October 2, 2015
By Janiya Lapat and Courtney Baker
After suffering their first loss of the 2015 season against North Eugene last week, our Phoenix Pirate football team traveled to Hidden Valley for their first conference showdown of the year. Now commanding a 2-1 record, the Pirates looked to kick off inter-conference play with a statement win. Although it was their third game in a row on the road, the Pirates rose to the occasion with a classic physical football game. Although the Pirate’s first drive of the game on offense failed to create a spark, the defense came through with a huge stop to shift momentum. After a high snap on fourth down forced Hidden Valley’s punter to attempt to scramble for a first down, a rally of Pirates tackled him down to set up the offense on the Mustang’s 27 yard line. It only took four plays for the offense to strike with a 15 yard scamper for a touchdown by Justin Knight.
The Mustangs attempt to answer the score faltered as on the first play of their drive, as Frank Masalosalo intercepted a pass to set up a 14 yard touchdown run provided by Zach Atteberry. With the score already 14-0, Hidden Valley was forced to abandon their run game and try to make a splash through the air; however, this strategy failed as Frank Masalosalo tallied his second pick of the night. While the Mustang offense struggled to culminate any momentum, the Pirates thrived. Sophomore quarterback Dylan Knudson joined the scoring parade for the Pirates with a 9 yard run, while Atteberry collected his second score of the day on a 6 yard run of his own.
By the end of the first quarter, the rout was already in full effect as the Pirates led 28-0. Although Hidden Valley managed to get on the board with a desperate pass to the end-zone, the Pirates continued to inflate their already humongous lead. The Pirates scored 14 points in the second quarter, both provided by the senior Justin Knight. He scored one touchdown on an electrifying 50 yard run and another on a Sports Center Top Ten-type play in which he bobbed and weaved his way into the end-zone for a pick six.
At the half, Phoenix led Hidden Valley by a score of 42-7, but the scoring didn’t stop there. Zach Atteberry matched Knight in the third quarter with his third touchdown of the night while Kyle Sell joined the action with a touchdown of his own. Knight ended the night with 136 rushing while Atteberry totaled 74 yards.
Defensively, the Pirate front seven continued to dominate, accumulating a collection of sacks and tackles for losses. Mase Masalosalo and Trace Vega led the way in an impressive defensive showing by the Pirates. With the majority of the starters out, Hidden Valley did manage to strike for a 70+ catch and run for a touchdown, but in the end Phoenix came out with a 56-14 victory in their first conference matchup.
Looking forward, the Pirates will finally return home Friday October 2nd (tonight) to face off against the winless North Valley Knights. Kickoff is set for 7:30 at Jack Woodward Stadium.