Sports

Rematches restart Orcas' season

"Jim Wootan's got a message for the players on the West Sound Orcas semipro football team:Don't leave town.We've got 'em the games. Now I just hope they show up, said Wootan, president of the first-year team.The Orcas, a probationary member of the Northwest Football League (NWFL) this season, played five exhibition games during the late spring and early summer, and had a sixth game dry up when the Oregon Thunderbolts backed out of their Aug. 5 trip to Bremerton.Since then, the Orcas' players have been clamoring for more games, and Wootan, a Bremerton developer, has been doing his best to oblige them.This hasn't been fun for me. I'll be very happy next year when we've got a real schedule, Wootan said, refering to the 2001 season when the Orcas should become full-fledged NWFL members.Wootan's efforts finally bore fruit at the end of last week, when he solidified agreements with two NWFL teams - the Snohomish County Vikings and Bellingham Eagles - for games on Aug. 26 and Sept. 9, respectively.Coincidentally, the Vikings and Eagles were the teams that handed West Sound the two defeats it suffered during its 3-2 inaugural campaign.Those games are 99 percent scheduled for here, Wootan said of the Orcas' Bremerton Memorial Stadium home field.In addition, Wootan is involved with talks with Eastside Chiefs director Michael Stuart for a game with the Chiefs Sept. 2, either at Memorial Stadium or on the artificial surface at Lake Washington High School in Kirkland.I'm going to meet with our players and Mike's going to meet with theirs, Wootan said. It's the Labor Day weekend, so we want to make sure guys are going to be there.With a lot of schools starting before Labor Day this year, I don't think it's quite the big get-out-of-Dodge weekend it used to be, Wootan said optimistically.After the Aug. 5 game was canceled, Wootan said he left it up to the players - who haven't had a game since their 14-10 victory over the Washington Cavaliers on July 22 - whether he should continue his efforts to extend their season.I met with the ballclub, and told them, 'if (five games) is enough, just tell me and I'll quit trying. It'll make my life easier,' Wootan said. But if they wanted to play some more, I said I'd go to the ends of the Earth to make it happen - they'd just have to trust that I would, and not give up.The added games provide a natural lead-in to Sept. 23, when the Orcas and Bremerton Memorial Stadium host the NWFL All-Star Game at 4 p.m. "

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