Gridders win, 3-0, to tie for first in league

Lineman Tim Jovanovich, #78 on crutches, leads the Pirates in song after the team’s stunning 3-0 victory. - Eric Horsting/staff photo
Lineman Tim Jovanovich, #78 on crutches, leads the Pirates in song after the team’s stunning 3-0 victory.
— image credit: Eric Horsting/staff photo

The Vashon Pirates football team shut out Nisqually League archrival Charles Wright 3-0 on Tarrier turf in the rain and wind last Friday.

The game was a back-and-forth defensive struggle that came down to Adrian Arceo’s successful field goal in the third quarter.

The Pirates got close enough to kick the field goal because Jake Theno intercepted a Tarrier pass that seemed to be thrown directly to the defensive back. Theno took the ball at about the Tarrier 40-yard line to the 20, where the Tarriers denied the Pirates the end zone on three separate downs.

Then came Arceo’s successful kick on fourth down.

Near the end of the third quarter, the Tarriers were in position to try a tying field goal but failed with a kick that was both short and wide.

The rain was a factor throughout, often very heavy, making footing difficult and passing almost impossible.

Vashon completed five passes for 22 yards, and relied on its rushing game, particularly Nathan Betz, who ran for a team-high 64 yards on 19 carries. Arceo added 13 on eight carries. Both runners’ stats reveal how hard it was to get any large gains. Betz averaged 3.3 yards per carry, and Arceo 1.6.

In fact, most of the first downs on both sides were made by a series of short runs.

So the outcome turned on the play of the defenders, and the Pirate defense showed up.

During a single Tarrier possession, the Pirates nailed two quarterback sacks; the first by senior Michael Stoffer and the other by junior Kyle York. When the Tarrier quarterback did pull off a pass, defensive back Jake Theno made an impressive tackle when the receiver threatened to take it to the house.

The Tarriers and Pirates struggled to keep hold of the ball in the fourth quarter, with fumbles and subsequent turnovers by both teams.

With 2:02 left on the clock, offsetting penalties were called against both teams, placing the refs in a conference for several minutes and disrupting the momentum of the game. At the end of the long discussion, 43 seconds were added back onto the clock.

With two minutes remaining, the Tarriers had control of the ball at the 20-yard line in Pirate territory. Senior Kyle Martin started the defensive momentum with a quarterback sack. The Pirate defensive line continued to hold strong, not giving up an inch to Charles Wright. At 1:08, VHS took back possession and ran out the clock, with quarterback Quinn Holert taking the knee on each down.

The Pirates now sport a 3-2 record after five games and are tied with Orting and Cascade Christian for first place, with each team at 2-0 in the 1A/2B Nisqually League.

— This article was compiled and edited by sports editor Eric Horsting with information from Mary Kay Rauma.

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