Community Education Sports

Fish Bowl 2024 to be played in Tacoma

Posted on February 23rd, 2024 By:

Fish Bowl, the annual football game between Peninsula and Gig Harbor high schools, is on for 2024. But it will be in Tacoma.

The Peninsula School District announced Thursday, Feb. 22, that the 2024 Fish Bowl will be played at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma. The game will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7.

Increased seating capacity

Mount Tahoma Stadium has capacity for 5,000 spectators. Seating capacity at the district’s own stadium, Roy Anderson Field near Peninsula High, is less than 2,000.

“We are so excited about the possibility of our district hosting Fish Bowl at a venue that accommodates everyone who wishes to cheer their team on,” Superintendent Krestin Bahr said in a news release. “The popularity of the Fish Bowl has outgrown Roy Anderson Field, and we want to honor this important tradition in a facility that allows our whole community to participate.”

Mount Tahoma Stadium is 13 miles from Gig Harbor High School and 16 miles from Peninsula High School. But it might be a considerable longer drive for Key Peninsula families whose children  attend Peninsula High.

Coaches’ concerns

Controversy marred the 2023 Fish Bowl, a 21-20 Gig Harbor win. The postgame scene became highly tense, with one assistant coach describing it as close to a “riot atmosphere.”

The school district investigated the actions of coaches, players and fans at the 2023 Fish Bowl. Documents associated with that investigation indicated that coaches from both the Tides and the Seahawks believed Roy Anderson Field is insufficient to handle a game that draws as many fans as Fish Bowl.

Peninsula School District Executive Director of Digital Learning Kris Hagel said it won’t cost the district much more to have the game at Mount Tahoma.

Costs and inconvenience

Rental costs are being finalized, Hagel wrote, but “initial quotes put it between $1,500 and $2,000,” adding that “athletic budgets will cover the costs.”

The news release sent Thursday evening extolled the virtues of the Tacoma stadium, including covered seating on both sides of the stadium, locker rooms for both teams and adequate parking.

In response to follow-up questions from Gig Harbor Now, Hagel minimized the inconvenience to families.

“Both schools play many games away from Roy Anderson each season,” Hagel wrote in an email to Gig Harbor Now, “and we expect that the school will be developing opportunities for fans to be able to ride booster buses and other transportation opportunities as they do for all games away from Roy Anderson field.”

Separate divisions of new league

Thursday’s release also confirmed that Gig Harbor and Peninsula will play in separate divisions of a new league for all sports starting in 2024-25. The league will be called the Puget Sound League. Gig Harbor will play in the Narrows Division and Peninsula in the Nisqually Division.

The new league reportedly merges most members of the South Sound conference with some from the Pierce County League.

The News Tribune newspaper of Tacoma reported in late January the likely makeup of the two divisions would be Central Kitsap, Silas, Bellarmine, Mount Tahoma, Lincoln and Gig Harbor in one; and Timberline, Capital, River Ridge, North Thurston, Peninsula and Lakes in the other.