The score was 14-0 Pirates before Head Coach Deontae Cooper’s offense made their first appearance in the game at 3:56 in the first quarter. Senior LaMarcus Williams had run an interception 80 yards for a touchdown by that point. Two minutes later, Marquawn McCraney returned a punt 51 yards for the Pirates second touchdown.
As it has become the custom of the Highline Pirates, the first half was a romp. Highline scored almost at will. Jamaine Matthews picked up two touchdowns in the first half while gaining 69 yards. Matthews spoke about his line when asked about the most enjoyable part of the game: “The blocking was great. So was the passing. We played as a team.” Senior Rico Sosa ran the ball into the end zone and picked up 32 yards. McCraney added a 75-yard pass reception on a perfect strike from Ronan Rasmussen. Finally, Adam Estrada took in the final first-half touchdown on an 18-yard end zone strike.
The Pirates swarming defense had their hands full at times with powerful runner Justin Vallejo who dragged tacklers. But the sheer number of Pirate defenders was too much for the Eagles. At the half, it was 49-0.
When announcing the Seniors during halftime, the depth of Coach Cooper’s love for the kids was clear to see. One by one, Cooper announced each of the Senior’s names to walk through the gauntlet of the team with their families. In the case of Joesph Tiumalu, the parade of the family could have filled half the stadium. “Joseph was covered with leis; they just celebrated. It is so good to see. That is what it is all about,” Cooper said with a smile.
The Seniors honored were:
- La’Marques Williams
- Rico Soza
- Charles Brown
- Alijah Garza
- Daniel Luna Zarate
- Jacob Brown
- Joshua Olivares Gonzalez
- Joseph Tiumalu
- Rubi Morales
- Monica Morales
Cooper was effusive about honoring his seniors. “They deserve this honor. They worked really hard. The weight room, the early morning practices, the running. It is hard to do what we do. It is great to see their families here celebrating and honoring their achievements.”
Special recognition was given to Senior Jacob Brown. Brown is the only player to have been with Coach Cooper from the start four years ago. He was there when no one expected the Pirates to amount to anything special. “Jacob was the only freshman to turn out. He ran the gauntlet
with the seniors and took the punishment without complaint. He stayed in there with no other freshman to confide in,” shared Cooper to the crowd in the stands.
Earlier in the year, I talked with Brown and his father, and they both commented on what an honor it has been to have Cooper as the coach. “It is impossible to explain the difference, the change from 4 years ago,” the Browns said.
Cooper also honored Senior Managers Rubi Morales and Monica Morales, who have served the team with excellence and cheerfulness. Offensive Coordinator Anthony Berg called these two ladies the best managers in the state. Like the players, the Morales’ have demonstrated diligence and an excellent work ethic. The Morales sisters, who managed the team Cooper’s first year, embodied the other-centered spirit of the Cooper teams. The sisters shared: “The team has really grown. When they were freshmen, winning was not the thing. But they can win if they put their mind to it.”
In the second half, Sosa added another touchdown to his Senior night show, an incredible 18-yard run that showed both jitterbug quickness and power. It took until the 9:26 mark of the 3rd quarter for Highline to punt. But at 4:38 in the fourth quarter, the Lindbergh Eagles did something only the Kennedy Lancers has achieved this season — they scored on the Pirates with a well-run 28-yard pass play. But Matthews cut the Eagles celebration short with an 80-yard touchdown on the following kickoff. “I made the cut, could see the lane, and then I was off,” shared Matthews. Adam Estrada finished the scoring with a fumble recovery for a touchdown bringing the final score to 70-7.
This was the Pirates last home game of this season. Next week on Friday, October 21st, at 7 PM, the Pirates play against Foster High School at FHS.
As always, we close with the Pirate chant. “Let your yes be yes, your no be no. Now go home and tell someone you love them.”
At the time of publishing, the statistics were not available.
Photos By: Marco Orozco, edited by Natasha Tanev