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Pirates pummel Eagles
By DON OLSON
For The Beachcomber
Last Thursday night, the Vashon Pirates faced off against the Cedar Park Christian Eagles at Sammamish High School field and won, 43-6, securing a place in the 1A state championship playoffs. The playoff game will be on Tuesday, Nov. 11 — time, place and opponent to be determined. But first, the Pirates will play Cascade Christian today, for a shot at the Nisqually League championship.
It’s a momentous occasion for a team that has only once before made it into the crossover playoffs and never made it into the 16-team state playoff bracket.
“It’s huge,” said Head Coach Clay Eastly. “I feel really good about it.”
Today may be the biggest game of the season. The Pirates play Cascade Christian, ranked number one in the league, and if Vashon wins, it will tie for the league championship with Cascade Christian and Orting.
Cascade Christian knocked the Cardinals down a peg, 28-6, to take first place in the Nisqually League on Nov. 1.
More than 50 Pirate fans made the trek to the Eagles game on Wednesday and were rewarded with a performance the exact opposite of the heartbreaking loss to Orting the week prior.
The Eagles were held scoreless until the final seconds of the game, and the Pirates dominated the game with a newfound passing attack and their usual solid running game. Every Pirate who was suited up played and contributed to this victory — and they all sang the Fight Song in perfect harmony at the end.
Practice last week went toward improving the Pirate passing attack. It worked.
Out of a total offense of 381 yards, the Pirates had 174 yards of passing — nine completions out of 15 attempts with no interceptions for 174 yards from quarterbacks Quinn Holert and Jeff Rauma.
This was the best Pirate passing attack this year. The team made three long touchdown passes, two to Matt Kerns — for 44 and 24 yards — and a 20-yard TD pass to Andy Didricksen. The score at halftime was Vashon 24, Eagles 0.
The longest running play of the game came from Nathan Betz for 63 yards. It was a pitch-out that had the appearance of turning into a busted play, but not when Betz has the ball. As usual, his “try to stop me” running strength left a trail of wannabe tacklers. Betz contributed more than 162 yards of total running offense and three touchdowns for the night.
Matt Kerns gets this week’s game ball. His sure hands have not let a pass drop in two games, and he made some crushing tackles on defense.
Midway into the third quarter, Eastly began playing the junior varsity team members. Rauma took over at quarterback, and Hayden Campbell at running back. With solid performances from
all other team members, the ball kept moving down the field against the Eagles’ first string. Two Pirates were injured, with continued playing time in question: Jake Theno and Alex Sohl, both strong contributors to this season’s successes.
The Pirates are six wins, three losses, and on their way to making Island history.
— Don Olson is grandfather to Pirate player Jeff Rauma. Staff writer Amelia Heagerty contributed to this report.