Peninsula knew they would have to be nearly perfect to defeat the defending 3A state champion Bellevue Wolverines on Friday night at Roy Anderson Field. Unfortunately, just about all the could go wrong in the first half did, and the Wolverines took advantage, taking a 48-0 lead into halftime. Peninsula fought back valiantly in the second half, albeit against Bellevue's backups, and their state run ended in the quarterfinals as they lost to the visitors, 48-27.
Bellevue featured star running back and prized recruit Budda Baker, who showed the home fans exactly why he was so highly touted. On the very first play of the game, Baker ripped off a 65 run for a touchdown. He only touched the ball three times in the game, finishing with 93 yards on three carries. Bellevue stuck with the ground game the whole evening, featuring a dizzy display of their misdirection option offense, with several backs getting touches.
“Their execution, and also their speed (is hard to stop),” Peninsula head coach Ross Filkins said. “It's incredibly difficult to prepare for that team speed that they have.”
Bellevue's defense and special teams also came ready to play. The Wolverines scored touchdowns on a blocked punt, and two pick-sixes off Peninsula quarterback Robert Kvinsland. The 48-0 halftime lead essentially decided the game, and Bellevue started the backups in the second half. Peninsula was able to execute their offense against the backups, scoring on an Avega Siolo run, two passes from Kvinsland to Hodge and Olson-Urbon, and a 90-yard fumble recovery run back for Jack Andrews. To their credit, the Seahawks continued to fight.
“We wanted to finish what we started, we didn't want to lose and be completely embarrassed,” Kvinsland said. “We came out and kept playing our hardest, like we were playing against number ones. We wanted to finish our season on a high note, which that second half was.”
Kvinsland took a second to reflect on how far this team had come since a rough opening to the season with losses against Bellarmine Prep and Gig Harbor.
“This team means everything to me,” Kvinsland said. “There's nothing I would've wanted more than to win that game and get to the dome but it was a great season. We made a huge stride from getting our butts kicked at Bellarmine and in the Fish Bowl, and then going on that big eight win stretch, I don't think anybody saw that coming for us, and then we ended up in the quarterfinals this year.”
Filkins said the team fought hard this year, despite considerable losses.
“I'm just so proud of my players,” Filkins said. “We had a tremendous season. After losing 19 starters, graduating 25 seniors and all of our specialists, these guys came out and really battled hard all year long. All we asked them at halftime after a disastrous first half was just, play it zero zero, and come out and just play Seahawk football, and they did that and I'm really proud of them for how they finished.”
Sports reporter Jon Manley can be reached at 253-358-4151 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @gateway_jon.