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Pirates suffer a disappointing loss to Port Townsend
By DON OLSON
For The Beachcomber
Just outside Memorial Stadium in Port Townsend last Friday, it was a beautiful night. The Puget Sound was calm and peaceful, the moon rising above the Cascades. Inside the stadium, if you were a Pirate fan, a storm was brewing. Vashon, in its first Nisqually League game of the year, suffered a 14-10 defeat at the hands of the Port Townsend Redskins.
With the Redskins and the Pirates running a spread offense, the stage was set for a high scoring shootout, with both teams boasting strong running and passing attacks. But that was not to be. Each team struggled to put points on the board and had to grind out almost every yard they gained.
The opponents tried to establish their running game early with limited success. The Redskins changed tactics and turned to a passing attack. With two minutes remaining in the first quarter, Redskins quarterback Eric Thomas connected on a long, floating pass deep into the end zone for the first touchdown of the game. The point after was good, bringing the score to 7-0, Redskins.
On the next series of downs, a Pirate fumble was recovered by the Redskins inside the Vashon red zone. The Pirates escaped further damage, however, when they intercepted.
The next Redskin possession changed the outcome of the game. A third down desperation pass deep into Pirate territory was well defended by Pirate Austin Franks.
As the ball was knocked away by Franks, it bounced off the Redskin receiver’s leg, flew up into the air and miraculously found its way into the hands of another Redskin receiver. He twisted and turned and found his way into the end zone for the final Redskin score of the night. Those 14 points would be all the scoring the Redskins were allowed, but it was all they needed.
The Pirates defense decided enough is enough. The Vashon defensive line put a stop to the Redskins’ passing game with multiple sacks and constant pressure, resulting in only short snappy passes for small gains.
On offense, the Pirates turned to running back Nathan Betz and receiver Franks as they began to move the ball down the field. Nick Fox-Edele was called on to deliver a 22-yard field goal, and with 4:47 left in the half, he delivered to make the score 14-3.
On the Redskins’ next possession, Matt Kerns returned the ball to the Pirates with an interception. It seemed the Pirate offense had found its game. Some good blocking up front helped Betz find the end zone with a 35-yard run, and the Pirates were within striking distance at 14-10 when the third quarter ended.
In the last three minutes of the game, the Pirates finally put together a series of first downs and marched down the field. With quarterback Quinn Holert running the offense, great catches by Kerns and Franks and the ball inside the Redskin 10, it looked like this was indeed going to be a truly glorious evening with a last-minute touchdown by the Pirates. Sadly, a foolish 15-yard penalty and too much defensive pressure on fourth down cut off all hope for the Pirates, and the game ended with Port Townsend simply running out the clock.
“We should have won this game,” said Coach Clay Eastly. “We came out flat and didn’t play near to our potential on offense. We had way too many penalties, which we need to rectify. Give Port Townsend credit — they showed up ready to play with a sense of urgency, and we didn’t.”
This Friday, Vashon hosts Charles Wright.
— Don Olson is the grandfather of Pirates Gregor Davidheiser and Jeff Rauma. Steve Edele contributed to this report.