Saints roll to win in opener

PORTLAND — It didn’t take long for the West Sound Saints to prove that they aren’t just a one-year wonder.

In their opening game of the Northwest Football League season, the Saints crushed the Multnomah County Buccaneers 29-8 last Saturday.

The Saints now get ready to make their home debut at 5 p.m. Saturday, June 18, hosting the Oregon Thunderbolts at their new home field, Roy Anderson Field at Peninsula High School in Purdy.

“Bremerton is tearing up their field,” Saints coach Steve McDaniel said. “Because of last year’s ownership we can’t go to Silverdale. So we went down to Peninsula. I think I like it a lot better. I just hope a lot of fans come out. It’s really not that far from South Kitsap (County).”

On the win over the Bucs, McDaniel said it was especially sweet as the Saints had not been able to hurdle their opponents from the south previously.

“It was nothing but 110-percent, smash mouth football,” McDaniel said. “That was the only team we hadn’t beat in the Northwest Football League.”

The defense led the way, headed by returning linebacker Gabe Llamas, who recorded seven tackles, three sacks, an interception and a safety.

“That was probably one of Gabe’s best games,” McDaniel said. “Gabe is always like that. Full speed all year round. He gets better and better every year. I wouldn’t doubt if he was an All-League linebacker this year.”

Llamas said it’s just nice to have the defensive line and offense to keep him and the other linebackers fresh.

“Our D-line is just huge,” Llamas said. “They help out a lot. They’re probably the top D-line in our league. (Offense) has also been a change this year. We’ve never had an offense that could put up a lot of points on the board. Usually it was our defense. But our offense is controlling the ball and we’re coming out fresh. That’s how it should be.”

Marvin Bronson, who played at the safety and wide receiver positions last year, has stepped up in the quarterback slot, going 8-13 with 158 yards and two scores in the first half. He was later ejected from the game on a technicality.

“It was a call the refs had to make. There’s a rule in the NWFL called a crowd-calmer,” McDaniel said. “(Bronson) was being choked by one of the Bucs. He was trying to get out of the choke hold and walked up to the ref. The ref said go back to the huddle. He said no.”

The DeWalt brothers, Malcolm and Malachai, each ran for a score as well, proving that they may be the best running back tandem in the league.

“For both of them it’s comfortable,” McDaniel said. “Malachai knows how to run behind Malcolm. You can’t get a better pair of running backs in this league.”

Oregon won their first-week match-up with Willamette, 28-21. But that doesn’t have the Saints too worried.

“We’re excited about that,” McDaniel said. “Oregon is a team that needs to be respected. They have a very quick offensive attack. But with the minimal penalties we’ve been getting so far, I feel pretty good about that.”

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