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Peninsula High coach David Young has the football team off to a 3-2 start this season after the school canceled play in 2015. Young directs team during practice. (Photo by Robert Casillas, Contributing Photographer)

With each victory, the Peninsula football program enters into unchartered waters.

Its most recent victory in the CIF Southern Section Division 11 playoffs helped the Panthers earn a semifinal berth following its 58-13 drubbing of Pomona last Friday night.

"We talked about coming out and playing our best game possible, and we literally stuck to what got us there," Peninsula coach Dave Young said. "We ran the ball and faced some major adversity when (quarterback Ethan Gretzinger) went down."

Gretzinger exited in the first quarter following a knee injury, but his replacement, Jack Hayworth helped Peninsula not skip a beat.

Ethan Han racked up more than 200 yards and 3 TDs on the ground behind an adjusted offensive line.

"We moved a few guys around to see if we could get more of a push in the middle," Young said. "Our pulling guards (Zach Denny and Carlos Ocegueda) took care of business and gave Ethan and Mason O'Connor an opportunity to run wild."

Peninsula (8-4) hosts Hemet at South Torrance High Friday night at 7 p.m., with a chance at the program's first title game since 1997.

"(Hemet) is a tough team. They're big and physical," Young said. "They've got film on us, and it's going to be a tough task."

While Young and some of his coaching staff have been here before, their message to the players is to enjoy every last practice.

"We're taking every day like it's our last day of football, because we could be if we don't play like it's our last game," Young said.

"At the same time, we're telling the kids to enjoy every minute of practice because these are the special days we talked about in the spring. These are the opportunities that come once in a lifetime. We're intense at practice, but still loose and enjoying where we are knowing we have a job to do."

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