San Pedro, CA – The San Pedro Pirates (10-1) handed the Palisades Dolphins (11-1) their first loss of the season on Friday night 33-17 to advance to the City Section Open Division Championship against Birmingham, the 2019 defending champions.
San Pedro Head Coach Corey Miller shared his experience competing in the semi-finals and moving on to the Championship next week.
“In my experience, the semis have always been the toughest. To get to a final is just an awesome feeling. But like I just told the boys, we have unfinished work to do. We can’t be satisfied with this. They gotta give us six more days of grind and find a way to get it done.”
The Pirates forced five turnovers and were able to capitalize from their defensive pressure.
San Pedro senior Elijah Thorp scored a pick six at the opening drive of the second quarter to lead 13-0.
“They got a good quarterback and a good group of receivers over there, so we practiced all week-long pass defense wise. We had to generate a pass rush at times, and I think our defense played well overall,” said Coach Miller.
Lightning bolt Chris Nixon juked his way down the field for a 35-yard touchdown carry to extend the lead to 20-10 at the half.
Senior quarterback Aidan Jackson zipped it to the fearless Robert Sarmiento for a 25-yard touchdown pass to go up 27-17 in the third quarter.
Palisades was still in striking distance, but not for long.
Senior Kejuan Bullard leaped in the air for an interception with 8:59 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
In the very next play, Chris Nixon caught a touchdown in the endzone for the final score of the game 33-17.
As the clock struck zero, San Pedro celebrated their victory.
Coach Miller commented on playing Birmingham in the final.
“It’s just great to be there whoever we get to play. Birmingham is really the defending City Champs. They knocked us out in the playoffs back in 2019, so I think that’s going to be some motivation for us. At least I hope so. They got a quality ball club over there so we’re going to really have to bring our A-game.”
The battle for the City Section Open Division Championship title between the San Pedro Pirates and the Birmingham Patriots is scheduled for next Saturday, November 27th at 7 p.m. at Pierce College.