Sports

Pirates beat Trojans in a playoff nailbiter; next game on Saturday

PIRATES MAKE FOOTBALL HISTORY – AND WIN

On Tuesday, Nov. 11, the Pirates played their first post-season state championship game.

Yes, this was their very first playoff game in the state championship series. And they beat Meridian, a Bellingham area high school, at the Bellingham Civic Stadium.

This game had everything, but most of all displayed the heart, soul and determination of our Vashon Pirate football team.

They dug themselves into a very deep hole in the first quarter, which ended Meridian 21, Vashon 0.

Nothing went right. It began on the opening kickoff — an onsides kick to Vashon, recovered by Meridian. Minutes later, the Pirates were down by 14 points, the result of two long touchdown passes into the end zone.

Next, another onsides kick was recovered by Meridian. You guessed it — another long pass into the end zone for a Meridian touchdown.

Fortunately, their following touchdown pass was called back for a Meridian penalty.

The first quarter ended, and so did any further scoring by the Meridian Trojans.

The second quarter belonged to the Pirates. With quarterback Quinn Holert passing and the sure hands of Matt Kerns receiving, the Pirates marched down the field.

Holert ran the ball in from the one yard line.

By halftime, the score stood Meridian 21, Vashon 7.

The Pirate coaching staff knew adjustments had to be made in stopping the Trojan passing game — and Vashon's players responded.

It changed the entire complexion of the game.

The second half belonged entirely to the Pirates.

The Pirates kicked three field goals, one by Adrian Arceo and two by Nick Fox-Edele.

But the final touchdown was the best of all. With three tacklers seemingly all over quarterback Holert, he delivered a 20-yard pass to Andy Didricksen, who was standing all alone in the end zone.

With two minutes, 51 seconds remaining in the game, Vashon led by one point — the first time the Pirates were ahead in the whole game.

Meridian 21, Vashon 22.

Vashon's attempt for a two-point conversion failed, creating the opportunity for the Meridian Trojans to win with a field goal.

But it was not to be. The Trojans started marching down the field, but were stopped with a quarterback sack by Kyle Martin on fourth down, with the ball on the 45 yard line. The Pirates ran out the clock for the win.

And the 75-plus Pirate fans cheering “Pirate Power” heard the Pirates sing their favorite fight song.

Every Pirate was a hero in this game.

This victory moves them into another playoff game, against unbeaten Montesano (10-0) at Tumwater at 7 p.m Saturday, November 15.

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The context of this game needs re-emphasis.

The Pirates have not had a winning season since 1998.

Last year, they won only one game. They had never in their history been in a playoff game.

The 2008 season has been extraordinary. The dedication and quality of coaching has been superb.

The players have come to believe in themselves, understand the importance of self-discipline, trust one another and never give up.

By the number of players, it is not a large team. To compensate, the Pirates have learned to play many different positions, a tribute to their dedication and commitment to win.

Go Pirates!

— Don Olson is the grandfather of Pirate Jeff Rauma.

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