Sports

Corey takes blame for tough Saints loss

EDMONDS — For the first time this season, the West Sound Saints (1-3) started a game strong, and looked solidly in control, taking a 20-7 lead just 20 seconds into the second half Saturday at the Snohomish County Vikings. When the wheels fell off, Saints coach John Corey blames only himself for the 21-20 defeat.

“I’m more upset with myself than with the team,” Corey said. “I could point to turnovers, or this or that, but I made some wrong decisions, and I take full responsibility.”

The main decision Corey wishes he had to make over again was to go for a fourth and short on the Saints 47-yard line midway through the fourth quarter. Quarterback Marvin Bronson’s pass was just tipped by a Vikings defensive back for an incompletion, and Snohomish County mounted its winning drive.

“All the guys were saying, ‘Let’s go for it. Let’s go for it,’ and I got caught up in it,” Corey said. “I don’t usually let myself get influenced like that. That was the pivotal play of the game. Before the game I always tell my players, just give me your best, that’s all you can do. I don’t feel I gave my best. I guess I’ve got to keep working on my game.”

The Saints also will continue to work on their game, using a league bye this week to tune up for the six remaining games with a playoff berth still very much alive. The top four teams in the league qualify for post-season play, and West Sound is in a six way log jam for sixth, two games behind a three-way tie for second. That means the Saints would only have to get past two of the next four teams ahead of them, as the King County Jaguars are the only undefeated team.

The Saints dominated the line of scrimmage for most of the game, and scored first on a four-yard plunge by Andy Alfred with just under 5 minutes gone in the first quarter. The Vikings blocked a punt and recovered in the end zone to tie the game late in the second quarter, but the Saints regained the lead just 51 seconds later when Bronson connected with Ramon Martinez for an eight-yard touchdown strike.

The Vikings turned the ball over to the Saints on the second half kick-off, and Bronson found Justin Kelley on a 33-yard pass to take a 20-7 lead.

“It was a tremendous catch,” Corey said, “right between two defenders. One was just in front of him, and one was right behind and he just went up and got it.”

The Saints were marching again soon after, but this time Bronson’s throw into the end zone was picked off. A 64-yard run highlighted the Vikings drive to close to within six. That set the table for the call Corey wants back, as Vikings quarterback, Daimino Stewart called his own number frequently on the winning drive, using a good number of sneaks and keepers to keep West Sound off-balance.

Anthony Galloway led the running game with 86 yards on 18 carries, and Martinez had five grabs for 69 yards through the air. Kelley added 59 yards receiving.

The Saints next game also is on the road, against the King County Jaguars (4-0) at 7 p.m. Saturday, July 14, at Auburn Memorial Stadium in Auburn.

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