Saints’ defense tames toothless Bengals

Saints defensive back James Kelly returns an interception in West Sound’s 41-0 win over Pierce County on Saturday at Silverdale Stadium.  - Photo by Jesse Beals
Saints defensive back James Kelly returns an interception in West Sound’s 41-0 win over Pierce County on Saturday at Silverdale Stadium.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

Saturday night was a beautiful night to take in the sights and sounds of the Pierce County Bengals’ backfield.

The West Sound Saints’ defense thought so anyway and hung around back there during the majority of a 41-0 victory in the Northwest Football League contest at Silverdale Stadium.

Linemen and linebackers alike breezed through the Bengals’ offensive line as if no one was even there, racking up sacks and tackles for loss.

Good thing, too, because as in the first two games of the season, the Saints’ offense did not get on track until late in the game.

“The defensive line is very supportive of each other. They respect each other. You don’t always see that at this level,” said John Corey, the Saints’ defensive coordinator. “They’ve put themselves up on such a high level. They’re quick to get on the sidelines and rectify (mistakes).”

Mistakes came few and far between for the “D” in the shutout, as only the quickness of Pierce County’s scrambling quarterback Tim Reynolds could even be considered a threat. However, Reynolds still could not be considered much of one as when all was said and done, he had 10 carries for a single yard. For every time he broke loose for a solid gain, he was sacked a mile behind the line of scrimmage.

The teams traded penalties and turnovers early and often but West Sound made good on a 5-play, 71-yard drive with 4:46 left in the first quarter to open the scoring with a 39-yard connection between quarterback Marvin Bronson and a none-too-rusty Jakoba Square.

Square returned to the Saints in their last game, after having suffered a major knee injury three years ago. He was first going to coach, but according to Saints coach Les Archer, eventually said, “’Give me a jersey, I want to play.’”

After a gutsy possession in the red zone to close out the first half, capped by a Malachi Dewalt 4-yard touchdown plunge, Square showed off his speed again, breaking loose to catch a 54-yard bomb from Bronson for a score in the fourth quarter.

The final period belonged to the Saints without question as Dewalt crossed the goal line again a drive later and Bronson ran and threw for two more scores.

“The second half is our half, as long as we’re close at halftime,” Archer said.

Archer said he is “always concerned” about the slow starts but “I’m just happy to be 3-0.”

With a pivotal game against the King County Jaguars up next, “I think we’re primed and ready to go,” he said.

“I’m just waitin’ for the Jags. I stepped up for this game to get ready for them,” said Saints defensive lineman Tyrone Braxton. “This game sets up next week. Everybody wanted to show their best tonight.”

Teammate Eric Nelson said the key to success for the defense has been simple.

“We’ve been working hard at practice,” Nelson said. “Everybody gets together, we work as a team and it shows on the field.”

Gametime at French Field in Kent has been pushed back to 6 p.m. Saturday for the Saints-Jaguars matchup. King County was the only team to beat the Saints last season, winning a regular season game in Purdy and the NWFL title game in Kent.

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