If a zombie apocalypse ever broke out, there’s one person Peninsula High football coach Ross Filkins would want on his side.
“I would hope I’m standing next to Chance Stolz,” Filkins said with a laugh.
That’s likely because the senior has left a trail of destruction — mainly brutalized ballcarriers — on the football field this season.
The Seahawks’ senior linebacker had 65 solo tackles last season as a junior. Already this season, he has 41, with four regular season games to go. He also has 23 tackle assists, a forced fumble and an interception.
“I’m having fun,” Stolz said.
But he’s not completely satisfied.
“You always expect more out of yourself,” Stolz said. “I think I’ve played well. I think I can do more.”
Leading the team in tackles? Check. Big, tone-setting hits? Check. Being all over the field, all the time? Check. But Stolz said he wants to make more ‘woah’ plays.
“Interceptions, big hits, everything,” he said. “You want to be like your own highlight reel.”
He might want to cut himself a little slack. Lack of depth at the offensive line has forced Stolz to play left guard this season, which would slow down a lot of high school athletes on the other side of the ball. But Stolz doesn’t lack endurance or mental fortitude, in large part due to his experience on the wrestling mat for the Seahawks.
“Wrestling, it’s a lot more mental,” Stolz said. “It’s probably one of the hardest things. As soon as the football game is over, it’s like, ‘Wow, I’m exhausted.’ But during the game, there’s so much adrenaline that you don’t really notice it.”
Filkins said he’s been the most dominant defender he’s seen so far in the SPSL 3A.
“He’s been phenomenal,” Filkins said. “Not just demonstrating toughness and intelligence but also athletic ability.”
Stolz is known for lighting up opponents with big hits — sometimes, they get up a little slowly.
“He definitely sets the tone,” Filkins said. “He’s extremely physical but he does it the right way. He’s not going and using his helmet as a weapon. It’s just body blows.”
Stolz is the heart and soul of the Peninsula defense, but hasn’t yet received much recruiting attention.
“It’s kind of worrisome, but I believe it’ll come,” Stolz said.
Quite frankly, Filkins isn’t sure what college coaches are missing.
“If you’re a college football coach, this is the guy you want at middle linebacker. This is a guy you want to have on your team going forward.”
SEAHAWKS FALL TO SPARTANS
When Peninsula running back Komisi Siolo scampered into the end zone in the game’s final seconds to put the Seahawks within one, Sumner coach Keith Ross thought the Seahawks were going to go for a two-point conversion to win the game.
But Peninsula (2-3 overall, 1-2 SPSL 3A) went with the usually safe, conservative option of going for the extra point. Only this time, it didn’t work out. The holder couldn’t handle the snap and the kick was blocked, sealing a wild 21-20 for the Spartans on Oct. 1 at Roy Anderson Field.
“There’s a lot of pressure on people,” Ross said. “It was a classic game.”
While the Spartans dismantled the then-No. 3 Auburn Mountainview Lions in week 3, Ross knew the trip to Peninsula wasn’t going to be easy, by any means.
“They’re the defending champs,” Ross said. “They play like us. They’re tough, they’re solid, they’re well coached. I knew all week it was going to be exactly like this. It was a little closer than I wanted, but this is exactly what I expected. I let my team have it at half time because I think they might have expected something different, but I certainly didn’t.”
While the missed PAT was disappointing for the Seahawks, Peninsula coach Ross Filkins said the game comes down to more than one play.
“There were a lot of things in between that we could’ve done to not put ourselves in that position,” Filkins said. “We’re never going to evaluate a full game on one play.”
Sumner (5-0, 3-0) had a big day on the ground. Star junior running back Connor Wedington ran for 129 yards on 18 carries, including a pivotal 50-yard score early in the third quarter. Not to be outdone, senior Josh Riley also passed the 100-yard mark, going for 101 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.
Peninsula running back Kenny Easton had 38 yards rushing and a pair of touchdowns. Komisi Siolo added 32 yards on the ground, including the late 8-yard score.
Despite the loss, Filkins was pleased with the toughness and grit the Seahawks showed.
“What we saw tonight was a Seahawk team that really grew up right before our eyes,” he said.
Stolz was upset with the loss, but pleased with the effort.
“We played so well and with so much heart and really looked like a team,” he said.
Where: Enumclaw Expo Center.
When: 7 p.m., Friday, Oct. 9.
Outlook: After back-to-back games against top-10 teams, Peninsula travels to Enumclaw to face the Hornets, who have a 1-4 overall record and an 0-3 record in the Class 3A South Puget Sound League. The Hornets have been close in some of their games but haven’t been able to break through. The Seahawks will look to build off their impressive performance against Sumner last week.