Orcas primed to resume their season

"Larry Bell stared out across the tennis courts to where a couple dozen of his West Sound Orcas players were straggling onto the Bremerton High School practice field.Instead of being in the Bahamas, gambling my money away, the Orcas' head coach grinned, I'm going to be here for the next three weeks with these fools.A man talking about trading in a tropical vacation for a trio of semipro football games has to be careful about who he's calling a fool. But Bell was kidding when he said it. He, and all the Orcas, are anything but displeased that their first season together has been extended by a three-games-in-three-weeks skein that begins tonight when they host the Bellingham Eagles at 6 p.m. at Bremerton Memorial Stadium.Unfortunately, not all of the Orcas players are going to be around to take advantage of the added competition, which also includes a Sept. 2 game against the Eastside Chiefs and a Sept. 9 matchup with the Snohomish County Vikings. Injuries, work and family commitments and the resumption of school have stolen away a few of the players that helped get the fledgling team through its first year.One of them, linebacker Woody Bell - the coach's son - is preparing for a draft combine conducted by the new Extreme Football League (XFL), operated by entrepreneur Vince McMahon of World Wrestling Federation fame.Others, like South Kitsap's Elkanah Montgomery and Erik Simonsen, are headed to college. Montgomery, a running back, is going to Eastern Washington, and Simonsen, a defensive back-quarterback, is headed to Washington State.We've got some guys who just weren't counting on us still playing at this point, said Larry Bell. They made plans that they can't get out of, or they just have to get back to work.Craig Davis gave up playing for the year when his assistant coaching duties at North Kitsap High School began August 21. But two other Orcas, linebacker Paul Fearless and defensive back Dave Snyder, apparently will try to reconcile their playing schedules with their assistant coaching jobs at Kingston Junior High.For the most part, the Orcas will be present and healthy for their three bonus games, the coach said. Originally, the season was to have ended Aug. 5. But Orcas president Jim Wootan responded to the pleadings of the players, who compiled a 3-2 record against their five Northwest Football League (NWFL) opponents, and drummed up the second season. It includes games with both teams that beat them the first time around, Bellingham and Snohomish County, and hopefully will ignite a fan fervor for the NWFL All-Star Game, which West Sound will host Sept. 23.It's great we get to play (the Eagles and Vikings) again, Larry Bell said. We felt like we should've beaten both those teams, except we killed ourselves with turnovers.Snohomish County (4-6) beat the Orcas 7-6 on June 24. The Eagles (6-3) took a 25-15 decision in their first visit to Memorial Stadium on July 1. "

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