Gateway: Sports

After waiting in the wings, Peninsula QB Bice ready for his turn as starter

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The bad news for the Peninsula Seahawks entering the 2019 football season is that longtime starter Burke Griffin has graduated and now plays at New Hampshire.

The good news? There was no long or drawn out search to find his replacement, keeping the Seahawks hopes to go deep into the playoffs alive this upcoming season. As practice began on the Aug. 21, Peninsula coach Ross Filkins named senior Peyton Bice the starting quarterback for the 2019 season.

“He didn’t inherit it, he earned it,” Filkins said. “For the last two years, he’s been very reliable for us. We were very comfortable with putting him in there, and now he’s got the full reins of this offense.”

Bice will go under center for the first time since November against a familiar opponent. The Seahawks open up against an O’Dea team that eliminated them in the quarterfinals of the playoffs last season. It was in that game where Bice had to step in after Griffin was injured early in the second half.

It was a shock to Bice as the circumstances of the game and his entry into caught him off guard, but he had the confidence to get the job done.

“Honestly, when you’re in a situation like that, you just take the plays you’re given,” Bice said. “And we felt like (Burke Griffin) and I both knew what was going on in that drive and what we could do and we took care of what we needed to do. Even though it (the injury) came out of nowhere, I felt like everyone was prepared.”

Coach Filkins hasn’t been surprised by the growth of his new starter this season. He admired the way Bice pushed Griffin in the last few seasons and how loyal he was to the program.

“(Bice) knew he was good enough to start at other schools the last two years but but he stuck with it,” Filkins said. “Now it’s his opportunity to do it the right way.”

Bice knows he doesn’t have to be Burke Griffin in order to give the Seahawks a chance at another deep run into the state playoffs. While Griffin was more of a dual-threat QB, Bice is more of a traditional quarterback who can drop back and sling the ball around.

Bice steps in with the task of leading the Seahawks back to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs and possibly even a step further.

“I think there’s some pressure when you’re playing for a highly successful program and you want to carry on what the team has done,” Bice said. “I feel prepared for that, and the coaches do a great job of getting us prepared. I think we’re set up to have equal or greater success than we’ve had in past years.”

Bice will get that opportunity in week one on Sept. 6 against O’Dea and is eager for the opportunity, despite the opponent and the 0-2 record they’ve had in the last two tries against the Fighting Irish.

This time, he’s a starter and and knows they’ll need to set and strong and disciplined tone.

“I want all of them to know that we can’t have any penalties, we can’t have turnovers,” Bice said. “We have to be competitive and efficient. We spent all spring establishing that and grinding that, where we’re at now feels really good. We’re very comfortable running our offense and that’s the most important part for us.”