Gateway: Sports

Peninsula hopes to steady the ship after rocky 2015 season

Peninsula High players Blake Cantu, Jack Filkins, Cody Kanouse and Evan Johnson, from left, hope to help guide the Seahawks back to their winning ways in 2016.
Peninsula High players Blake Cantu, Jack Filkins, Cody Kanouse and Evan Johnson, from left, hope to help guide the Seahawks back to their winning ways in 2016. jbessex@gateline.com

There were times during the 2015 football season in which the Peninsula High School football team looked great. Like when the Seahawks knocked off highly-ranked Auburn Mountainview, 34-20. Or when the Seahawks went toe-to-toe with a highly-talented Sumner squad, losing by one in the game’s closing seconds.

But there were other times when the Seahawks sputtered — losing convincingly against Lakes, dropping a game to Enumclaw, and struggling to score many points in a 13-10 loss against Bonney Lake in the final game of the regular season, causing Peninsula to miss the playoffs.

This season, Peninsula wants to be more consistent.

It all starts with leadership. We have a great coaching staff behind us. We haven’t really had anything new with that part of it. As players, we’re just doing our best to lead the team and play together as one.

Cody Kanouse, senior left tackle

“It all starts with leadership,” said senior left tackle Cody Kanouse, who holds scholarship offers from Washington State, Hawaii and Idaho. “We have a great coaching staff behind us. We haven’t really had anything new with that part of it. As players, we’re just doing our best to lead the team and play together as one.”

For coach Ross Filkins, everything comes down to one word: execution.

“We did some great things last year,” Filkins said. “We just need to make sure we’re consistent throughout with our execution and effort.”

Having a veteran offensive line, led by Kanouse, should be a good starting point for the Seahawks.

“Our o-line is a veteran group as well as our d-line, and our skill kids on both sides of the ball are veteran, experienced. I think we’re in good shape with our personnel,” Filkins said. “The o-line, that’s going to be a really good group there. They have a great work ethic.”

Freshman Jack Hanisch, juniors Cooper Sims and Burke Griffin are all making their cases to be the team’s starting quarterback.

“(Hanisch) is a gunslinger,” Kanouse said. “He’s learning a lot and learning really quickly. Griffin just brings great energy. He works hard and plays hard. Cooper is smooth, really wants to learn and he’s doing well, too. It’s really anybody’s game. We love blocking for each of them. We have no problem, no matter who (wins the job).”

Peninsula is staying in Class 3A, but is joining the South Sound Conference. The Seahawks welcome crosstown rival Gig Harbor into the fold this season.

We’re not (playing Gig Harbor until week three) but we’re excited to be a little warmed up coming into league and getting to play Gig Harbor. It’s always a fun atmosphere.

Cody Kanouse

“It’s always going to be good competition,” Kanouse said. “We still have to win one game at a time, so nothing really changes. We’re pumped (to have Gig Harbor in the league). We’re not (playing Gig Harbor until week three) but we’re excited to be a little warmed up coming into league and getting to play Gig Harbor. It’s always a fun atmosphere.”

Peninsula will open its season with a substantial road trip, traveling to Spokane to face Mt. Spokane at Joe Albi Stadium on Friday (Sept. 2).

“We wanted to take the team on a big road trip and kind of go out and do some bonding on the road,” Filkins said. “Eastern Washington plays at WSU, too, so we’ll do a campus tour and take the game in. Mt. Spokane is an excellent team — they’re back-to-back-to-back league champs. It’s a school that has a lot of pride. It’ll be a big challenge.”

The Seahawks will return home to Roy Anderson Field on Sept. 9 to face Stadium in their final nonleague game before preparing for the Fish Bowl.

“Really, I want to see our guys go out and play the way they’ve been coached to,” Filkins said. “Keep climbing every rep, every play — just continual growth. I want to see the kids go out and have fun. We try not to take ourselves too seriously. Our program is excited; we try to have as much fun as we possibly can.”

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