Vashon football drowns Lakeside

Adrian Acero eludes Lakeside tacklers for a first quarter touchdown. - Rik Forschmiedt Photo
Adrian Acero eludes Lakeside tacklers for a first quarter touchdown.
— image credit: Rik Forschmiedt Photo

Coaches know the old adage — that “a learning team will become a winning team.” Coming off its recent loss to Chelan High School, the Pirate football team had a week of practice, with emphasis on correcting mistakes — enough time to prove that it is, indeed, a “learning team.”

Turnovers dominated the boys’ Sept. 3 loss to Chelan. It was a different picture in Friday’s home game against the Lakeside Upper School Lions, when the Pirates had no turnovers, no fumbles, no interceptions and very few penalties or foolish errors at crucial times in the game. Before a cheering crowd, they won, 43 to 0.

The pace of the game was set early. The Pirates took the opening kickoff and began their disciplined display of error-free football.

On the opening drive, Adrian Arceo ran through, around and over the Lakeside Lions. With three minutes expired in the first quarter, Alex Sohl ran into the end zone for the first touchdown. The point after was good, giving Vashon a 7-0 lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Pirate fans witnessed a display of kicking characteristic of Division One football, when Arceo and Nick Fox-Edele put on a kicking show. For the remainder of the game, their kicks were into the end zone for touchbacks and no run back. Extra point kicks were outside the fenced field.

The Lakeside offense never got started in the first half. Each possession following a Pirate touchdown was characterized by first and 10, second and 12, third and 15, fourth and punt. The Pirate defense had everything covered. The Lion punt formation displayed obvious vulnerability that was quickly exploited when the Pirates blocked two punts (Zach Stackhouse and Arceo) that turned into Pirate touchdowns. With each Pirate possession it was a pleasure to watch the execution of all 11 players, with quarterback Jeff Rauma orchestrating, carry out their assignments.

Blocking assignments were maintained, pass patterns run correctly and passes delivered on the mark. Hamzah Griffin — a commanding presence on the field at 6’4” and 233 pounds — displayed his sure hands with multiple catches and nice runs. By halftime, more touchdowns had been completed by Arceo and Dan Sullivan. The Rauma-Sullivan connection was a perfectly thrown, 14-yard pass deep into the Lion end zone. It was not until late in the second quarter that Lakeside made a first-down conversion, but their drive ended quickly.

The Lions’ defense made some adjustments and Pirate domination was briefly stymied until Arceo broke out for a 33-yard dash with brilliant open field running to set up and avoid tacklers. With seconds remaining in the first half, the Pirates turned on their kicking talent when Fox-Edele completed a 39-yard field goal. The first half ended with Pirates 36, Lakeside 0. The Pirates had completed the first half with a touchdown on each possession, no fumbles, no interceptions and two inconsequential penalties.

The second half began with each team exchanging possessions and the Pirates securing field advantage with one of their two blocked punts. With six minutes remaining in the third quarter the Pirates scored the final touchdown behind Sohl’s running. The point-after was good — putting the score at Pirates 43, Lakeside 0.

With the game outcome secured, the starting team was relieved by their understudy talent. With Nick Amundsen at quarterback and Nick Betz at tailback, it was to become the “Nick Show.” Amundsen ran the team with error-free hand-offs. Betz took over where his older brother Nathan, who graduated last year, left off — driving, twisting and carrying tacklers for first-down conversions. New fresh linemen were providing the running holes. You could see the confidence building in these younger Pirates. Lakeside was able to mount their first repeated first-down series, but the momentum stopped with an incomplete pass on a fourth and sixteen play.

Behind a bust-out running display by Betz, the Pirates put themselves into field goal range with four minutes remaining. It was not to be this time. The game-ending play came when Nick Amundsen completed his Pirate debut with an interception. The first team returned to the field, with Rauma taking a knee on each possession to run out the clock. Every eligible player played in the game.

Once again, it was a “Pirate Fight Song” night, with the cheerleaders and team joining forces to serenade their fans.

— Don Olson is the grandfather of Jeff Rauma.

Vashon football’s first League game will be Friday, Sept. 17 against Port Townsend High School.

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