The home jerseys were brand new for San Pedro High football as they continue building for the future, but for their 2019 home opener and nonleague showdown with visiting Eagle Rock, the Pirates, on a true 'Throwback Thursday' moment, would give the fans a treat by going back to the past.
Due to the on-campus Mike Walsh Pirate Stadium grass being re-sodded, San Pedro would return to Daniels Field for the first time since 2000, and even the performance on the field was a little glimpse of how the Pirates of the 1990's would play during their best decade yet when they would capture four CIF-Los Angeles City Section championships in 1992, 1993, 1996 and 1997.
For the second week in a row, the defense was staunch, and senior running back Joshua Ward would once again break loose for a long touchdown, sparking the Pirates to a 21-6 win over Eagle Rock. By virtue of this win, the defending CIF-Los Angeles City Section Division 1 champions, now 2-0 on the year, made a massive case for a spot in the Open Division playoffs. Eagle Rock last year was an Open Division semifinalist.
Neither team would produce any points in a first quarter that saw both teams lose a fumble on back-to-back plays.
Midway through the first quarter... Ward lost a fumble to give the Eagles (1-1) possession, but then on the very next play, a double reverse run goes for naught as the exchange leads to a fumble that was immediately pounced on by San Pedro senior linebacker Miguel Lopez-Rosales.
A tight game that many expected to be would finally get its first score with 2:51 to play in the second quarter when San Pedro junior quarterback Dylan Kordic found fellow junior WR/DB Joshua Johnson on an inside slant pass over the middle for a 36-yard touchdown, putting the Pirates ahead 7-0 on a quick four-play, 64-yard drive. San Pedro would then force an Eagle Rock punt, and two plays later, Ward would strike yet again.
San Pedro was pushed back to their own 14-yard line after a holding penalty during an incomplete pass, so the Pirates would call Ward's number, and he answered both the call from his coaching staff, and a call to the end zone as he turned a counter hand-off from Kordic into an electrifying 86-yard touchdown. On that same play, Ward slipped past two tackles before busting loose in front of the Eagle Rock sideline for a 14-0 lead with 1:07 left before halftime.
Eagle Rock appeared to find themselves in a position to cut San Pedro's lead in half when Kordic threw an interception, but three plays later, senior defensive end Matthew Rodriguez would cause chaos by stripping the ball on a sack of Eagle Rock senior quarterback Axel Ayers, and junior defensive lineman Roko Zuvic recovered for the Pirates.
Two plays later, Ward would score his second touchdown of the game on an inside counter for a 14-yard score and a 21-0 San Pedro advantage with 6:48 to play in the third quarter. Ayers would then put the Eagles on the scoreboard with a six-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Zamora on a fourth-and-three play coming with 3:02 remaining in the third quarter. Ayers was hounded by the defense as he let a jump pass go to Zamora despite heavy pressure.
It remained 21-6 in San Pedro's favor after senior linebacker Justin Alarcon blocked Eagle Rock's ensuing PAT kick.
San Pedro's vaunted defense which shutout North Torrance last week, would live up to its early billing again in the fourth quarter with two more takeaways, giving them four on the night, but on Johnson's interception which would have been a 36-yard return for a touchdown, a block in the back negated the score, and the sloppiness of the Pirates again showed up with three 15-yard penalties in the final period.
Nevertheless, the defense would once again pay dividends as Rodriguez recovered an Ayers fumble with 48 seconds remaining in the game. Pirates ran out the rest of the clock to secure the victory.
Ward would finish with 125 yards rushing on 14 carries and the two scores for San Pedro, who will next face Taft of Woodland Hills, in what should be an expected return to Mike Walsh Pirate Stadium, next Friday at 7 pm. The Toreadors lost 54-0 to Palisades Charter to fall to 1-1, winning by forfeit a week ago over University of Los Angeles.