Pirates close out first winning season in more than decade

Vashon’s 2022 defense showed leadership and grit, holding opponents to 16.3 posts per game as the season ended.

The Vashon Pirates 5-2 (1-2) traveled to face Life Christian Academy Eagles 0-6 (0-4) at Mt. Tahoma high school on Oct. 29 for a Nisqually League matchup.

Both teams entered the contest coming off losses in league play — Vashon, with a homecoming night loss to Cascade Christian, and Life Christian, with a loss to Bellevue Christian.

The Pirates’ defense came up big early on the third play from scrimmage. Senior Ben Larson forced a fumble after a completed pass by Life Christian, which was recovered by Oskar Weiss at the Eagles’ 28-yard-line.

At 8:27 of the quarter, the Pirates scored on a 1-yard, Will Weber quarterback sneak, to take a 6-0 lead.

On the Eagles’ next possession, they moved the ball across midfield, down into Vashon territory. On a fourth down, with seven yards to go, the Pirates’ defense held strong and forced a turnover on down at their own 32 yard-line.

Vashon closed out the quarter with a 14-yard rush by Oskar Weiss and a 19-yard run by Chase Bradrick.

The Pirates took a 12-0 lead on the opening play of the second quarter, with a 9-yard Oskar Weiss rushing touchdown. Holland Moore added the extra point to make it a 13-0 lead for Vashon.

Life Christian scored their only points of the game on a 16-yard touchdown pass at 8:36, to make the score 13-6.

Late in the quarter after a false start penalty, Vashon faced a second down and 15 from their own 30-yard-line.

William Weber connected on a huge pass play to Maxwell Delgado Williams, who caught the ball on the far sideline and made a cut inside toward the middle of the field and then sprinted diagonally all the way down to the 2-yard-line.

The pass play covered 68 yards and gave Vashon a first down and goal, with two yards to go. Oskar Weiss then capped off the scoring drive with the touchdown run at less than one minute left in the quarter — sending the Pirates into the locker room at halftime with a 21-6 lead.

The Pirates received the second-half kickoff and on first down and 10 yards, Bradrick scampered for a 14-yard gain on the first play from scrimmage. But soon after that, Life Christian intercepted a pass and took over at their own 45-yard line.

The Vashon defense stepped up big again when Greg Chavez intercepted a pass just two plays later. In the following play, Bradrick ran 30 yards down to the Eagles’ 25 yard-line.

The Pirates were turned away on a fourth-down rush at the Life Christian’s 4-yard line.

Vashon got a big special team contribution four plays later, with Aidan Green blocking a punt in the Eagle end zone.

The Pirates took over first and goal at the Eagles’ 7-yard line, and Oskar Weiss scored his third rushing touchdown of the night on a 7-yard run at 3:59, increasing the lead to 28-6.

The fourth quarter showed more stout defensive line play by the Pirates’ front four players — who were able to continually show penetration against the Eagles’ offensive line.

On the offensive side of the ball, the offensive line was able to provide great blocking for the Pirate running backs. Peter Ghigleri led the way, rushing the ball in the closing quarter, ripping off runs of 19, 11, 11, 12 and 8 yards, respectively, as the Pirates powered their way down the field.

William Weber finished off the scoring drive with a 1-yard quarterback sneak at 5:17, and the Pirate defense closed the game out strong, securing a 35-6 victory over Life Christian.

The Vashon Pirates returned home, on Nov. 4, to host Bellevue Christian 5-3 (3-2) in the final league game of the season for each team. It was a blustery evening at Pirate Stadium with a berth in the WIAA 1A state football playoffs at stake.

The last time Vashon qualified for the state football playoffs was in the 2009-10 season — which was also the last time VHS finished the season with a winning record.

Vashon received the game’s opening kickoff for a touchback.

The Pirates’ first possession ended with a fourth down punt attempt that resulted in a safety for Bellevue Christian, at 9:53 of the quarter.

The Vikings closed out the first quarter on a drive that covered 70 yards resulting in a touchdown pass at the 10:03 mark of the second quarter.

Late in the quarter, the Vashon defense forced the Vikings to turn the ball over on downs.

Vashon would start the drive from their own 44 yard-line and march down the field on a 40-yard drive onto the Bellevue Christian 14 yard-line. But a pass attempt was intercepted in the end zone by the Vikings, who went into halftime leading 8-0.

The third quarter saw the Pirates force Bellevue Christian into another turnover on downs at the Vashon 22 yard-line, after a 12-play 58-yard drive.

Again, the Pirate defense came up with a forced fumble and recovery nearing the end of the third quarter.

But Bellevue Christian used their rushing game to grind down the fourth-quarter clock, sealing the game with a short touchdown pass at 3:42 minutes, followed by a 2-point conversion.

Vashon did have a final drive, moving the ball down the field, that ended in a Viking interception and a 16-0 victory.

The offense was never able to find a rhythm in the game. But VHS held Bellevue Christian well below the 41.25 points per game they had been averaging on the season.

The Pirates came into the contest holding opponents to 16.3 points per game and securing their first winning season since 2009-10.

Friday’s game was also senior night, featuring a ceremony celebrating the 14 seniors on the roster.

These players were William Weber, Holland Moore, Oskar Weiss, Ben Godwin, Maxwell Williams Delgado, Rhys Carlton, Laith Jorge, Ryan Noonan, Ben Larson, Mirel Wojciechowski, Alec Pottinger, Aidan Green, Evan Serebryakov and Julian Tooman.

Congratulations to these seniors and wishing you success in your future endeavors, and congratulations to all the players and staff who participated in the Pirates’ 6-3 (2-3) season.

A special thanks is due to Catherine Sullivan and Justin Weber for their volunteer work and organization.

To see the season’s schedule, roster and results, visit govashonpirates.com.