Pirates end football season with heartbreaker loss

The football season came to an abrupt end for Vashon High School last Tuesday night as the exhausted Pirates could not keep pace with Nooksack Valley High School, its state tournament qualifying round contest at Civic Stadium in Bellingham.

The Pirates, who were competing in their third playoff-related game in a seven-day stretch, played an inspired first half, taking a 14-14 tie into the locker room. But the grinding schedule caught up with this gritty team during the second half, and Vashon went down, 42-20.

Vashon opened the game in typical Pirate fashion, marching downfield on a 12-play drive to take a 6-0 lead on Quinn Holert’s four-yard TD pass to Hamzah Griffin.

It looked like it was going to be a good night as the defense stepped right up to hold the Pioneers to three and out after they picked up a first down on a penalty. However, on Vashon’s next possession, Nooksack blocked the punt, picked it up and ran it in to take a 7-6 lead.

The Pirates put together another sustained scoring drive midway through the second quarter, moving 70 yards in 11 plays.

Big plays in the drive included a 26-yard completion to Adrian Arceo, a 12-yard first down pass to Matt Kerns on 3rd and four, and back-to-back quarterback keepers, where Holert took the ball from the 16 to the 10 and then in for the TD. The two-point conversion was good.

Unfortunately the Pioneers, led by the running attack of Nick DeGrasse and quarterback Tyler Perry, scored on its next possession, and the score was tied at halftime.

The second half was a completely different ball game.

The Pioneers scored four more TDs before Vashon was able to answer with one more of its own. Down 42-14 with four minutes left in the game, Vashon moved the ball downfield on a 20-yard pass completion to Kerns, a 13-yard completion to Arceo and a series of strong runs by Nathan Betz, who carried it in from the one for the final score of the game.

Coach Clay Eastly is already looking ahead to next year.

“I’m looking forward to next season,” he said. “We will have a very strong team that should have learned from this season and that comes out hungry for more. It’s too bad we had to play so many games at the end on short rest. I think if we were rested in between those games, we would still be playing. Overall it was still a great year and a positive step forward for the football program.”

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

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