Community Sports

Peninsula advances to state with overtime win over Arlington

Posted on November 7th, 2022 By:

The Peninsula Seahawks are headed to state after a 35-29 overtime win over the Arlington Eagles in a game played Friday, Nov. 4, at Roy Anderson Field.

The game-winning overtime score came on a 23-yard pass from Payton Knowles to Dane Meddaugh, who had three touchdowns on the night. Peninsula’s defense held Arlington to a missed field-goal attempt on the first possession of overtime.

After catching his breath, Seahawks coach Ross Filkins called it an “absolute classic playoff game. Arlington left it all on the field.”

With the win, Peninsula earned the No. 14 seed into the Class 3A state playoffs. The Seahawks (8-2) will face No. 3 seed O’Dea (8-1) at 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, at Memorial Stadium in Seattle.

Weather was a factor

A howling wind blew the ball off the tee as Peninsula kicker Frankie Cross lined up for the opening kickoff. It was a sign of things to come. The teams battled both each other and a powerful wind storm.

The Seahawks got on the board first as quarterback Knowles threw two darts to Meddaugh for 15-yard gains. Knowles understood that he would have to drive the ball and keep his passes low in the elements.

Senior tailback Aiden Lester finished off the drive by trucking a defender near the goal line for a 9-yard touchdown run and a 7-0 lead.

Peninsula receiver Dane Meddaugh scores one of his three touchdowns during a 35-29 win over Arlington on Friday, Nov. 4. Bryce Carithers

Arlington tied things a couple drives later on a pretty, 14-yard touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone. The score remained 7-7 at the end of the first quarter.

Peninsula went on a 12-play, 57-yard drive that was capped off when Knowles rolled right and hit a leaping Meddaugh with a 16-yard, cross-field beauty for a 14-7 halftime lead.

Wild fourth quarter

Both teams came out of the locker room to find an intensifying storm. Arlington caught a break when returner Issac Smith muffed a punt in the swirling wind. The Eagles recovered and threw a 32-yard touchdown to tie the game at 14 with 3:53 remaining in the third quarter. That’s where the score remained until a wild, 30-point fourth quarter ensued.

The Seahawks struck first in the fourth when Knowles fired a laser to Meddaugh to cap a 10-play, 67-yard drive to make the score 21-14.

Arlington responded with a 12-play, 80-yard drive ending in a 1-yard QB plunge. The Eagles opted not to fight the wind with a kick and got a 2-point conversion for a 22-21 lead.

On the kickoff, returner Smith made some nice moves upfield before fumbling. The ball squirted to an open spot on the turf and came to rest. In a “who wants it more” moment, several players dove head-first for the ball, but they all collided. The Seahawks recovered the ball in a crucial play.

Smith came through with a nice backhanded catch and run before Knowles had one of the key plays of the night. The senior quarterback ran the ball down the right sideline and was almost spun to the turf. But he landed on another player and kept his legs moving without touching the ground. He popped up and ran 17 more yards to the 9-yard line.

Smith did the rest on a physical run to the end zone to give Peninsula a 27-22 lead. Filkins called a timeout before the crucial 2-point conversion.

Peninsula assistant coach Jim Fairfield give instruction during a timeout in the Seahawks’ 35-29 playoff win over Arlington. Bryce Carithers

2-point conversion ties it

The Seahawks lined up three wide left, hinting pass. All the receivers ran right, clearing the field for Knowles. The quarterback took a false step to his right before pivoting and sprinting to the left corner. He won the foot race and the Seahawks were up by seven, 29-22, with 3:46 to go in the fourth quarter.

Arlington gained 30 yards on a fake reverse on the kickoff. The Seahawks defense held for three downs. But on fourth down, Eagles quarterback Jacoby Falor found Kaid Hunter over the middle. He raced 56 yards for the improbable touchdown.

Eagles head coach Greg Dailer opted against another 2-point conversion attempt and decided to kick. The kick was good and the game was knotted at 29-29.

On the next drive, the Seahawks took a sack on third down and needed a good punt to flip field position. Knowles provided it with the wind at his back. Arlington moved the ball and had a chance to win it with from the 35 yard line with 3.2 seconds left, but the Seahawks defense got a huge sack to force overtime.

In overtime, Arlington got the ball on the 25 yard line first and tried three consecutive passes. The Seahawks played press coverage and forced three incomplete passes. Arlington’s field goal attempt started straight, but the football Gods of Carr Inlet blew the ball just left of the goal post.

It was Peninsula’s turn with the ball next, and the Knowles-Meddaugh connection struck again. The receiver caught the ball in the flat, made a nifty move and dove head first in the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown.

Issac Smith celebrates with Peninsula teammate Gabe Haver-Brown after scoring a touchdown in the Seahawks’ 35-29 win over Arlington on Friday, Nov. 4. Bryce Carithers

Peninsula’s heroes

Knowles played one of the best games of his career, going 17-22 for 208 yards and three touchdown without an interception in the wind. Meddaugh caught 7 balls for 103 yards and three touchdowns. Dependable running back Smith came through again with 148 all purpose yards and one TD.

On defense the Seahawks got standout efforts from linebackers Jones Stalker and Brady Laybourn as well as corners Isiah Brown and Ethan Fias. The defensive line held strong against a powerful Eagle offensive line, with Grady Johnson dishing out punishing tackles every time he got a chance.

Gig Harbor was eliminated from the playoffs with a 45-34 defeat at Kelso on Saturday, Nov. 5. Look for more on that game later this week.