On the first rain-soaked, cold game of the season, the Highline Pirate Varsity Football team continued its string of 50+ scoring games to 7 with another dominating thump of the Foster Bulldogs.
Seven Pirates Scored, led by Jamaine Matthews, with three touchdown runs of 1, 2, and 34 yards. LaMarques Williams and Rico Soza were also in the end zone with a pass reception of 6 yards and a run of 6 years, respectively. And in a new twist, Linebacker Yannis Togi lined up in the running back position to score a Pirate touchdown. “It felt great! It was the first touchdown of my three years playing football. As a defensive player, not training with the RBs this year, I never thought Coach Coop would put me in at RB. Overall I was just happy to play behind our O-Line and see them do what they do up close. The energy in the air moments after was unreal, and I loved every second of it,” Togi enthusiastically shared.
Defensive Back Hudson Sheridan recovered a Bulldog fumble that squired into the end zone, fulfilling Defensive Coordinator Morgan Rosoborough’s intent for the defense to score at least once per game. Adam Estrada brought the total score to 50 with a 2-pint conversion in the final minutes.
As usual, Josiah Maginniss performed solidly, hitting on 4 of 5 attempts. Holder Marquawn McCraney showed off his great hands by bringing down a high snap to set the ball for Maginniss in the 3rd quarter and save the attempt.
Once again, the Pirates game pattern held. The offensive line led by center Jordan Heng moved the Bulldogs around at will on run plays and set up Quarterback Ronan Rasmussen to find his receivers. The line of Jacob Brown, Gabriel Tautua, Joseph Tiumalu, and Abijah Garza has gelled, reading a picking up the defensive schemes more effectively. “The trenches were filled with a lot of big bodies. But we were able to fire off the ball and keep the Dogs penned up,” said Tautua.
Rasmussen looked more comfortable in this game. Even with the rain, he completed passes and showed more poise. Several passes were missed or dropped, likely due to the rain and the slick field.
The Pirate defense achieved another shutout under Rosoborough’s leadership. This season they have held their 2A opponents to a total of 7 points — the defense functions as a true effort. And last night they needed it. The pirates are built for speed, giving up size to some of their competitors. The Pirates were challenged by the big and powerful Bulldog running backs. The Bulldogs finished the game with more first downs than Highline has given up in any other league game. Almost all of these came from a power set of a tight end leading a stack formation of a large running back behind a solid fullback blocking just off tackle. There were several plays where five or more Pirates were being dragged by a Bulldog back. But in the end, speed won. The Bulldogs could not get by the swarming speed of Head Coach Deontae Cooper’s trademark style.
The two teams combined for a total of 14 penalties — it was not a pretty game. Once again, the Pirates chalked up almost as many yards in penalties as their opponents claimed in total offense.
The Pirates are a spirited team, having lots of fun, celebrating each other, and supporting every success — separating them from the other teams they have played. And it is a clear advantage. As the Pirates get to playoffs, it will be essential to make sure that penalties coming from their aggressive style of play and enthusiasm are not augmented by penalties from poor discipline and mental errors.
Next week’s game against Renton High will round out the Pirate regular season. A win in that game will help ensure home game status in the League Playoff game and potentially in early state playoff games.
As always, we end with the Highline Pirate Team 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