Daniel Shurr, Sports Writer

It’s that time of year again: every year the entire city of Gig Harbor becomes divided, as a heated rivalry has been stirring in the Pacific Northwest. On October 25th, the battle for Roy Anderson Field is on, as the Peninsula Seahawks will be taking on the the cross-town rival Gig Harbor Tides in the annual football game known as Fishbowl. 

If the game itself is called Fishbowl, the days leading to the highly anticipated Friday night might as well be called Shark Week. It’s a yearly game that sees packed stadiums, tailgaters, and a variety of food trucks. Friendships are put on hold, and the two student sections turn the game into one big yelling match that lasts the length of the game. As for the players, this game is always filled with emotion in view of the fact that they will be playing against their childhood friends on the opposing sideline. Gig Harbor will be the home team this year, as Gig Harbor uses Peninsula’s field for their own football games. This helps to explain why the student sections are so large every year. The fact Peninsula is considered a visitor in their own stadium hasn’t had an effect in the past, because the Seahawks has managed to put up major performances in the past few years. 

This is the 41st annual meeting between these two South Sound rivals. PHS has taken the last three Fish Bowls against the Tides, but Gig Harbor has also had their share of wins in the past. In their previous three victories, the Seahawks benefited from a shutdown defense, and a nearly perfect offense. Peninsula has played solid defense against their opponents all year, but the offense has sometimes failed to execute on routine plays. Coming off of a 31-28 win over Yelm at home, the 5-2 (5-0 in conference play)  Peninsula Seahawks saw that they can indeed keep their head above water in the midst of a close high scoring game without relying heavily on their defense. On the flip side, Gig Harbor will be trotting into Roy Anderson Field on Friday with a 6-1 record, (4-1 in conference play) sitting third in the SSC. The Tides lone loss on the year came against the team Peninsula squeezed by against last week, as the Tides saw their first loss of the year 42-18 at Yelm back in week four. The Tide’s offense turned the ball over, and the defense failed to stop Yelm whenever the chance arose. Thus gifting Yelm with excellent opportunities to score, and eventually a blowout win.
For years, Peninsula has prided themselves on their defense and that’s what they will have to do if they want to win this matchup. All year, the Hawks have only let up 114 points, including a 55-0 shutout win against Shelton. On the other side of the ball, the offense has helped their team by putting up 198 points this year. A point differential of 84 in the Seahawk’s favor.  Meanwhile the rival Tides have played stellar defense in the 2019 campaign. With the exception of the loss to Yelm, Gig Harbor has not allowed over twenty points in a single game all year. While the Tides Offense has managed to put up a total of 245 points this season. On paper, the Tides should be the ones to take this game, as they have the better winning percentage, and have shown that they can control the game better than Peninsula on both sides of the ball. But Coach Filkins enjoys being the underdog, and the Peninsula class of 2020 will refuse to lose their last Fishbowl game. It will be close, but everyone at PHS can expect another Seahawk win. 

Every year the hype controls the fans, but the players try not to let the magnitude of this game go to their head. “The Coaches are treating it like a normal game, but the players are making it a bigger deal.” says senior left guard Joe Hilley. “We [want to] treat it like another game, study the team, and learn how to attack the best.”  It’s no secret that the players are excited for this matchup, Peninsula players have been on their phones studying film whenever they have the opportunity to. This all ties into wanting to better themselves, which will inevitably better the team as a whole. Regardless of the outcome, players and coaches on both sidelines know that this game is more than just any old rivalry. It’s a special tradition that the two teams have become a part of, that creates an even fiercer rivalry for next year, and a closer bond with the teammates you have now.