Today, September 1st, kicks off not just the first game of the Highline High School Football season but also the start of a new era for the Pirates. It has been decades since the Pirates began a season with the coaching, talent, discipline, and confidence required to make a run at the championship. Tonight against the Steilacoom Sentinels, the Pirates will get an opportunity to see if they have what it takes.
The game will be streamed live via Youtube at 7 PM on Thursday on the Sentinel home field in Steilacoom.
Last year the Sentinels acquired an 8-1 record. They were the champions of the 2A South Puget Sound League. Their season ended with a second-round loss to North Kitsap in the playoffs. In that game, the Sentinel’s offense was prolific, but turnovers caused by defensive pressure created mistakes, including a North Kitsap defense score on an interception. With the Pirates committed to a highly disruptive blitzing defense and possessing strong defensive backfield speed, it may come down to this: do the Pirates have the ability to replicate North Kitsap’s turnover, forcing playmaking that could be the Sentinel’s Achilles heel?
For the Pirates, the question, coming off the jamboree, may be how fast they can get the momentum. They were slow in their first jamboree scrimmage against the Auburn Ravens. A slow start against a team like Steilacoom may put them into a hole causing them to struggle the the rest of the game. The Pirate offensive line must take control of the line of scrimmage and establish the run from the opening series to set up Quarterback Ronan Rasmussen — allowing him time to throw to his fleet of speedy receivers who strategically place themselves in open gaps to receive and run.
“I’m excited to get the season underway. The boys have been working hard since January. So it’ll be rewarding to see all of their hard work reveal itself,” said Pirate Head Coach Deontae Cooper. Indeed they have. Not only on the field but off the field also. Coach Cooper and the staff have ensured that players are eligible to play every game by requiring the team to do schoolwork together at a set time. Not only does it guarantee the players are ready to play, but it’s part of Coach Cooper’s bigger picture of helping his players grow into men who succeed in all aspects of life.
At practice Wednesday afternoon, spirits were high. The Pirates were focused, worked hard, and seemed to understand the significance of tomorrow’s game. Coach Cooper noted: “It feels like the day before Christmas — eager, anxious, nervous, and excited all in one. The staff and the players are ready!”
We’re cheering you on Pirates!