Gig Harbor Wins 45th Annual Fish Bowl 21-20

The Tides overcame a 14-0 halftime deficit to win the Fish Bowl for the first time since 2015.


Gig Harbor quarterback Benji Parks threw for 208 yards and two touchdowns — and ran for another — all in the second half as the Gig Harbor Tides came back from a 14-0 deficit to beat the Peninsula Seahawks 21-20 in the 45th annual Fish Bowl at Roy Anderson Field Sept. 15.

It was the first Fish Bowl win for the Tides in eight years and the first South Sound Conference game for both teams. The Gig Harbor student body was left standing after the bleachers they were on started to buckle under their weight. School officials removed the temporary bleachers more than an hour before kick-off.

The last time the Tides took home the trophy was Sept. 14, 2015, after a 40-14 win. That year was also the last time the Seahawks had a losing record (4-6 overall). The last three Fish Bowls have been competitive and exciting, but the six before that were lopsided wins for Peninsula.

Parks, who normally plays tight end for the Tides, replaced sophomore Koi Calhoun (who replaced Tyler Stowers in their game last week against Bonney Lake) and went 8-10 passing. Calhoun was seriously injured after throwing an interception to Seahawk safety Thomas Erickson with 1:05 left in the first half. As Erickson was returning the interception, Calhoun got tied up with Seahawk defensive back Cameron Miller.

It appeared Calhoun and Miller got into a skirmish on the ground and Calhoun suffered a neck injury. Because of the crowd size, it took EMTs extra time to get to the field, as he was tended to cautiously by the training staff of both high schools. After a 30-minute delay, Calhoun was placed in a neck brace, carted off the field, and taken by ambulance to the hospital. Erickson also was injured on the play and came off the field limping after the interception. He returned to the sidelines after halftime using crutches.

“Hats off to (Parks),” said Seahawk head coach Ross Filkins, who helmed his 29th Fish Bowl. “He did a fantastic job coming in and running their offense. We ran out of gas against their passing game and it showed.”

The Seahawks (0-3, 0-1 SSC) got on the board late in the first quarter off a seven-yard run by running back Connor Burton. They made it 14-0 when Seahawk quarterback Mana Smythe found Hayden Bundy from 5 yards in the middle of the endzone. The Seahawk defense forced three turnovers in the first half — picking off Calhoun twice and recovering one of his fumbles.

The second half was a different story. The Seahawks were able to get another touchdown with 5:55 to go in the third off a Landon Watson 1-yard run. Other than that, the Tides (2-1, 1-0 SSC) put too much pressure on Seahawk quarterback Mana Smythe, making him switch up his game plan. Smythe, who had to deal with many snaps that fell below his knees while in shotgun formation, was forced to run on obvious pass plays.

Seahawk kicker Ellis Anderson missed the extra point attempt after Watson’s touchdown run in the third quarter, which would have put the Seahawks up 21-7. The Seahawk kicker barely missed a 37-yard field goal in their first drive of the second half. It went left by a few feet.

Parks, on the other hand, was nearly unstoppable for the Tides. He tossed a 66-yard touchdown to Ryland Gelderman in the third quarter and led his team on a 65-yard drive that took only 1:01 in the fourth quarter ending with a 27-yard touchdown pass to Liam Green. Parks’ 1-yard run with one minute left in the game helped put his team up for good.

Settle down, Seahawk fans. Peninsula opened the 2013 season losing three straight and ended up going 8-4 overall and 5-0 in the SSC. Although there’s no going undefeated in the conference this time around, a winning season isn’t farfetched.

Peninsula won the accompanying Food Bowl with 22,471 food items donated. Gig Harbor had 17,806 and Henderson Bay came in with 4,007, bringing a total of 44,284 food items for Food Backpacks 4Kids on the Key Peninsula.

Peninsula brought home the Food Bowl trophy. PHS senior Liam Donalty, who played football for the Seahawks before suffering a career-ending injury, was proud of his school. “We got a ton of food items in and we had the chance to support those who are less fortunate than ourselves. It didn’t matter who won, it was just great that we all supported our community.”

Another upset this year was the lack of play-by-play commentary on KGHP-FM, the high school radio station, for the first time in decades due to funding cuts by the district.