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2007 slips away from West Sound Saints
In a game of inches, the West Sound Saints missed by a mile in reaching expectations in 2007.
Ending the season at 3-7, tied for seventh in the Northwest Football League, the team saw almost every close play go the wrong way, and turnovers plagued the squad from the first game to the last. The best that can be said is the team ended its rollercoaster ride heading back uphill.
The Saints started the campaign with a self-inflicted 3-0 loss at home against the Washington Cavaliers. The Saints committed five turnovers in the game, coughing up three fumbles and two interceptions. I still cant get the taste out of my mouth, said head coach John Corey the next week. We pretty much dominated the game, but we just couldnt break into the end zone.
West Sound also missed on a pair of field goal attempts, and squandered a 109-yard rushing game by Anthony Galloway.
We had some plays, and games that could have gone either way, said coach Les Archer that in past years weve won. This was certainly one of them.
The next week the team hit the road, and put the ball on the turf frequently again, falling behind an Oregon Thunderbolt team that would finish at 7-3 by a whopping 33-0 in the first half. The Saints rallied to close the game at 36-21, but the deficit proved too large to overcome.
Week Three may have been the highlight of the season, as the Saints pounded Willamette Valley 37-10. The Raiders ended up grabbing the final playoff spot this season, but had no answers against a hot Saints team.
The fourth game was the beginning of the end, however, as the Saints found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in a 21-20 road loss to Snohomish County. Turnovers were again the main culprit, including a blocked punt that went for a Vikings touchdown.
Im more upset with myself than with the team, Corey said after the game. I could point to turnovers, or this or that, but I made some wrong decisions and I take full responsibility.
Following a bye week, it seemed many in the Saints uniform refused to take responsibility in a devastating 56-14 loss to the league champion King County Jaguars. The team had a collective meltdown on the road, and had some suspensions handed down by the league in the aftermath. It was disgraceful, Corey said. The loss wasnt important compared to the character we do not have.
The short-handed Saints dropped another close road contest the following week, falling at Pierce County 18-12. Not only were the Saints dealing with the suspensions, but theyd had a bad week of practice with players not showing up. The resulting sloppy play led to turnovers again, and penalties added the coup de gras. Still, the Saints had their chances, but couldnt cash in on drives that stalled deep in Bengal territory.
When we get down there, weve got to expect to score, said quarterback Brandon Pederson. When were down late in the game, weve got to expect touchdowns, not field goals. Right now theres a big wall, and weve
got to find a way through it.
Following another disaster on the road, a 46-0 shellacking against the Seattle Stallions, the Saints ended the season by knocking the wall down in a come from behind 13-12 win over Renton. The Saints fell behind early in that game as well, with fumbles and interceptions causing more trouble than the Raven defense. West Sound struck for a tying touchdown just before the end of the first half, and looked to be driving for the go-ahead score in the third quarter when one of those game of inches plays jumped up huge. A Ramon Martinez pass was yanked from his receivers hands and returned for a 100-yard touchdown on the interception.
But unlike other games this year, the Saints, who saw a sharp drop in the number of Navy personnel on the roster, stayed upbeat, and the team put together another strong drive to earn the victory. The defense played well throughout, and a boatload of young players saw action.
We got to play a lot of young guys, Archer said. They were eager to play hard. They never gave up. Hopefully that attitude will carry over into next year.
The Saints will be carrying a two-game win streak over into next season, since the final scheduled contest of the year ended in a 35-0 forfeit win over the Multnomah County Buccaneers.