Sports

"Orcas offense struggles, defense shines in first win"

"Larry Bell stopped at midfield, like a light bulb had just switched on over his head.You know, the coach of the first-year West Sound Orcas semipro football team mused, I can't really call these guys 'guys' any more. I can't say, 'They guys played well,' or, 'The guys did this or that'.So, what does Bell call his players from now on? He answered, beaming proudly, They're ballplayers now.The Orcas, making up in heart what they lacked in polish, won their first-ever game Saturday night at Bremerton Memorial Stadium, scoring 21 fourth-quarter points for a 24-18 exhibition victory over the King County Jaguars. A crowd estimated by Orcas officials at 2,000 cheered them on as they won despite not scoring an offensive touchdown.We knew the offense was going to stutter, but we still controlled the line on both sides of the ball, and that's the crux of the game, said Bell, whose hastily assembled team cancelled out its lack of offensive efficiency with three TDs in the fourth quarter, two supplied by the defense.The game might've turned on Paul Fearless' interception and 14-yard return of an interception at 13:27. That TD and Kevin Shearer's conversion kick pulled the Orcas within 12-10 and breathed hope into the fledgling team.He just hit me in the chest, Fearless said of Fisher, who tried to throw a slant to the left side from his own 8, only to have the Orcas' middle linebacker step in and make the pick. Yeah, it was a game-turner. We needed it. I'm just glad I got a chance to help the team.Shearer was the first West Sound player to put points on the board, hitting a 36-yard field goal five seconds before halftime that made the score 5-3. King County had a Richard Black field goal of 29 yards and a safety on its side of the board.It was good we had some defensive help tonight, said team founder Matt Gates, who played tight end and wide receiver for an Orcas team that got all nine of its first downs via the rush. Those guys played great. They showed as much heart and will and any pro player out there.Jim Wootan, the Silverdale developer who is serving as president of the not-for-profit team, was enthusiastic about the crowd and the Orcas' debut effort.This town really saw something tonight, said Wootan. These kids played their hearts out."

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