Sports

Pirates take down Sultan in season opener

Senior Pirate Matt Kerns, center, plays both wide receiver and defensive back. - Sy Bean photo
Senior Pirate Matt Kerns, center, plays both wide receiver and defensive back.
— image credit: Sy Bean photo

The Vashon Pirate football team has set a course for the state championship this year, and on Friday night they pulled anchor and set sail with a 38-13 victory over the division 2A Sultan Turks.

It took the Pirates only five minutes to make their mark. After Nick Fox-Edele’s opening kickoff resulted in a touchback, Sultan fumbled on its second play from scrimmage, and Vashon recovered on the Turk 19. Six plays later Nathan Betz powered into the end zone from the 13 for the first of his four rushing TD’s. Fox-Edele’s extra point was good, and the Pirates took a 7-0 lead. They did not relinquish their lead the rest of the night.

On their next possession, the Pirates put together a state-of-the-art offensive series. Starting from its own 26 yard line, Vashon ate up nearly 10 minutes on a 74-yard scoring drive. Quarterback Jeff Rauma, who had an outstanding game filling in for the injured Quinn Holert, completed key passes to Austin Franks and Matt Kearns, while Betz’s strong running game balanced the attack. Betz culminated the drive, powering his way into the end zone from the two-yard line. Fox-Edele’s extra point put the Pirates up 14-0.

Sultan came right back, marching downfield from their own 31 to the Vashon 12. Attempting to score on a pass play, the Turks’ hopes were dashed when the Pirates’ Franks came up with a beautiful, diving interception at the one-yard line. Franks had a great night intercepting two passes and breaking up several attempts by Sultan to throw deep.

The Pirates, however, could not move the ball. Fox-Edele punted from inside the end zone to the 40, and the Turks brought it back to the 30 for the short field advantage. On third and 12 from the 13, Franks frustrated Sultan yet again with his second pick of the night, running the ball back to the Pirate 20.

On the next few series, neither team’s offense could get much going until Sultan recovered a Vashon fumble on its own 41. A long completion with a 15-yard Pirate penalty tacked on gave the Turks the ball at the 18. A successful pass into the corner of the end zone narrowed the Pirate lead to 14-6. The Sultan extra point attempt was no good.

After the kickoff Vashon took over on its own 35 with 2:37 left in the half. On the second play from scrimmage, Rauma hit Fox-Edele with a perfect pass 20 yards downfield. The speedy receiver then proceeded to outrun the secondary for a 65-yard touchdown play. Fox-Edele’s extra point was good, and Vashon led, 21-6.

With a little more than two minutes left in the half, the Turks put together their best drive of the night, marching 80 yards downfield to score. The half ended with the Pirates out in front, 21-13.

With neither team gaining much of an advantage in the third period, the game’s turning point came near the end of the quarter. The Turks had moved the ball to the Vashon 21. On 4th and inches, the Pirate defense stuffed Sultan for no gain and took over on downs. Rauma immediately connected on a pair of long passes to Franks and Kerns, and Betz took it in from the 14 to push the Pirate lead to 27-13.

In the final quarter, Fox-Edele connected on a 35-yard field goal, and the Pirates took advantage of an interception by Kerns with yet another Betz rushing score. A successful two-point conversion sealed the win for Vashon.

The Pirates take on the Spartans this Friday at Bainbridge.

— Steve Edele is the father of kicker Nick Fox-Edele.

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