Gateway: Sports

Peninsula defensive end Isaiah Juvik debuts for Seahawks

The Peninsula High School football team got a boost recently, as Seahawks’ defensive end Isaiah Juvik made his season debut in last Thursday’s 24-21 overtime win over Timberline.

Juvik, who missed some time due to an academic issue, brings a strong resume to the team as he was first-team all-league defensive selection last season in the 3A SSC and is excited to be back playing for his senior year.

Even as the game against Timberline was a battle, Juvik wasn’t that surprised by the win as he spoke about how he wasn’t going to let this rivalry game slip through their fingers.

“It was fun. It was a dogfight,” Juvik said. “I wasn’t about to lose to Timberline my first game back. I made sure to give 150 percent and leave everything I had on the field.”

Even as he was hungry for a win, he still had a lot of respect for his opponents and the bond that they share.

“For me personally with Timberline I got a lot of usos, some Polynesian brothers out there so I don’t have any resentment towards Timberline,” Juvik said. “They have a really good coaching staff and they’re a good team.”

That respect is something that defines how he treats even his most fierce opponents. He will play hard until the final whistle but will always practice good sportsmanship after the game is over.

“I got love for every team. After the game I was giving some hugs. I was like ‘Hey, you guys played very, very well. Good job.’” Juvik said. “But you know as soon as they snap the ball, it’s my team against their team.”

It being his first game back, it might be expected for there to be some growing pains for any player who had yet to take the field this season. But Juvik isn’t any old player. He was putting in the work to be ready come gametime and got back into the swing of things quickly.

“It was nothing new, just another day back in the office,” Juvik said. “I haven’t missed one practice. I’ve just been working on coming back. As a first game, it was a good first game to be back.”

With that being said, there are still some things that he found himself needing to work on for the season ahead. Most notably, especially in a high intensity game that goes to overtime, being in top condition to keep playing hard is something that one needs to train for.

“For it being my first week, my first game playing, it was definitely a bit of a jump,” Juvik said. “It was a hard game. I definitely was winded a little bit. I wasn’t about to just slump over and fall down. I wanted to prove myself and keep up my reputation.”

That confidence in himself to keep pushing through being tired and keep contributing extends to his fellow teammates, especially those with him on the defensive line.

He thinks they still can grow in what they can achieve as a team but has a lot of faith in the team they are now as well.

“I think our defense is really good. Obviously, there is always room for improvement and we are never complacent with how we play,” Juvik said. “There’s a lot to work on. There’s a lot individually and as a whole that we can improve and that we plan on improving. But for right now I think our defense is looking good and I think we’re definitely going to be a weapon.”

What specifically does he think can be improved on? It all comes down to one thing: intensity.

“Something that can be improved on is our intensity. I feel like sometimes we go out and some plays we’ll get a little flat. They’ll end up getting a yard and that intensity will bounce back,” Juvik said. “I think just maintaining that intensity and just the feeling of we’re not letting them get a single yard.”

That philosophy of not giving an inch and not letting any team get past them is an important one for how he approaches every game they play. He is particularly intense about his team’s level of intensity.

“We’re going to step on their throats, we’re not going to let them move up on us,” Juvik said.

What does that look like for his final season for the team and how does he see himself fitting into the team for the remainder of the season? He sees himself being the go to for his team when they need him in what he hopes is a competitive season.

“For myself, I just want to still be an asset to this team. I still want to be the dude, the pocketknife, where any position on defensive line I can go to work at,” Juvik said. “I see a lot of potential with this team. I think we’re going to be a powerhouse this season.”

Beyond this year, what aspirations does he have for his post high school career? He not only wants to continue playing but he has somewhere specific in mind where he would want to continue doing that as well.

“I would like to play in college. I would like to see where I can go as a football player,” Juvik said. “A lot of my friends from last year, a lot of my brothers that I played with they all moved up to WSU. I’ve been there and visited a few times. I really like their football program and I really like how their coaching staff is. That’s something I’m looking forward to right now, I’m trying to get an offer from them.”

No matter what happens in the future, Juvik wants to leave a legacy and a message to some of the younger players that he would have given to himself in their shoes.

“Always go hard,” Juvik said. “Always have that mentality that you’re bad. That person in front of you is bad too but he’s not better than you. Never limit yourself by thinking anyone is better than you. Everyone is an equal on that field.”

Juvik and the Seahawks will play next on Friday in an away game at 7 p.m. against Central Kitsap.