By Meg Wochnick
No matter how ugly of a turnover-filled game it was, Olympia coach Bill Beattie and the Bears will gladly take the victory.
The sixth-ranked Bears won their seventh straight game Friday night, defeating Gig Harbor, 27-3, in front of the Homecoming crowd at Ingersoll Stadium. The win sets the stage for a meeting next week at second-ranked Bellarmine Prep that will decide the 4A Narrows League champion.
Olympia has won six of the past eight Narrows League crowns and ast year defeated Bellarmine at home in a thriller, 37-30. Bellarmine shut out Shelton, 49-0, on Thursday night at Highclimber Stadium.
Olympia (7-0 overall, 5-0 4A Narrows) scored 20 unanswered points in the second half to pull away from a slim 7-3 lead at halftime over the Tides (4-3, 3-2), and it was the defense that sparked two of the team’s three second-half touchdowns.
“Our defense did such a great job,” Beattie said. “Our defensive staff did a heck of a job tonight.”
On Gig Harbor’s opening possession of the third quarter, Olympia’s Bentley Tran recovered a fumble on the punt to start the Bears’ drive at the Gig Harbor 23, and two plays later, Spenser Killman ran in for a 10-yard touchdown run. Killman finished with 251 yards on 29 carries and scored two touchdowns on runs of 10 and 11 yards. His longest run came on 68 yards late in the fourth quarter.
Later in the quarter, it was Higgs’ second interception of the night that led to a six-play, 57-yard drive that increased the Bears’ lead to 21-3 with 4:31 left in the third.
“I think we realized we worked too hard to let them come down here and we wanted prove what we’ve been working on season,” said Higgs, who also came up big on special teams. “We decided to play Olympia football.”
The Bears have been on a roll all season. In their seven victories, they’ve allowed only just 7.7 points per game, and held Gig Harbor to 47 rushing yards and their lone score came on a 30-yard field goal by Korey Durkee with 3:35 left in the first quarter. While defense was the highlight against the Tides, turnovers were another big story.
In all, the teams combined for nine turnovers, including seven – four interceptions, three fumbles — in the first 24 minutes. There could’ve been one more interception, but Higgs’ first pick ran back for an apparent touchdown was wiped off because a roughing the passer penalty on Olympia.
Beattie said his team made a lot of mental and physical errors in the first half.
“We have a huge game next week, and we have a lot of things to think about,” Beattie said.
With the 7-3 lead at halftime, it was the second time this season the Bears failed to score an offensive touchdown in a first half. Their first score came on the second play from scrimmage when Gig Harbor quarterback Garrett Gallanger’s intended pass was tipped by Carlos Moiza on the left side and interception by Zak Hower. He ran it back for a 30-yard touchdown just 48 seconds into the game.
Gallanger finished with 178 yards passing, but also had three interceptions.