The Tahoma Bears turned the ball over seven times in the first half to Gig Harbor Friday night at Roy Anderson Field, giving the Tides a short field on almost every drive. Turning the ball over seven times to any team isn’t a recipe for success against any team, but especially not the potent, high-speed Tides offense, which thrived off the turnovers and beat the visiting Bears 56-14.
“Unfortunately, we played our worst football tonight, and you can’t do that in the playoffs,” said Bears’ head coach Tony Davis.
Gig Harbor’s offense wasn’t going to let a phenomenal defensive and special teams effort go to waste, as the Tides racked up huge numbers in the first half, going up 49-0 at the break. Bears’ quarterback Shane Nelson threw three picks in the first half, and the Bears lost four fumbles. Gig Harbor head coach Aaron Chantler hoped they could bait Nelson into some ill-advised passes.
“We really tried to take away the deep ball,” Chantler said. “They’ve got two really good wideouts, and a really good quarterback. We knew if we could stay over the top, and force them to throw underneath, we might be in positions in coverage where we can force some turnovers.”
Chantler has been waiting for this type of game from his secondary, and tonight they delivered, against a high-powered offense with a good group of receivers.
“The secondary was fantastic. We’ve been talking for two years about hey, you gotta just do your job. The corner’s job is to stay over the top. Get over the top, keep everything underneath you, don’t get beat vertically. They listened, they stayed over the top, I don’t know how many picks we had but we sure had a lot. If you’re going to give our offense short fields, you’re going to be in for a long night.”
Gig Harbor quarterback Conor Scanlan finished eight of 14 passing for 124 yards and two touchdowns, also adding 10 carries for 105 yards and three touchdowns. Sterling Brown gained 102 yards on 15 carries with one touchdown. Wide receiver Reese Carslon, after missing a stretch of games with a hand injury, had five catches for 96 yards and a touchdown. He was happy to be back.
“It’s awesome,” Carlson said. “Just being with the guys, period, that’s all it is to me. When we finally get it going, I feel like we can do whatever we want to be successful.”
Carlson also pointed to the turnovers the Tides’ generated, giving the offense a short field to work with.
“The turnovers were a big point, because we were able to get the ball back as quick as possible and get points on them quick,” Carlson said. “I felt like they took a few punches and they just couldn’t react to it. We were so fast, and we moved the ball so quickly.”