High School Sports

Peninsula beats North Thurston in 3A SSC opener, 38-12

Peninsula running back Shawn Leonard dives for extra yards during Thursday night’s 3A SSC league opener football game against North Thurston at Roy Anderson Field in Gig Harbor on Sept. 19, 2019.
Peninsula running back Shawn Leonard dives for extra yards during Thursday night’s 3A SSC league opener football game against North Thurston at Roy Anderson Field in Gig Harbor on Sept. 19, 2019. toverman@theolympian.com

After playing one of the toughest non-league schedules in the South Sound, defending 3A South Sound Conference Peninsula High School badly wanted a win.

Visiting North Thurston, which won its two pre-league games handily over mediocre competition, didn’t want to lose but more than anything simply wanted a performance that added a few more bricks to new coach Terry Shaw’s rebuilding program.

Both came away with something to like after the Seahawks 38-12 win Thursday night at Roy Anderson Field.

“We wanted to come out and play hot, so we got off to a good start,” Peninsula coach Ross Filkins said. “It’s good to have the scoreboard reflect how hard the kids are working.”

Shaw saw positives to build on.

“There were a lot of bright spots. We didn’t come and get waxed,” he said. “We’re playing the defending league champs, a well-coached team with really good players. We’re literally in Week Three of this offense, this defense, the whole thing. I’m proud of our players.

Peninsula took the opening kickoff and rapidly marched 65 yards on 7 plays, scoring the game’s first touchdown on 10 yard pass from Peyton Bice to Chase Wittmers, The pair would account for eight completions and 132 yards on the night.

Rams starting quarterback Keeton Maggard had missed a practice with a wrist injury earlier in the week so Zach Porter, usually a running back, was under center when the game began. He got North Thurston off to a great start with a keeper off a zone read play, gaining 25 yards.

But the Rams drive stalled and after a Maggard punt, Peninsula quickly found the end zone again, moving 59 yards on 8 plays, scoring on a four-yard run by Sean Skladany, who finished the night with 100 yards on 16 carries.

The Seahawks scored again on the first play of the second quarter, on a one-yard run by Shawn Leonard that followed quickly on the heels of a Rams’ fumble. Each team would turn the ball over four times, both tossing two interceptions and losing two fumbles.

“It was our first really rainy game, but part of our responsibility is taking care of a wet ball,” Filkins said. “We had a couple snap issues, but we’ll grow from this.”

The Rams first touchdown came via a 33-yard interception return by Brigg Hood early in the second quarter. But Peninsula retook a three touchdown lead, 28-6, before halftime when Leonard scored on another short run.

After losing a fumble of its own on the first possession of the second half, North Thurston got the ball back when Tannar Lee recovered a Bice fumble at the Seahawks’ four. Two hard carries by Kris Hernandez punched the ball into the end zone, but North Thurston would get no closer.

The Rams appeared to suffer dual blows when both quarterbacks were injured on back-to-back fourth quarter plays. Porter twisted his back and Maggard banged his shoulder, but Shaw doesn’t anticipate losing either for long.

BOX SCORE

North Thurston 0 6 6 0 -- 12

Peninsula 14 14 0 10 -- 38

P – Chase Wittmers 10 yard pass from Peyton Bice (Camron Watkins kick)

P - Sean Skladany 4 run (Watkins kick)

P – Shawn Leonard 1 run (Watkins kick)

N – Brigg Hood 33 interception return (kick failed)

P – Leonard 1 run (Watkins kick)

N – Kris Hernandez 2 run (kick blocked)

P – Wittmers 16 pass from P. Bice (Watkins kick)

P – Watkins 21 field goal

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

PASSING

N — Zach Porter 1-2-1-11, Keeton Maggard 0-2-0-0, Tyler Shriver 0-1-1-0.

P — P. Bice 9-15-2-136.

RUSHING

N — Porter 12-51, Jase Marcott 3-(-1), Xavier Barnes 2-1, Tommy Smith 3-(-2), Coreion McCall 2-(-14), Hernandez 7-18, Maggard 2-16, Shriver 1-(-1).

P — Leonard 18-60, Skladany 16-100, P. Bice 5-(-19), Jake Bice 2-(-4), Ethan Hogan 2-12..

RECEIVING

N — McCall 1-11.

P — Wittmers 8-132, Chris Akulschin 1-4.

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