Five years ago, two coaches applied for the vacant TJ High Head Football Coach. TJ chose Brian West, leaving Deontae Cooper still looking. After a 62-3 blowout by Coopers Highline Pirates, the Athletic Director at TJ High may be having second thoughts. On the other hand, Highline has no doubts: in Cooper, the Pirates may have the best young coach in the state.
Cooper was concerned before the game that the Jefferson Raiders had enough speed to challenge the Pirates. In the first quarter, it looked like it would be a tight match-up. The Raiders took the kick-off and put together a six-play drive before turning the ball over on downs. The Pirates began at their 21-yard line, ran three plays, and punted. The Raiders were penetrating and having their way with the Pirates. TJ began their second drive at midfield. Coach West’s team put together an eleven-play drive collecting three first downs. It ended with a 12-yard field goal. The Raiders had first blood and a 3-0 lead. It looked like a track meet might develop.
But Senior Naphtali Clay had another idea. TJ tried a short kick. Clay grabbed the ball at the Pirate 45, broke two tackles, and scampered 55 yards in for the score. Jamaine Matthews converted with a nice run-off tackle, and the Pirates were back into their accustomed lead, 8-3. The Pirates had the momentum, and they never looked back. The Raiders could only secure one more first down in the rest of the half.
This game saw the emergence of Junior Harley Strayer. Strayer, playing defensive guard, seemed to think his proper role was to make sure the Raider Quarterback and Tailback knew that he wanted to be their friend. Strayer was constantly in the Raider backfield, breaking up blocking patterns and making sacks. Strayer had three sacks for a minus 18 yards. Together with Senior Defensive Gaurd Gabriel Luna-Tautua, the Pirate defense did not allow their offense to develop a cadence.
Marcus Moss joined in the defensive fun in the third quarter with a pic six, 30-yard touchdown return. Unsatisfied with just one interception, Moss grabbed another in the later in the 3rd again. With nothing but an open field to the end zone, Moss could not keep his feet as he wrestled the ball from the Raider receiver.
On offense, the Pirates were a scoring machine, led by Senior wide receiver Marquayn McCraney, who had three touchdown receptions totaling 78 yards. McCraney also successfully made a 2-point conversion, running out of the wildcat.
The scoring was as follows:
Q1 at 1:40 into the game, Raiders kick a 12-yard field goal 0-3 TJ
Q1 at 1:31 Clay runs kick-off back for a 55-yard TD. Matthew runs in conversion. 8-3 Pirates.
Q2 Matthews breaks six tackles on a 25-yard run to keep a drive alive. Then at 10:47 in the quarter, Ronan Rasmussen hits McCraney for a 19-yard strike. Clay converts for 2. 16-3 Pirates.
Q2 at 3:16, Rasmussen-McCraney hit again to cap a long 9-play drive for a seven-yard touchdown. Clay converts for 2 again. 24-3 Pirates.
Q2 at 1:20, Rasmussen-McCraney connected for a 52-yard score. Clay converts for 2. 32-3 Pirates.
The half finishes when Rasmussen is stopped at the one on a gutsy scramble and head-down dive for the end zone.
Q3 at 6:55, Moss intercepts at the 30 and runs in for the score. Clay converts for two. 40-3 Pirates.
Q3 at 3:18, Matthews scores on a tough 2-yard run. McCraney runs in the ball for 2 2-point conversion. 48-3 Pirates
Q3 at 1:00 Set up by Moss’ second interception, Senior MJ Baker catches a 25-yard pass from Quarterback Junior Houth. Clay converts the two points. 56-3 Pirates
Q4 at 2:47, Clay runs in from the 3. Pirates take a knee. 62-3 Pirates
Thank you, Coach Cooper for coming to Highline. Thank you, TJ for choosing the other guy.
So with all the Pirate Football team, let your yes be yes, your no be no. And go home and tell someone you love them.