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Pirates fell to Cougars last week, but beat Meridian Trojans 22-21 on Tuesday night
After a first quarter of three Meridian touchdowns, with Vashon scoreless, it seemed like the game would be an annihilation of the Pirates.
But after the first quarter, the Pirates came alive, and kept the Trojans scoreless for three quarters. Vashon ran in two touchdowns and put in two field goals to bring the score to 22-21.
With two minutes remaining, the Trojans were in possession. Vashon sacked their quarterback, took back the ball and ran the clock down.
Those who attended the game reported it was the most stunning Pirate performance they'd ever seen.
The Pirates will have their next playoff game — time, place and opponent TBA.
Check this Web site tomorrow for a complete story on the game, and upcoming game information.
The following is the story that appeared in Wednesday's print edition:
By DON OLSON
For The Beachcomber
The Pirates fell to the Cascade Christian Cougars 34-17 on Wednesday, Nov. 5, and faced the Meridian Trojans yesterday afternoon in a “loser-out” playoff game in Bellingham.
The results of that pivotal game came too late for inclusion in this week’s paper but will be posted online.
The Pirates played defensive ball against the Cougars Wed last week but proved unable to hold off the opponent’s formidable offense.
Had the Pirates won, they would have shared the Nisqually League Championship with Cascade Christian and Orting, but it was not to be.
The Pirates were flagged for some crucial penalties while marching towards the Cougar goal line; there were some ball handling issues in the backfield, and Cascade Christian made third-down long touchdown passes.
The Pirates defense against the run was dominant throughout the game.
By halftime, the Cougars enjoyed a 24 to 0 lead.
The game stats showed the Cougars producing total offense of 391 yards, 234 from passing.
By comparison, the Pirates assembled 208 yards rushing with only 52 yards from passing.
Against a strong Cougar defense, running back Nathan Betz had a big game with 159 yards and two touchdowns, one of which went for 79 yards. He outran every Cougar by 12 yards into the end zone.
Betz has assembled more than 1,000 yards of run offense and 11 TDs — a huge accomplishment.
The second half slowed down the Cougar touchdown production and resulted in the Pirates putting two scores on the board.
The second touchdown was followed by a successful two-point attempt, bringing the score to Cascade Christian 31, Vashon 14, with the game clock at 11:11 in the fourth quarter. That must have scared the Cougars, since they immediately had all their first string players back on the field.
Hamzah Griffin distinguished himself with the recovery of two Cougar fumbles, catching a pass and solid tackling.
Austin Frank had two catches, and Michael Stoffer played a great defensive game, with quarterback sacks and blocked passes.
This was the Pirates’ first winning season (6-4) in many years.
The foundation for winning begins with dedicated, quality coaching, and the Pirates have found that.
If you see Clay Eastly, Scott Betz, Rick Sassara, Mark Ledbetter or Bob Jackson, give them thanks for all the time and attention they give to guiding the Pirates to success.
— Don Olson is Pirate Jeff Rauma’s grandfather.