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Orcas mauled in season opener
"It was a first, and that doesn't refer to regular-season losses.Saturday's defeat at the hands of the Puget Sound Jets was the first time the West Sound Orcas, in 10 all-time starts, ever have been blown out.And, as blowouts go, this was a whopper. The Jets - the defending Northwest Football League and National Football Alliance national champions - spanked the Orcas 53-0 at Bremerton Memorial Stadium.They're fortified with talent, said O's head coach Robert Mulligan after his team suffered the worst defeat in its brief history. The first quarter, they didn't take us seriously. But then they got their game faces on, and played like they can.After a pretty evenly played first quarter, it would've been difficult to take the Orcas very seriously. The Jets' speed and execution left West Sound's defense reeling, and the Orca offense committed six turnovers.We were our own worst enemies ... again, said Mulligan, whose team was 0-2 in the preseason leading into Saturday's harpooning.Puget Sound, 16-0 in its 2000 season, used the first quarter of its 2001 debut to shake the rust off. What they did in the middle two quarters left the Orcas severely shaken.Twenty-seven points in the second quarter. Twenty-six in the third. They scored from long range, or they scored point-blank after benefitting from West Sound's turnovers.Quarterback Lance Westendorf threw for 335 yards and five touchdowns against a vaunted Orcas defense. Jakoba Square caught TD passes of 80 and 56 yards, Derrick Pleasant of 77 and Antwain Williams of 14 and 19.The defense, anchored by reigning NWFL Most Valuable Player Aaron Waldrip, more than negated West Sound's team speed, holding the Orcas to 52 rushing yards and forcing them to slam those yards out a couple at a time, all between the tackles.I don't know why we haven't been able to get outside, Mulligan said of an Orcas offense that looked more crisp than it had in the previous weekend's 9-6 nonleague loss to Snohomish County, but repeatedly ran up against a green-and-white force field in Saturday's game.Well, if the Orcas are fast, the Jets are faster. Much faster. The defending champs have speed all over the field to go with their size.They're real athletic, Mulligan said. They can throw the ball, and they're fast. Our guys will measure up, talent-wise, against the other teams in our league. But these guys are stocked.The Orcas' best drive of the game was their first one, sandwiched between two Jets possessions in which they held the ball for seven and a half minutes. It wasn't until later, when the secondary turned porous and the fumbling started, that things got ugly.Stymied in the first quarter, Westendorf got the ball rolling on his team's third possession, escaping the rush of the Orcas' William Waldbaum and finding Square wide open behind the secondary for an 80-yard TD. Westendorf then switched to a shotgun and went 6 for 6 on the Jets' next drive, an 81-yarder that culminated in his 3-yard strike to DeShawn Fontleroy.West Sound's offense remained credible, if fruitless, earning three first downs before Mike Merrill's 52-yard field goal fell short with 1 minute, 46 seconds remaining in the half. Two plays later, Square slanted into the middle, splitting two defenders and running untouched with Westendorf's pass for a 56-yard score.Down 20-0, the Orcas seemed unnerved. Starting quarterback Don Purser threw interceptions on his next three attempts (Matt Gates' only attempt in the game's closing minutes also was picked off), the first setting up Westendorf's 14-yard TD strike to Williams.Purser had fair success with quick passes, particularly slants to Shawn Parker (four catches) and tight end David Hudson (three).But when the O's tried to run wide, Puget was a step - or two - ahead of them. Todd Lewis, still visibly slowed by a foot injury which kept him out of the June 2 loss to Snohomish County, carried five times for a negative 10 yards. The one time he was able to bust loose, on a second-quarter screen pass from Purser for 21 yards, was called back by a holding penalty. "