Gig Harbor High School junior Edwin Brown does a little bit of everything. The junior forward plays defense on his club team, but he’s one of the most lethal scorers for the Tides.
Brown racked up two goals last Wednesday in the Tides’ annual crosstown rivalry game against Peninsula at Gig Harbor High — one on a penalty kick and the other on a second-half breakaway — and they helped Gig Harbor beat Peninsula 3-0.
Midway through the first half, junior midfielder Tanner Stepp made a break for the goal and was illegally tackled in the box to set up the penalty kick. Tides head coach Todd Northstrom picked Brown to take the shot, and Brown delivered with an attempt into the top left corner.
“Northstrom called my name to take it, and I just walked up, felt confident about taking it, and hit it in,” Brown said.
Brown, who said his strength is on offense, showed why he’s such a valuable weapon. In the second half, he got the ball on the right side and delivered a perfect shot across the goal to the opposite side of the field.
“When he’s doing what we want him to do, and that’s play wide and set himself up to beat people wide on the outside, rather than cutting in and dribbling into traffic, he’s deadly,” Northstrom said. “We want to utilize his speed and get him on the outside, because then it opens up the field for us.”
Northstrom said Brown is starting to understand how to be more effective, and when he’s doing the right things, he’s extremely difficult to contain.
“He’s a high-level player,” Northstrom said. “He’s key.”
Gig Harbor junior Joel Jacobsen added a third goal late in the second half to seal the win in a game that not only saw the Tides showcase their offensive prowess, but their defensive ability as well.
Northstrom substituted players frequently to keep the defense fresh and fast.
“Defense is a little shaky subbing, because you get nervous because it’s such a cohesive unit, and they’ve gotta work together and almost telepathically communicate,” Northstrom said. “I was a little bit nervous, but they did a great job. Everyone did today, in terms of communicating and doing the right thing, and playing the ball out and not just booting it away.”
Peninsula head coach Brian Lawson said his team will take the opportunity to improve, and he’ll continue to evaluate where players fit into the overall schemes.
“We’re still looking at fitting some key players into some different spots, and working on getting the right players in the right spots and just coming together tactically,” Lawson said. “We still have some kinks to work out.”
Peninsula gave Gig Harbor some scares in the first half, most notably on a nifty back-heel in the box from senior captain Noah Hanks, but freshman Maynor Martinez was unable to convert.
The Seahawks had some chances on rebounds, but they struggled to generate clean looks throughout the game.
Regardless, it was an opportunity for the players to engage in the crosstown rivalry. A lot of them have grown up playing with and against each other in club soccer. Northstrom described the rivalry as “friendly.”
“They all know each other, and they’re good kids,” Northstrom said. “I’ve coached a few of those kids over there. I know a lot of the parents and stuff. I don’t think the rivalry is as crazy as maybe football or anything like that. I know these guys respect each other, and I know they’re rooting for each other once they’re done playing.”
Lawson said the rivalry is good for both schools.
“I think both programs look forward to it,” he said. “It’s fun for these boys who play club against one another to come out here and compete. Like I said, they look forward to the rivalry, and they look forward to the competition, and it’s something that has a lot of history, and we hope to keep that going.”
Brown said he enjoyed the atmosphere, with parents and friends packing the sidelines.
“It’s exciting to play it,” he said. “We knew it was going to be a good turnout. The atmosphere was good. Everything was good.”Jon Manley: 253-358-4151 firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @gateway_jon