The Peninsula Seahawks stuck with their year-long recipe for success Friday night against the Bonney Lake Panthers in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament — a heavy dose of Avega Siolo.
The senior running back rushed for 212 yards and three touchdowns on 29 carries, guiding Peninsula to a 30-7 win over the Panthers on a rainy and windy night at Roy Anderson Field.
The Seahawks advanced to Saturday’s quarterfinal round, and they’ll host defending state champion Bellevue at 7 p.m. The Wolverines, who knocked Peninsula out of the playoffs in the quarterfinals last season, beat Glacier Peak 48-6 in the first round last weekend.
Peninsula head coach Ross Filkins said the Seahawks had a great gameplan as they entered Friday’s contest against Bonney Lake.
“(Siolo) gave us a tremendous effort tonight,” Filkins said. “Hats off to our offensive line, as well. They did a great job all night long.”
Siolo also deflected credit to the line, which, in addition to opening running lanes, has gone eight games without allowing quarterback Robert Kvinsland to be sacked.
“The whole team, all the linemen were all connected and all on the same page,” Siolo said. “There was good execution on the blocking.”
Bonney Lake head coach Jason Silbaugh tipped his hat to Peninsula’s potent running attack.
“They’re a really good running team,” he said. “(Siolo) is a heck of a back. Filkins (has) got a great program. They’re a tough-nosed team, and they keep you on your toes.”
Bonney Lake’s lone score came in the first quarter, when quarterback Isaiah Weed connected with Alex Schantz for a 20-yard pass. The ball went right over the hands of the Seahawks’ safety.
Other than that, Peninsula played lock-down defense.
“It was a great defensive effort,” Filkins said. “The touchdown they did get, we had a guy right in position, he just got out-jumped for the ball. We felt really good about our defensive game plan, and our kids executed really well.”
The weather conditions made it difficult for either team to sustain success in the passing game. Kvinsland finished 8-for-13 passing with 92 yards. But Siolo’s production made his job easier.
“He was clutch,” Kvinsland said. “The rain was tough to pass in, so it really helped having Avega. Once he’s in the open field, he’s almost impossible to tackle.”
However, Filkins said the weather didn’t affect the passing game.
“We just wanted to run the ball,” he said. “It’s always a beautiful night for football in downtown Purdy, Wash. That wasn’t an issue for us at all. We loved it. It was fun.”
Siolo also said the team enjoyed the weather.
“There was nothing wrong with the weather. We love this weather,” he said. “This is Seahawk weather right here. We love it down here with the rain in Purdy. We were looking forward to the rain, and we wanted to establish the run early. We were able to do that. Practice was very good during the week, and the coaches did their job, and so did the players.”Sports reporter Jon Manley can be reached at 253-358-4151 or by email at jon.manley@ gateline.com. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_jon.