PORT ANGELES — The Olympic Peninsula Eagles’ season came to an end in the team’s second loss to the Renton Ravens in as many weeks.
The semipro squad dropped its Western Washington Football Alliance first round playoff 34-20 amid a hale of long bombs at Roosevelt Elementary School on Saturday.
Three separate long touchdown passes in the first half proved to be the Eagles’ undoing.
“I’m really proud of my guys, especially toward the end of the year when we had some guys leave the team,” first-year Eagles head coach Mike McMahan said after the loss.
“The 25 guys that stuck it out and played are going to be the foundation of a championship team we’re going to build next year.”
The Eagles went down immediately Saturday when the Ravens scored on their opening drive for a 6-0 lead.
Peninsula answered with a touchdown drive of its own, capped by Dave Bunnell’s 14-yard reception from quarterback Kenny Hall.
But the Ravens came back with two more touchdowns to go ahead 20-6 early in the second quarter.
Eagles running back B.J. Johnson ran one in from four yards out after that to put the score at 20-12.
Another Ravens touchdown near the end of the half gave Renton a 28-12 edge at the break.
“They burned us on three long touchdown passes,” McMahan said.
“We changed our defense up after that and switched into more of a cover three defense. The adjustment worked awesome, and we shut them down pretty much in the second half.”
The Eagles brought the score to within eight after Hall found Tony Gockrell for a 25-yard touchdown pass and Luke Dixon ran in the subsequent two-point conversion.
Yet with the Ravens unable to score, the Eagles could not take advantage.
A drive inside Renton’s 20-yard line ended with a failed fourth down conversion, while an Eagles field goal attempt was also blocked.
Renton’s rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter put the game away.
“We tried to make a game of it,” said McMahan, whose team lost 48-0 to Renton a week before. “The field shorted up [inside the red zone], and we just a missed block.”
Dennis Sutton had an interception for the Eagles on defense, and Dixon recovered a fumble.
Most of the carries were split between the Eagles stable of backs, so none of them produced huge numbers.
McMahan estimated Kenny Hall completed 7-of-9 passes for 110 yards. The Sequim High School graduate had two passing touchdowns.
“It was a good game, an entertaining game,” McMahan said. “If you take those three long touchdowns away, we win that game.”
The Eagles finished the season 3-8 one year after going winless.
“This year was a building year, and I knew it was,” McMahan said. “I’ve got a bunch of guys who stuck with it, and I’m proud of them, I think they did a great job“Winning the three games we won was a big deal for this team.”