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Santa Ynez relied on an opportunistic offense and stingy defense as they defeated the Nipomo Titans, 38-13, on Oct. 23 at Pirate Stadium.

The Pirates’ Homecoming game against Santa Maria kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday.

Stymied on the ground for much of the game against Nipomo, the Pirates were able to do what they had not in the previous week – score on big plays. Quarterback Ryan Welker’s precision passing was responded to with big catches.

On the first possession, after the Pirate defense forced the Titans to punt after only three plays, Welker connected with Wyatt Garley for a towering 54-yard touchdown pass. Later in the quarter, Welker tossed a 28-yard pass to Zach Foss jettisoning the Pirates ahead, 12-7. In the second quarter, quarterback Welker went back to Garley for another long scoring pass of 29 yards, to put the Pirates in the lead 18-7 at halftime. Garley finished the evening with 106 receiving yards.

The Santa Ynez offense momentarily stalled in the third quarter, allowing Nipomo to score and draw within five points of the Pirates, 18-13. With all the momentum on Nipomo’s side, it was up to the Pirate defense to step up with its own big play. As Nipomo was driving for the go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter, safety Garley tipped a Nipomo pass and sophomore cornerback Spencer Armenta intercepted it to stop the drive.

That was the spark to ignite a 20-point 4th quarter for the Pirates. Workhorse fullback Cole Hollingsworth scored on a six-yard run on the ensuing drive, and just minutes later Jason Miranda broke loose for a 73-yard touchdown run. The scoring continued as newcomer Marcos Uribe kicked field goals of 42 yards (three feet shy of the school record) and another of 25 yards to seal the victory.

Welker finished the evening with more than 200 yards passing. In addition to Garley and Foss, other big receivers for the Pirates were Travis Porter, who snagged three passes for 41 yards, and Parker Johnson, who grabbed a key 4th-down pass for 22 yards to keep alive the drive that finally put away the Titans.

Johnson and Porter were vital to the Pirate defense. Johnson, playing at defensive end, had a crucial sack. Porter, Abe Santos, Kenny Carnemolla and Jake Jacobsen were the leading Pirate tacklers of the evening. Others putting in strong defensive performances were Casey Ellis and Jacob Butcher, each with an interception.

It was a fitting victory for the Pirates, as the game was dedicated to the seniors and their parents. The victory over Nipomo, along with the previous week’s heart-stopping win over Templeton, keeps the Pirates in contention for a bid to the post-season CIF playoffs.