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Pirates lose two tough games, but advance to play-in
The Vashon High School football team will have to dig deep to uncover the grit and determination needed to lift them above the dark disappointment of the past week into the light of playoff glory.
The Pirates were brought down twice in four days. They lost the league championship game to Cascade Christian last Wednesday, 38-28, and then suffered a heartbreaking defeat to Port Townsend on Saturday, 29-28, in double overtime.
Despite the two losses, Vashon qualified to participate in the state “play-in” round. The Pirates went up against Nooksack Valley High School at Civic Stadium in Bellingham yesterday in a game that was played too late for The Beachcomber’s press deadline.
In Wednesday’s Nisqually League championship game, Cascade took an early lead, scoring on a 7-yard run with six minutes left in the first quarter. The Pirates came right back to tie the game on a 27-yard pass from Quinn Holert to Adrian Arceo.
Cascade scored on its next two possessions to jump out in front, 21-7. The Pirates then drew to within seven when Holert scored on an 8-yard draw play. Cascade tacked on another three points with a successful 39-yard field goal as the half ended.
Vashon seemed to be working its way back into contention when, with four minutes left in the third period, Holert picked up 36 yards on another quarterback draw and threw a one-yard TD pass to Arceo to pull within four, 24-20.
It was not the Pirates’ night, however. Cascade scored two more touchdowns — its final one coming with a mere minute left on the clock.
Never giving up, the Pirates then completed a 47-yard touchdown pass from Holert to Austin Franks and were successful on the two-point conversion.
Holert finished the night going 13 for 20 with 226 yards and one TD. Arceo led the rushing attack with 17 carries for 140 yards and two touchdowns. Franks caught four passes for 123 yards and one touchdown, while Nick Fox-Edele hit on two of three PATs.
The final score, 38-28, proved to be the narrowest margin of victory in league play for undefeated Cascade, which averaged a 30-point scoring advantage throughout the season.
With the loss to Cascade, Vashon found itself tied with Orting and Port Townsend for second place in league play. Only two of those teams could advance. A coin toss benefited the Pirates by automatically advancing them to the play-in round of the state tournament.
In the first game Saturday night at Franklin Pierce High School, Port Townsend defeated Orting for the right to advance to playoffs. Port Townsend’s victory over Vashon gave the Redskins the number-two seed and a home game, sending the number-three seeded Pirates traveling to Bellingham for yesterday’s game.
Having suffered a loss to Port Townsend earlier in the year, the Pirates were psyched for some revenge on Saturday, but it was not to be. In the abbreviated mini-game (four six-minute quarters), Vashon drew first blood as it methodically marched downfield on a 13-play scoring drive that ate up the entire first quarter.
Arceo ran the ball effectively on nine of those plays, and the drive was capped by a 2-yard plunge by Nathan Betz.
Port Townsend came right back to tie the score, and then took a 14-7 lead at the half. The Pirates tied the score on a bizarre play. Arceo ran for 30 yards and fumbled the ball into the end zone, where Franks jumped on it for the score. Regulation ended with a 14-14 tie.
The “Kansas City Tiebreaker” went into effect. Each team gets a possession, first and 10, from the 25-yard line. Port Townsend took the first shot and scored on a 25-yard pass. Vashon tied it on a 20-yard scamper by Arceo around the right end.
In the second overtime, Vashon got the ball first and scored on five straight run plays with Holert collecting six on a keeper from the one.
Port Townsend scored on its possession and went for broke with a two-point conversion that won the game.
— Steve Edele is the father of kicker Nick Fox-Edele.