ABERDEEN - The West Side Pirates made the trek to Aberdeen to take on the Tigers in the conference opener for both teams and turned back the 'Cats' 16-6 on the strength of a pair of touchdown runs by quarter back Dallas Turnbow.
"Our kids proved once again tonight that we can play anyone close," said Tiger coach Cory Hollingsworth. "We just have to find a way to win one of these close games."
The game started slowly for both teams as each squad struggled to find any rhythm in their offense. Each team had a short lived possession before West Side mounted a 62 yard drive midway through the first quarter, the last 32 yards courtesy of a run by Turnbow. The resulting two point conversion was good and the Pirates led 8-0.
"We had a couple of breakdowns at bad times tonight and West Side made us pay for it," said coach Hollingsworth. "If we can eliminate the penalties and mistakes, we win most of these close contests."
With West Side knocking on the door with only 1:35 left before halftime, the Tiger defense stood tall in the shadow of the goal posts and forced a fumble by Turnbow which the Tigers recovered on the one yard line.
The very next play saw Tiger quarterback Jaden Beck hook up on a 65 yard pass and catch play to Jake Ponce which put the gang from Aberdeen in business. The Tigers cashed in on the Pirate miscue with just nine seconds remaining in the half when fullback Greg Bartholoma punched it in from the one. The Tigers did not convert the extra point and went into the half trailing West Side 8-6.
A scoreless third quarter ensued although both teams had their chances. West Side had an apparent 66 yard pass play overturned due to a holding penalty and moments later, a 63 yard punt return by Aberdeen's Jake Ponce was called back for an illegal block in the back.
"Our defense and special teams really played well tonight," said Coach Hollingsworth. "West Side was bigger than us and we beat them in the trenches for the most part tonight, we just couldn't get the ball into the end zone."