Peninsula High senior Braeden Potter dodges a tackle at Fishbowl 40. Photo: Ed Johnson, KP News

The Peninsula High School Seahawks moved the needle a notch Oct. 19 when they beat their hometown rivals the Gig Harbor Tides 21-10 in the 40th Annual Fish Bowl at Roy Anderson Field for their third consecutive Fish Bowl victory. The record now stands at 21 wins for the Tides and 19 for the Seahawks since the first Fish Bowl was played in 1979.

It was a cold and foggy night. Distant figures jogged in and out of the mist blanketing the gridiron before kickoff, illuminated by the flashing lights of busy food trucks selling to an invisible mass of fans. Long gone is the classic Gig Harbor salmon bake that once preceded the game and suggested its name to then Peninsula teacher Marc Ross. But for the occasional blasts of tubas and drums competing with a thousand screaming teenagers, one could have forgotten a football game was about to begin.

More than a game, the fevered festival that is Fish Bowl has become an annual reunion where hope and potential mingle with age and experience; where students and teachers, alumni and administrators all roam the stadium as one. Sporting green and blue body paint or graying hair and balding domes, clad in torn jeans and Mardi Gras beads or aging letterman jackets and sensible shoes, the thronging devotees are made equal by the gravity of the contest before them and the promise of glory it offers or rekindles.

The Seahawks were the early favorites under the helm of Head Coach Ross Filkins in his 24th year at Peninsula and fourth as athletic director. Peninsula went into Fish Bowl 4-1 in the 3A South Sound Conference and 5-2 overall. At sixth place in the SSC, the Tides (2-3 and 3-4) came to Fish Bowl facing a must-win to get to the postseason. They beat the last place Shelton Highclimbers 50-14 the week before, while the Seahawks lost a first place slot to the Yelm Tornadoes 42-21.

But the Seahawks seemed to forget they were supposed to win Fish Bowl after Peninsula senior Braeden Potter (RB/OLB) ran a spectacular 98 yards for their first touchdown on their first play just minutes into the first quarter.

Neither team was able to complete another drive until the second quarter, when GH recovered a Seahawk fumble, setting up an 11-yard rushing touchdown by GH senior Ryan King (WR/FS). After tying up the score, GH senior Logan Kinney (K/P) kicked a 45-yard field goal, making the score at halftime 10-7, Tides.

It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that Peninsula struck back, when sophomore Sean Skladany (RB/DL), rushed 9 yards for his first touchdown as a Seahawk.

Minutes later, Peninsula sophomore Chase Coalson (WR/S), who already had one intercept in the first quarter, recovered a costly GH fumble at the Seahawks’ 18-yard line.

Peninsula senior Burke Griffin (QB/DB) followed that up with the second huge run of the game, a 93-yard rushing touchdown that made the score 21-10 after the extra point.

The Tides could not recover, turning the ball over on downs, and the Seahawks kept control of the game and their shot at the playoffs.

See you next year.

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