Pirates to face off against Thunder in anticipated playoff matchup



Senior quarterback Blake Porter looks to score against the Bonner Braves. The Pirates face off against the St. James Thunder on Nov. 12. Photo by Olivia Blankenship

Alex Ivanuska, Sports Editor

The Pirates will take on the St. James Thunder on Nov. 12 after defeating Paola last week to win the regional championship which has not happened since 2014. However, this game is not just any regular game for either team.

The St. James coaching staff is loaded with former Piper coaches and alumni. One of them is business teacher and St. James running backs coach, Brian Gray, who sees this game as a homecoming. 

“I think the biggest thing is it makes it sort of a homecoming for some of our coaches,” Gray said. “This is a staff that several of us were together here at Piper and so it is just kind of fun to come back and be in the old stadium. It brings back a lot of great memories from a lot of great teams we had here.”

There are a total of six coaches on the St. James staff who are either Piper alumni or former Piper coaches. Senior Quarterback Blake Porter thinks this just adds more intensity to an already high-energy game. 

“I think it’s just going to make the game that much more exciting because they have connections both ways,” Porter said. “Some people on our team are connected to them. That is going to just make it even better and even more important of a game.”

St. James won the 4A state championship last year. With them being the reigning state champions, that makes senior Ethan Walker even more determined to win this game. 

“We know they are a good team but that just makes us hungrier,” Walker said. “I think being a public school, nobody expects us to win. We are just coming out there with more fire under ourselves.”

Despite the Thunder being the reigning 4A state champions, Porter is more confident with this week’s matchup rather than last week’s matchup against Paola.

“I have more confidence this week than I did going into last week,” Porter said. “We just had a losing record against Paola and their offense had been very hard for us to figure out. But, St. James runs a pretty simple offense and we just have to prepare for the worst.”

This is the furthest the Pirates have made it in their postseason run since 2014. For Walker, a win against St. James would mean everything for the team and the Piper community. 

“It would mean everything to get this win,” Walker said. “I have never experienced going this far in my four years, We haven’t gone this far since 2014. I think more people are going to wake up and more people are going to show up to the games. They have been doing a good job at that. I just think it’ll provide more happiness throughout the community.”