Fish Bowl investigation complete, school district announces
A Peninsula School District investigation into events at the Sept. 15 Fish Bowl football game between Gig Harbor and Peninsula high schools found that “claims of inappropriate behavior beyond what the game officials addressed were unsubstantiated.”
The district announced Monday, Oct. 23, that the investigation is complete. In announcing the completion, the district noted that “leaders have come together to discuss safety issues and best practices when hosting large events at Roy Anderson Field” and other facilities. “This includes conversations around seating, capacity, ticket sales, on site security, and more.”
Serious injury at game
The district announced the investigation after Gig Harbor quarterback Koi Calhoun sustained seriously injuries during the intense rivalry game. Calhoun was positioning himself to tackle a Peninsula player who had intercepted a pass when Seahawks players hit him. He remained down on the field for about 25 minutes.
Calhoun suffered a concussion, jaw fracture and a displaced tooth, according to The News Tribune newspaper of Tacoma. Referees penalized Peninsula for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Gig Harbor won the game, 21-20, on a late touchdown run by Calhoun’s replacement, senior Benji Park.
The News Tribune also reported that the district suspended several Tides coaches for a subsequent game against Capital High School. The district statement about the investigation indicated administrators would not comment about disciplinary action.
“To protect the privacy of our students and staff, no comment specific to individuals will be shared,” the statement said.
The district said its discussion of safety at major events includes district administrators, athletic departments and first responders. Safety during Fish Bowl was clearly already a concern for the district before the 2023 game.
A week before this year’s Fish Bowl, the district issued a news release establishing guidelines for attending the game. It asked fans not to bring or wear “full face paint, full face masks, hand-held signs, whiteboards, sticks, balls, frisbees, anything that discharges powder or smoke, or newspapers.”
The game draws a capacity crowd every year. Though kick-off was at 7 p.m., the district allowed fans to reserve seats from 2:30 to 3 p.m. on Sept. 15, more than four hours before the game started.
Witnesses said an ambulance on hand for the game was delayed in reaching Calhoun. The medical aid crew was helping a student spectator at the time, and the large crowd at the game may also have slowed the ambulance.
The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department reportedly investigated the on-field incident. No charges were filed. The department declined Gig Harbor Now’s request for documents pertaining to the investigation, on the grounds that those involved are juveniles.
A Gig Harbor Now request for the school district’s full investigation is pending. The district declined to provide a copy along with its announcement on Monday, Oct. 23.
On the field
Both football teams have had successful seasons. The Gig Harbor Tides sport a 7-1 record and a seven-game winning streak. The Tides are unbeaten in the South Sound Conference at 6-0 and face defending Class 3A state champion Yelm on the road on Friday, Oct. 27.
The Peninsula Seahawks are 4-4 overall and 4-2 in the league. They won four consecutive games following the Fish Bowl before losing to Yelm, 59-9, on Oct. 20.