this spring on the field forming as a team and coming together. That’s a huge part of everyone trusting each other and doing their job.”

After their jamboree in Spokane, Peninsula opens its season west of the Cascades against O’Dea Sept. 6. But this year’s first game for the Seahawks isn’t your average season opener.

The Fighting Irish eliminated the Seahawks in last years state championship quarterfinal. O’Dea rode that victory all the way to the state championship game before falling to Eastside Catholic.

The so-called revenge game versus O’Dea is just one of the games with added meaning for the Seahawks. Throw in the Fish Bowl Game in October — the annual crosstown rivalry against Gig Harbor — and this season sets up to be a meaningful one for Wittmers.

But for Wittmers, it’s all football.

“I’m definitely excited to play in (the Fish Bowl Game) this year. I’m honestly ready to play in all of them.”