Before the regular season commenced, linemen Samuel Peacock and Brenden Rivera knew what was necessary to win football games.
They had to close out their opponent.
“We had a lot of close games that we never really finished out, and this year, our main focus is to be able to finish every play until the very end,” Peacock said.
Failed goal-line stands last year allowed opposing teams to stay within reach. The Tides even
entered the fourth quarter with a lead in two of their five losses.
“We can use [last year] as motivation to help fuel us,” Rivera said. “Last year definitely wasn’t where we wanted to be. We felt like we could’ve done a lot better, but we’ve worked all offseason and kept that in the back of our heads.”
Now two games in, you could say that closing games hasn’t been an issue.
Aside from Gig Harbor’s 2-0 start, the Tides have allowed just nineteen combined points to their opponents. Yes, nineteen.
“We’re not the same team we were,” said Gig Harbor coach George Fairhart. “We’re trying to be more physical. We’re trying to be tougher, physically and mentally. We’re trying to play that brand of football.”
And looking beyond the defense, the offense cruised in both victories, piling on 28 points at Spanaway Lake and adding 21 more at home versus the class 4A Curtis Vikings.
Fairhart credits the run game for the team’s offensive success.
“We’ve changed the focus within our own team,” Fairhart said. “We’ve been able to establish the run the last couple weeks. So far, we’re laying the groundwork for this season.”
With two wins in the rear view mirror, the Tides look to Friday where they begin in-league play against rival Timberline.
The matchup sets up to be a physical one at Roy Anderson Field, where the Tides won four of their five home contests last season.
“Timberline has been near or at the top of our league the last couple of years,” Fairhart said. “In recent years, they’ve been the top dog. They play a physical brand of football, so we’re going to try to match that with them this year. I think we can match that. We’ve shown we can.”
So with arguably the toughest test thus far coming to town Friday night, what’s the game plan for the Tides?
You probably guessed it.
“We’re going to try to run the ball,” Fairhart said. “There’s not going to be any secret about what we’re going to try to do. We’re going to rely on our offensive line and several running backs and try to run.”