Gateway: Sports

Peninsula junior Johnson favored to win QB job

With 2014 Peninsula quarterback Robert Kvinsland graduating and heading to Idaho State University to continue his football career, the Peninsula High Seahawks have a vacancy at the quarterback position.

The likely replacement candidate is 6-foot-4 junior Ryder Johnson, although Justin Grosshans is also competing for the position.

“Ryder is a big, prototypical, strong-armed quarterback,” Peninsula coach Ross Filkins said. “He has a decent amount of experience and is getting better every day. There’s still a lot of things to work on there. The other junior to-be is Justin Grosshans, who is more of a running-type quarterback, good athlete. He’s improving significantly as well.”

While Filkins hasn’t named a starter yet, he said Johnson is the favorite at this point.

“He’s doing a really good job,” Filkins said. “He’s really talented. He has a big-time arm. So few kids have an arm like his. We’re just fine-tuning, trying to get everything connected with him. But he’s a big, 6-4 kid, 215 pounds. He’s definitely a good athlete. He’s going to get better every day from here on out.”

Johnson said he’s trying to keep the production at the quarterback position at a high level.

“I’m just trying to get it all worked out,” Johnson said. “(Kvinsland) did a great job. I’m just trying to do just as good or better than him.”

So far, everything is falling into place, Johnson said.

“It’s going really smoothly,” he said. “We’re farther ahead than I thought we would be.”

While Johnson projects as a good pocket passer, he’s working on becoming more of a dual-threat quarterback also.

“I’d like to get more agile and quicker,” he said.

Commanding an offense with many different looks has been the most challenging part so far, Johnson said.

“This year is a learning experience,” he said. “We just need to work a few kinks out, but I’m pretty confident.”

During the spring, Filkins just wants to see all his quarterbacks competing and getting better.

“I just want to make sure they work hard to get better every day,” Filkins said. “And just to keep on developing their football IQ. They’re all young. The future of that position looks really bright here.”

Peninsula won the highly-competitive Class 3A South Puget Sound League last season and advanced to the state tournament quarterfinals, before being eliminated by Bellevue High School.