Saints begin ’06 campaign

The West Sound Saints’ road back to Orlando starts tonight at Silverdale Stadium.

The Saints open their 2006 regular season with a 6:30 p.m. match against the Oregon Thunderbolts in a Northwest Football League contest.

West Sound played an intrasquad scrimmage Saturday, June 10, to prepare for the regular season and allow coach Les Archer to see where the team is at this point.

Archer said he liked what he saw.

“It went well,” he said. “Everyone performed well. The offense is a little ahead of the defense.”

Tired of hitting each other in practice, the Saints are ready to beat up on somebody else.

“We’ll be ready to go. We’re excited and optimistic,” Archer said. “Guys will be ready to play. The T-Bolts are really itchin’ to take it to us.”

What has the Thunderbolts pumped up for the Saints is the opportunity for revenge. Last season, Oregon played a strong second half against West Sound at Roy Anderson Field in Purdy and missed the opportunity to tie the game with a field goal that sailed wide left from more than 40 yards out.

The Saints got a chance to scout the Bolts when they faced the Washington Cavaliers in a scrimmage three weeks ago, falling to the Cavs 26-10.

Despite the outcome of that game, “we’re not taking them lightly,” Archer said. “They have a receiver with speed, a good run stopper in the middle and their D-line is athletic. I’m sure they’ve worked some of the bugs out that they had in that game over the past three weeks.”

In addition, the coach said the Saints have to adjust to “a different role for us to be the team with the target on our backs.”

They will have to do it with some interesting personnel issues Saturday. Several key contributors are still at sea with the USS John C. Stennis until July 20 and a handful more will be making the commute from the east side of the Sound, where their spring league

team, the Seattle Stallions, is finishing its season with a league championship game.

“There’s quality players we’re missing out on, but we’ve got a task to keep it going while they’re away,” Archer said.

He said he is excited to see new quarterback Kyle Nelson line up behind center for the first time as a Saint.

“It’s just about distributing the ball back there with our O-line,” he said. “Get the ball to guys like Ramon (Martinez) and Justin Kelly … and Jon Rector. As a receiving tight end, he causes teams some trouble.”

It’s also about finishing in the second half and not making it as interesting at the game’s end as it was a year ago.

“You’ve gotta have that killer instinct to perform at a high level,” Archer said.

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