Sports

Gridders top Port Townsend 26-25 with 311 run yards

By DON OLSON

For The Beachcomber

Vashon’s Pirate football team defeated Port Townsend last Friday in a thriller, 26-25.

This game had everything: suspense, long passes, long runs, interceptions, changed leads, Pirate self-confidence and determination and superb coaching.

If the Pirate coaches were to grade quarterbacks, 100 being a perfect score, I suggest that is the score for quarterback Quinn Holert.

He played the game of his life. Holert ran for 138 yards (one run was for 58 yards and a touchdown), completed four of six passes for 24 yards (three caught by Michael Stoffer for 17 yards and one by Hamzah Griffin), and he threw no interceptions.

On top of all that, Holert intercepted a Port Townsend pass into the end zone in the game’s final seconds to preserve the victory. He knocked down some well-thrown balls.

The game started with a bang, bang, bang series. The Pirates received the ball on the opening kickoff, and three plays later were in the end zone: Pirates 7, Redskins 0.

Then the passing game of the Redskins was on display. Port Townsend quarterback Eric Thomas played a great game.

The first Port Townsend TD came from a 50-yard pass dropped into the arms of the receiver 45 yards downfield with a Pirate right on top. It was the beginning of a display that resulted in 264 yards of completed passes by the Redskins — that was their main offensive weapon — with a total of 301 yards offense.

The Pirates had 335 yards offense (if you blinked in this game you missed a big play) with only 24 yards of passing.

This was the first game that head coach Clay Eastly called from the press box. He quickly diagnosed the Redskins defense and called plays allowing for Quinn Holert to keep the ball and run, and that decision changed the complexion of the game.

Hard running from Nathan Betz (109 yards) and Adrian Arceo (87 yards — with one run of 61 yards) overcame a solid defensive effort by the Redskins. The Pirate defense was again sustained by outstanding tackling and hard hitting from Andy Didricksen, Michael Stoffer, Kyle York and Kyle Martin.

Another solid performance came from Austin Franks, who had many tackles and a show of his speed when he ran down a breakaway runner headed for a sure touchdown. Franks caught him at the five yard line.

The kicking game was superior. Extra points from Nick Fox Edele and long, long punts by Stoffer and Arceo gave the Pirates great field position.

The score at half time was Port Townsend 19, Vashon 14.

The Pirate coaches were full of pride and a sense of accomplishment at the end. They witnessed a team that does not quit, plays together, talks to one another, knows their assignments and executes them. This game could be a tipping point for the Pirates, who are emerging as a well-balanced, self-disciplined, spirited team blessed with fine athletes.

They have learned (sometimes the hard way) what it takes to win, and they are really good singers who love to sing to the fans at the end of a winning game.

— Don Olson is a member of the Athletic Hall of Fame at Macalester College, where he played tackle. He is grandfather of current Pirate player, sophomore Jeff Rauma.

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