The Peninsula Seahawks trailed the Auburn Mountainview Lions 7-0 just before halftime Friday night, and they needed to grab the momentum.
A Peninsula penalty on a missed field goal attempt allowed the Lions another shot at three points with no time left on the clock. That’s when defensive lineman Zach Howard busted through the line and blocked Devon Tanberg’s 31-yard try, and it ignited the Seahawks to a 17-10 homecoming victory at Roy Anderson Field.
Afterward, Howard admitted he had been called for the personal foul that moved the spot of the field goal up 15 yards for the second attempt. He and another lineman had been blocked into the center, an infraction because the center can’t be hit in field goal formations.
“That got me really (ticked) off,” he said. “My adrenaline got rushing, and I knew that I needed to get that block.”
Howard, at 6-foot-4, 250 pounds, found a crease and put his left arm in the air. The ball went off his hand and wrist, and Peninsula (3-3 overall, 2-0 SPSL 3A) kept the deficit at seven.
It was a different story in the second half.
Running back Avega Siolo finished with 19 carries for 136 yards and two touchdowns, and the Peninsula defense made key plays to shut down Auburn Mountainview (1-5, 0-2).
Siolo scored on a 39-yard run just three plays after Peninsula converted a fake punt on its first possession of the third quarter, and he added a 12-yard TD in the fourth.
“It was just phenomenal blocking and a phenomenal effort,” said Siolo, a 5-9, 215-pound back who also plays linebacker. “Everyone did their part. That’s what we worked all summer for.”
It was anything but easy.
Auburn Mountainview sophomore quarterback Gresch Jensen completed 25 of 41 passes for 183 yards, and senior Joey Cassano had nine receptions for 87 yards to lead a Lions team that was in it until the final minute.
Peninsula senior Will Hopkins intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter, and junior cornerback Marque Kriebel had the final say.
Jensen was leading the Lions down the field for the potential tying touchdown when Auburn Mountainview faced fourth and inches from the Peninsula 27-yard line with 41 seconds to play.
Instead of tossing a quick pass to the flat, like the Lions had repeatedly done for most of the night, Jensen used a pump fake and lobbed a pass toward the right sideline for Cassano.
“I bit on (the fake), and (Cassano) beat me,” Kriebel said. “But our D-line got in (Jensen’s) face. I just saw the ball in the air and ran as fast as I could.”
Kriebel recovered just enough to tip the ball away as both players crashed to the turf. It was the final sequence in a back-and-forth battle that could have gone either way.
Peninsula quarterback Robert Kvinsland went 10-of-17 passing for 87 yards, and Austin Kilcup completed a big 23-yard pass to Hopkins that converted a fourth down on a fake punt. It actually went to the Lions’ 10-yard line but was called back during the run due to a penalty.
The Seahawks, who committed 10 penalties for 105 yards, got to keep the first down, and Siolo bounced his first TD run to the outside moments later.
Auburn Mountainview’s Ray Hardaway returned the opening kickoff 88 yards to put the Lions on top. Peninsula had two scoring chances in the first half, but the Seahawks missed a 35-yard field-goal attempt and failed to convert on fourth and goal from the 4.
Auburn Mountainview regained the lead when Tandberg kicked a 36-yard field goal a little more than a minute into the fourth quarter, but Peninsula needed just four plays to answer with Siolo’s second score. That play was set up when Kvinsland connected with sophomore Kyle Olson-Urbon on a 44-yard pass deep across the middle.
Peninsula’s Till Bruns made it 17-10 when he booted a 37-yard field goal with 2:36 to play. The possession came after Hopkins’ interception turned the tide.
“I’m very proud of our players,” Seahawks coach Ross Filkins said. “They didn’t waver. I just love our players for having the confidence, regardless of the situation.”
Peninsula, which is tied with Lakes for first place in the South Puget Sound League, will host Decatur (1-5, 0-2) in its final home game of the season at 7 p.m. Friday. Peninsula will be on the road for the final two weeks, at Enumclaw on Oct. 25 and at Lakes on Nov. 1.