On a night when it was win or go home for both teams, Bonney Lake’s defenders decided they were not done with their 2015 season.
“We all had a goal coming into this night that we were not going to be done yet,” defensive back Luke Kacer said. “We felt we had a couple more games in us.”
Bonney Lake accomplished that goal as the Panthers claimed the final playoff seed out of the 3A South Puget Sound League with their 13-10 win over Peninsula on Friday at Sunset Chev Stadium.
“We knew it was going to be a knock-down, dragged-out (game), as we talked about it all week,” Panther coach Jason Silbaugh said.
The game turned out to be just what Silbaugh thought it would.
After going into halftime looking sluggish, Bonney Lake (5-4, 4-3) was able to regroup behind its defense after forcing two interceptions that swung momentum in its favor.
With Peninsula (4-5, 3-4) leading 10-0 and moving the ball on its second drive in the second half, Bonney Lake defensive end Marcus Hamilton stepped up big time.
Hamilton flushed Seahawks quarterback Ryder Johnson out of the pocket and into a bad throw. As Johnson was scrambling to the sidelines, the junior tried to dump the pass out of bounds.
Instead, the ball floated to Kacer, who made a tipped interception before taking off on a 45-yard return.
“I thought he was going to score on that play,” said Hamilton, whose block cleared the field for Kacer’s return.
Two plays later, Jason Day pounded it in on an 18-yard touchdown run to cut Peninsula’s lead to 10-7.
Bonney Lake took the lead on its next possession after quarterback Dane Wagner hooked up with Hamilton on a wheel route.
“I told Marcus to watch for their corner over there because he was playing back,” Wagner said. “Marcus just made a great play after the catch.”
After Wagner hit Hamilton short of the first down, the senior running back cut across the field and through the Peninsula’s defense on his way to a 44-yard touchdown reception that put Bonney Lake up, 13-10.
“I willed myself to get the touchdown,” Hamilton said. “I wasn’t going to settle for anything less than scoring.”
Bonney Lake sealed the win when defensive back Riley Teed picked off Johnson with less than a minute left in the game.
Bonney Lake will play Arlington next week.
The loss forced Peninsula out of the playoffs for the first time in a decade.
“You have to hand it to Bonney Lake and their staff, Seahawks coach Ross Filkins said. “They played a great game tonight.”