High School Sports

Peninsula welcomes Auburn to SPSL 3A with balanced 31-10 win

Peninsula’s thunderous back, senior Major Ali, was kept in check by a stout Auburn front seven for most of the game. So the Seahawks opted for a little lightning, getting speedy senior wide receiver Conner Walch involved in the running game.

The Auburn Trojans (1-2 overall, 0-1 SPSL 3A) had no answer for Walch, who finished with 119 all-purpose yards for Peninsula (2-1 overall, 1-0 SPSL 3A) in the Seahawks’ 31-10 win at Auburn Memorial Field.

“We just wanted to spread the defense out, give them a different look,” Walch said.

The game was close in the first half, but the Seahawks found their rhythm in the second half, led by senior quarterback Robert Kvinsland’s 241 yards on 16-for-23 passing. Kvinsland, who threw two touchdown passes, was nearly unstoppable in the second half, balancing the Seahawks’ attack.

“He did a really good job of staying in there, really kept his head on his shoulders tonight, made great reads,” coach Ross Filkins said. “We had balance offensively, which is something we’re really pushing for.”

And while Ali was bottled up well for the most part, he didn’t go quietly, tallying 74 yards on 17 carries. It all added up to a big road victory against a new league opponent for the Seahawks, who have high expectations this season.

“This was a massive game for us,” Filkins said. “All we wanted to do was just come out of this thing 1-0. Mission accomplished.”

Auburn’s dizzying jet sweep offense looked dangerous in the first half but sputtered in the second. The defense also struggled, giving up 21 points in the last two quarters.

“We just didn’t play very good fundamental defense,” Auburn coach Gordon Elliott said. “We didn’t get off blocks. They’re a good team.”

Auburn learned what it will take to compete in this league, which Peninsula has won the last two seasons.

“That’s the level we have to be able to play at,” Elliott said. “We didn’t. We have to get to that level if we want to be a playoff team in this league.”

While they won’t get too ahead of themselves, the game showed how dangerous the Seahawks could be this season.

“I think we have the potential to go to the (Tacoma) Dome,” Walch said. “We just have to sharpen things up, fix some penalties and secure the ball better. I think we can go a long way.”

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