By Neil Pierson
Coming into the 2011 season, the Peninsula Seahawks knew they had a chance to be an elite-level rushing team in the Class 3A football ranks.
They’ve proven it to their first two opponents.
Peninsula (2-0) carried the ball 49 times for 310 yards – including a 27-carry, 160-yard effort from star tailback Danny Welstad – in downing the Eastside Catholic Crusaders 42-21 on Friday at Roy Anderson Field in Purdy.
Seahawks coach Ross Filkins was quick to point out the level of competition the Crusaders (1-1) provided, particularly the highlight-reel moves of Chevy Walker, a running back and kick returner.
“That’s a very, very talented team,” Filkins said. “We had to be on our toes the whole game.”
Walker, a 6-foot, 180-pound senior, had three big kickoff returns, including an 85-yard touchdown for the Crusaders’ opening points. But Peninsula mostly silenced the Eastside Catholic offense, a week after it beat up Cleveland, 63-20. The Seahawks intercepted quarterback Trey Reynolds once, and linebacker Tyler Brown recovered a pair of fumbles.
Peninsula started fast for the second straight game, a week after blowing out rival Gig Harbor in the Fish Bowl, 48-9.
Brown recovered a botched shotgun snap midway through the first quarter, giving his team good field position. Welstad scored his first touchdown of the night four plays later, a 21-yard scamper down the right sideline.
Welstad went on to score on three other runs, and now has 10 touchdowns in two games.
Eastside Catholic had a strong drive on its next possession, but Peninsula’s Blake Dukowitz surged through the line and blocked Danny Omiliak’s 35-yard field goal try.
The Seahawks were back in the end zone in six plays. A 48-yard pass play from Austin Filkins to tight end Kyle Self set up Welstad’s 4-yard burst through the middle.
Brown pounced on a Walker fumble later in the second quarter, and Welstad carried the final 6 yards of the next series to make it 21-0.
Senior Jake Peterson scored twice for Peninsula, including a 48-yard run that put the Seahawks up 28-7 at the half.
“That was just a simple isolation, and I just went straight through the hole,” Peterson said. “I got held up a little bit by the back of my jersey, but I was able to get away from that and it was off to the races.”