by Martin Barrett
The Highline Pirates put up 23 points in the last six minutes in the second annual Battle for Burien High School Football Game. But the furious comeback fell short as the Kennedy Catholic Lancers left the field with their second win in the series, 45 to 38.
“You cannot let yourself get so far behind a good team like Kennedy and try to make it up on the last quarter. We made a great effort. The kids never quit. We keep pressing. But in the end, the clock ran out”, a disappointed Head Coach Deontae Cooper said. The Pirates forced the Lancers to punt with 39 seconds left in the game, but a Pirate player injury took away their last chance due to the required 43-second run-off.
The Lancers, who were runner-up in State in the 4A division last year, coming off a tough 3-point loss last week to a solid team in Colorado, were slow to start. The Pirates scored first with a 53rd-yard strike between quarterback Ronan Rasmussen and wideout Adam Estrada. Wide receiver Marquawn McCraney scored on the 2-point conversion, and the Pirates had an 8-point lead. But new Head Coach Pat Jones ignited his offense, scoring as time ticked off in the 1st quarter to finish with an 8-8 knot. From that point, the Lancers were on a roll. Quarterback Devon Forehand hit on touchdown passes of 21 and 34 yards, and the Lancers had an 8 to 22-point lead. Jones’ team was hitting on all cylinders! But with 1:09 left in the half, Rasmussen connected with McCraney for a short pass. McCraney broke a couple of tackles and streaked down the sideline. Score: 15 – 22, Lancers. However, it appeared that Kennedy would take the ball down the field and score once more before the end of the half. But a bone-jarring tackle by Jamaine Matthews forced a fumble, and the half ended 15-22.
When the second half began, Kennedy was having their way in all aspects. Offense, defense, run, pass. The Lancers quickly ran up their point total to 45, and it looked like the game was a foregone conclusion. Kennedy was executing well; Highline was stumbling, making mistakes, incurring penalties, and missing open receivers. Rasmussen had Lancers in his face quickly. Forehand was able to set and pick his receivers.
But at 5:09 in the 4th quarter, backup quarterback Junior Houth found McCraney for an 18-yard touchdown pass. The Pirates then forced a fumble on the next Kennedy series. Matthews ran for pickups of 22 and 18 yards, and McCraney ran for the touchdown out of the wildcat formation from the 4-yard line. Nat Clay converted the two points, and it was 30-45. Highline had momentum. Highline then recovered an onside kick and had the ball on the 50. Six plays later, including a nifty scramble by Hough, the Pirates were in the end zone once more with 1:15 on the clock. The Lancers took possession of the ball, ran three times for no gain, and were preparing to punt with 39 seconds left in the game when the Pirate injury happened. The clock had run out, and the game was over.
It was a much better game than last year. Coach Jones has his first win at the helm of the Lancers. Cooper saw major steps forward in his club’s showing.
We wish the best for both clubs going forward!
And in keeping with the Pirate traditional chant at the end of every practice, “Let your yes be yes, your no be no. Now go home and tell someone you love them.”