Gateway: Sports

Peninsula survives scare against Auburn Riverside, prepares for loser-out game

Peninsula High survived a scare against winless Auburn Riverside last week, winning 14-9, and keeping its playoff hopes alive.

“It definitely wasn’t our best game of the year,” Peninsula coach Ross Filkins said. “We didn’t execute particularly well in all three phases. We were fortunate to survive that. But in our league, every win is a great win. We’ll take it. It sets up a big game for us on Friday.”

That game is against Bonney Lake, on the road. If Peninsula wins, the Seahawks will grab the fourth and final playoff spot from the Class 3A South Puget Sound League (assuming Auburn Mountainview beats Enumclaw. If the Hornets pull and upset, the Seahawks can leapfrog the Lions and claim the No. 3 seed). Either way, it’s a loser-out game for Peninsula.

“We control our own destiny,” Filkins said. “We’ve been able to fight through some adversity and scratch out some big wins. We don’t need anybody’s help.”

On paper, it looks like a winnable game for the Seahawks. Bonney Lake has a 4-4 overall record and a 3-3 record in league, while the Seahawks have a 3-4 overall record and a 2-3 record in league. But with Peninsula’s inconsistent play this season, it’s difficult to know which Seahawks team will show up. When Peninsula plays well, it competes with some of the best teams in the state. When the Seahawks play poorly, it’s a different story.

“As a staff, we’re just sticking with the plan, trying to demonstrate consistency,” Filkins said. “We’re working very hard. We’re going to set up a lot of competition in practice. We just need to keep working at it. I definitely feel like our best football is ahead of us. We’ve shown we can play with anybody. That’s the thing about it now, we’re essentially in the playoffs from here on out. There shouldn’t be any reason for anyone to take a team lightly or anything like that.”

Peninsula’s success is largely dependent on junior quarterback Ryder Johnson. When he’s playing well and confidently, the Seahawks are a formidable opponent.

“He’s a pretty good barometer for us as a team,” Filkins said. “We want to be capable in both passing and running game. When he’s setting his feet and letting the ball go, it makes it that much easier on our run game. I think it is important. He’s grown a lot over the course of the season. Hopefully he can get into a rhythm and we can protect him and run good routes.”

If the Seahawks can sneak into the playoffs and peak at the right time, they could be a dangerous low seed and could potentially surprise some teams.

“We get through this week, and everyone is 0-0,” Filkins said. “It’s a whole new season. I think we’re a team that could cause teams some problems.”

Jon Manley: 253-358-4151