High School Sports

Graham-Kapowsin beats Gig Harbor in state 4A football playoffs

As the momentum continued to shift Gig Harbor’s way in the second half, Graham-Kapowsin senior running back Shannon Edwards saw his season flash in front him — and he wasn’t going to let it end with a loss in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs.

So on the Eagles’ final drive of the game, Edwards took over, running behind his big, physical offensive line. His 248-yard rushing night was capped off by a 37-yard touchdown run, giving the Eagles the 27-21 win over the host Tides in front of a standing-room-only crowd at Roy Anderson Field.

“We wanted it more than them,” Edwards said. “This meant more to us than it did to them. They gave us a good run. They came back on us. They’re a good team. At the end, we just had more heart.”

Graham-Kapowsin (10-1) led 21-7 at halftime and dominated the line of scrimmage on offense and defense. But Gig Harbor (9-2) came out with a renewed energy in the second half, and the pace of the Tides high-speed offense began to take its toll on the defensive line of the Eagles.

After a 49-yard touchdown reception by junior running back Adrian Valona — and a missed extra point — in the third quarter, the Tides tied the game at 21-21 on a 14-yard touchdown run from Valona and a successful two-point conversion pass from junior quarterback Davis Alexander to junior wide receiver Noah Samsen.

“Games are close in the first half; things didn’t click exactly how we wanted it to,” Tides coach Aaron Chantler said. “But because of our tempo, those guys get tired. Those big D-lineman, they get worn out.”

With less than two minutes to go, Gig Harbor marched all the way down the field on their final drive on some spectacular plays from Alexander. With 13 seconds to go, Gig Harbor had one more chance on 4th down from the Eagles 25-yard line — but Alexander’s pass went incomplete, ending the game and season for the Tides.

“Gig Harbor played their butts off in the second half and got physical and came after us,” Graham-Kapowsin coach Eric Kurle said. “It was just a fun game both ways.”

Most of Gig Harbor’s offense came in the second half. Valona finished with 178 yards on 21 carries and had two touchdowns on the ground, and the 49-yard receiving touchdown. Graham-Kapowsin will face Wenatchee in the state quarterfinals next week.