"Orcas escape Cavs, season's end"
June 11, 2008 · Updated 4:29 PM
"If it all had ended Saturday night, the West Sound Orcas would've gone out on a winning note.But it looks as if the Orcas' inaugural semipro football season is a long way from over.The Orcas edged an undermanned but feisty Washington Cavaliers team 14-10 July 22 at Bremerton Memorial Stadium in front of about 300 chilly fans, bringing their season record to 3-2. Because of a cancellation in their schedule, it might've been the last time in their first season that they took the field.It appears now, though, as if the Orcas could have as many as four more games. The financially strapped Oregon Panthers could fold out of the Northwest Football League (NWFL) at a league meeting tonight, in which case the league could plug the Orcas into the Panthers' four remaining games.Even if the Panthers - a probationary entry whose games don't count in the NWFL standings - don't fold, West Sound president Jim Wootan seemed confident his team would be able to pick up several more games during the last month of the NWFL season.Oh, we're not done, Wootan said Monday morning after attending a league meeting Sunday evening. We've got these guys (the Orcas players) pumped up. One way or another, we're going to get them some more games.If the Orcas do step into the games abandoned by the Panthers, they will have to rush back into action this Saturday, July 29. They would play their first-ever road game, against the 6-0 Puget Sound Jets at Auburn Memorial Stadium.Remaining games would be Saturday, Aug. 5 against the Cavaliers; Saturday, Aug. 19 against the Pierce County Bengals; and Saturday, Aug. 26 against the Snohomish County Vikings. The Vikings handed West Sound one of its two losses earlier this season, a 25-15 decision on June 24. All three of those contests would be back at Bremerton Memorial Stadium, pending school district approval.Wootan also said he's in negotiations with the Oregon Thunderbolts, who cancelled out of the two teams' scheduled Aug. 5 matchup at Bremerton, about rescheduling the game.The Orcas needed a 67-yard touchdown strike from Don Purser to Antonio Brown to come from behind against the Cavaliers, who were 0-8 going into the game, and two late interceptions to preserve their lead.Todd Lewis, who ran 17 times for 147 yards, scored the game's first TD on a 32-yard run to cap the Orcas' first possession.But the Shelton-based Cavaliers, who suited up just 27 players for the game, roared back to take a 10-7 halftime lead on a 16-yard touchdown run by Paul Kennedy and a 31-yard field goal by Chris Potts.It was a good, hard-hitting game, said Orcas head coach Larry Bell. We sputtered around offensively, and they played the perfect style (of defense) against us.But we knew it would be a matter of execution, Bell said of turning the game around. We knew if we just kept beating on them, eventually they would open up.The Orcas did that with a combination of the speedy Lewis, running sweeps and misdirection plays, and burlier backs like Jaron Johnson and Andrew Alfred hammering right up the middle.And, when they needed to most, the Orcas were able to uncork a long bomb. For the second game in a row, Brown - a sailor from the USS Carl Vinson who missed the team's first three games because of a family crisis - burned an opposing secondary for a long TD.Antonio's done wonders for (the offense), Bell said. Opposing teams have to fear him because of his speed.The Orcas, who lost their previous two outings because of a penchant for turnovers, held themselves in check this time out. They coughed the ball up just twice - one interception by Purser and one fumble - while getting four takeaways. Their two interceptions, one by Erik Simonsen and the other tipped by Simonsen to John Colyer, both blunted Cavaliers drives in the fourth quarter.Purser said the Cavs' constant blitzing and stacking the line of scrimmage wasn't as much of a problem for him as it has been in past games.Our line was awesome today, said Purser, who was sacked just once while completing 5 of 18 passes for 101 yards. We had them blocked out all game long.The Orcas were stung a few times by shifty Cavs quarterback Willie Dorsey, who hooked up for several long completions with Paul Kennedy and Rikki Reid, as well as scrambling for a team-best 54 yards on the ground. Bell said the absences of starting defensive backs Dave Snyder and Ron Torres, both shelved by injuries, had his team scrambling to fill the holes.With no Snyder and no Torres, defensive back-wise, that really thins us up, Bell said. But we adjusted. They didn't hurt us as much in the second half as they did in the first."