It may have started slowly, but a second half explosion of points buried visiting Reedsport Friday by a decisive 56-12 margin in the season opener for both 2A football teams.
Senior Tristan Bennett got rolling in the second half as he gobbled up 291 yards on 19 carries and scored four times.
For the visitors from Reedsport, the senior was almost an unstoppable force.
But he wasn’t the only Pirate to plunder the Reedsport defenders in spite of getting both first half scores on 26 and 60-yard carries.
He added two more in the second half (49 yards and 30 yards).
Quarterback Mychal Kelly even had a better night statistically, needing just nine carries to shred the Brave for 155 yards and two scores.
He also connected on two of his four passes for 35 yards and one touchdown.
Josh Elinsky added another 96 yards on 16 carries and one score.
It was Kelly’s 29-yard touchdown pass to Destin Donaldson with just 18 seconds left in the first half that helped start the explosion of points in the second half.
Looking into the setting sun on a second and 14 play, Kelly watched Donaldson sprint down the west sideline and broke away from Reedsport’s freshman defender Miguel Velasquez.
But while the pass came up a little short, Donaldson came back to snag the pass and sprint in for the score that gave the Pirates a 20-6 halftime lead.
When the Pirates came back from halftime, they started to shred the defense of the 2017 playoff team.
While ripping up the visiting Brave on offense, the defense also forced the visitors to fumble, including one recovered by Jacob Waldron.
In the third quarter alone, the Pirates turned a 20-6 halftime lead into a lopsided runaway with a 30-0 run.
Pirates vs. Amity
It was a long night in the valley for the Pirate football team Friday, as the Amity Warriors shredded the visiting defense, en route to a 60-20 non-league victory.
The early minutes of the game looked promising for Neah-Kah-Nie, after Tristan Bennett returned the opening kickoff to midfield, and the Pirate offense proceeded to move the ball deep into Amity territory.
With only two minutes elapsed from the game clock, Bennett scored on a 10-yard run, and, to the surprise of many in attendance, the Pirates were sitting on a 6-0 lead.
They would hold that advantage for a mere 18 seconds.
On the Warriors’ first offensive play from scrimmage, running back West Streeter took a hand-off around the left side, sprinting down the home sideline for a 63-yard tying score.
After another kick return to midfield, an irrational penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct killed the Pirates’ second possession, and they were forced to punt the ball back to the Warriors.
Moments later, Amity quarterback Tyler Parr connected with receiver Payton Richardson on a fly route for a 60-yard touchdown, giving the Warriors a lead that they would not trade back.
The Pirate offense continued to move the ball, finding the end zone a second time in the first quarter on a 44-yard run by Josh Elinsky. But the consistent offensive production proved somewhat futile, as the Neah-Kah-Nie defense was unable to deliver an answer for the tried-and-true game plan of Amity.
The Warriors crossed the goal line a total of seven times during the first half: a scoring barrage that culminated in an 85-yard pick-six, which pushed the score to 52-14 at the break.
Midway through the third quarter, Josh Elinsky scored again, on a 5-yard run, finishing the night as the Pirates’ leading rusher with 73 yards on 16 carries.
Despite throwing three interceptions, quarterback Mychal Kelly had an impressive game through the air, connecting on 8 of 16 attempts for 125 yards.
Senior receiver Jack Porter hauled in three catches for 49 yards, while Destin Donaldson and A.J. Pieper each had a pair of receptions on the night.
Heading into their first league game, against Gaston this Friday, the Pirates will be looking to shake off a humbling loss, with the knowledge that they have the ability to put a lot of points on the board against a Greyhound team hoping to redeem themselves from a 58-0 steamrolling last October in Rockaway Beach.