Scots top T-Birds, 14-12, to reclaim Rotary Cup

Saturday, September 26, 2015

What's football without cheerleaders?
Shorewood cheer in blue and Shorecrest in green

Ian Prieve scored all Shorecrest's points, Jack Koss passed with pinpoint accuracy, and Will Brennan made an impact in his season debut by rushing for over 100 yards, but it was Marvin Yong's interception in the back of the end zone on Shorewood's 2-point attempt that would have tied the game with 2:02 to play that preserved Shorecrest's 14-12 win over Shorewood in the 37th annual Rotary Cup Game at Shoreline Stadium Friday night.

With the win, the Scots extend their lead in the series to 24-13.

Shorewood's Isaac Whitaker makes a catch
for a long completion in the fourth quarter.

Shorewood started strong, forcing turnovers on Shorecrest's first two possessions, the first one on the third play from scrimmage following a fumble. But SC's defense stiffened and SW settled for a 26-yard Isaac Whitaker field goal to open the scoring.

Shorewood's Ronnie Gary goes down the sideline
after making an interception in the first quarter.

On their ensuing possession, Scots' QB Koss' long pass was intercepted by the talented Ronnie Gary, who wove his way down the far sideline forty-one yards to the Scots' 19. Again, the Scots' defense stiffened and Whitaker kicked his second field goal to make it 6-0 T-Birds, with 4:41 to play in the first quarter.

In the second quarter Shorecrest's Ian Prieve
returns an interception for a touchdown.

Shorecrest took a lead they would never relinquish when Prieve, a slender senior, hauled in a short pass from junior QB Koss. For the game, Koss completed 14 of 17 passes for 164 yards. Prieve's PAT made it 7-6 Scots with :33 to play in the quarter.

The T-Birds responded with a drive of their own on passes from Aaron Okamura to Gary for 31 and 20 yards. For the third time, the Scots' bend-don't-break defense forced another field goal try, but this one missed to preserve the Scots' slim 7-6 lead.

When SW got the ball back, Prieve stepped in front of an Okamura pass on the T-Bird 36 yard line and took it to the house for a touchdown. The PAT gave the Scots a 14-6 lead which they took to the halftime locker room.

Shorecrest drums at half-time

At halftime, in a move that perfectly depicts the friendliness and mutual respect that typifies this rivalry, both schools' bands took the field and fans were treated to the playing of both fight songs performed by the multitude of musicians.

Rod Mar gets ready to take the annual family portrait

Then Rod Mar, the official photographer of the Seattle Seahawks and a graduate of Shorecrest High School, got in position for his annual "Family Photo" of the colorful and spirited masses assembled for this, the biggest annual gathering in Shoreline.

Rod Mar and Shoreline Athletic Director Don Dalziel on fork lift
getting ready for the annual photo of all the students in the stadium

In the middle of the third period, the Scots threatened to extend their lead. Yong took a short pass and ducked and darted his way twenty-nine yards down to the T-Birds' 1-yard line. But the next two plays lost yards, and Koss' third down pass was picked off by the T-Birds on their own one yard line.

The teams traded possessions near midfield until SW got the ball back on their own 37 with just 2:20 to play in the game. The determined T-Birds wasted no time as Whitaker made a circus catch of an Okamura pass for eighteen yards on their first play, then SW's senior signal-caller found the 6' 2" Gary streaking down the middle of the field, a step ahead of the nearest Scot defender, for a touchdown with 2:02 to play. SW lined up for the two-point conversion that would tie the game.

T-bird back Kaimana Aki runs behind Jack Holmes block

But the 5' 8" senior Yong, who missed all of last season recuperating from an injury, would have nothing to do with a tie game.

"We were in man coverage and I was guarding Ronnie Gary, easily the best receiver I've ever had to cover," he explained. "I saw a slant and jumped it, but he ran a delete route (changed directions) and I was able to recover and get in front of him. The quarterback, one of my good friends Aaron Okamura, threw it up knowing it was a mismatch size-wise, but I jumped as high as I could, only meaning to bat it down, but I was able to get two hands on it and bring it down."

Shorecrest running back, Will Brennan,
sweeps left for a good gain.

Shorewood's ensuing onside kick was covered by the Scots. Senior running back (and highly recruited rugby player) Will Brennan, returning to action for the first time this season, bolted for 58 yards on second down, enabling SC to run out the clock on the T-Birds' hopes of winning the Cup for the third straight year.

The Shoreline Rotary Cup is presented to
Shorecrest head coach Brandon Christensen
After the game, a hoarse but happy SC coach Brandon Christensen croaked "The boys found out how to become men tonight. I've been waiting for this team to come together into a single heartbeat. They fed off each other, counted on each other, and the results on the board were perfect. What happened tonight was priceless."

The Rotary Club of Shoreline is the game sponsor

For a game that saw good, clean, competitive football played under cool, dry skies, in front of a well-behaved overflow crowd, 'priceless' seems a pretty apt description of the whole night.

--Text by Frank Workman
--Photos by Wayne Pridemore


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