If the players on Mariner’s roster didn’t know about the physical play of the Gig Harbor High defense before Friday night’s game at Roy Anderson Field, they do now.
The Tides delivered big hit after big hit against the Marauders, bottling up the running game, shutting down the passing game and pitching a shutout, 45-0.
“It’s awesome,” said Gig Harbor strong safety Kale Wong, who was named the Class 4A Narrows League defensive MVP. “It’s the whole defense. … We play sound. Our defense is stellar. It’s everybody.”
The Tides held Mariner’s speedy junior tailback Darius Brown to just 34 yards rushing on 16 carries.
“We practice that all week — the containment,” Wong said. “Just working on drills, keeping him contained and squeezing him down.”
The headlines often go to the Gig Harbor offense, but the Tides’ defense has been tough to beat this season, too.
“When everyone is doing their job, we’re a pretty good defense,” Wong said. “We fly around the ball, we’re fast, we like to hit. We’re hard to beat. Our offense is awesome, too. They put up the points for us. We’re just trying to help them by getting the ball back to them.”
Gig Harbor coach Aaron Chantler said the defense deserves recognition.
“Our defense has played really well all year long,” Chantler said. “Obviously, they get overshadowed a lot because of the points we put up, but they’ve been one of the top defenses in the state since the first week of the season. They played physical tonight, they set a tone very early with their physicality.”
Wong wasn’t the only player delivering big hits against Mariner (4-6). Linebacker Bo Longmore is making himself known as a hard-hitter for the Tides as well.
“They’re two very similar players,” Chantler said. “Kale is the faster one and Bo is a little more sturdy. It’s like you’ve got a fighter jet and a Mack truck coming at you. They’re aggressive. Sometimes, we have to tone them down a little bit and keep them in their gaps where they’re supposed to be. But when they get a shot at a guy and square them up, there’s some loud noises. It’s fun to watch those two guys play.”
Gig Harbor (10-0) jumped out to a quick lead and never looked back. Tides senior quarterback Davis Alexander connected with senior wide receiver Noah Samsen twice in the first quarter for 53- and 24-yard scores, while Longmore added a 1-yard score on the ground. On all three scores, Gig Harbor converted two-point conversions, taking a 24-0 halftime lead.
In the second half, Alexander connected with senior wideout Kyle Olson-Urbon several times. Olson-Urbon scored on 30-yard and 27-yard passing plays. Alexander also connected with senior wideout Cory Condon for a 10-yard score. Alexander finished 25-for-34 passing, racking up 337 yards and five touchdowns. Olson-Urbon tallied nine catches for 143 yards and two touchdowns.
Gig Harbor will hit the road to face Skyline this Saturday at 1 p.m.
“They’re a well-coached ball club,” Chantler said about the Spartans. “They’re a spread team, they’re a lot like us. It’ll be two kind of mirror images going at each other — two really high-powered offenses and two really solid defenses. It’ll be a lot of fun. They might have guys that can match up a little bit with our wideouts, so it’ll be more of a test for them. But I think they’re ready for that.”
Where: Skyline High School.
When: 1 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 14.
Outlook: Now, it gets tough. Skyline has posted a 9-1 overall record and a perfect 8-0 mark in KingCo 4A. Skyline’s only loss was a 38-34 decision against SPSL 4A’s Graham-Kapowsin, another state playoff team. The Spartans are similar to the Tides: They put up a lot of points on offense and don’t give up a lot of points on defense. This game has the potential to be a shootout.